Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 1 NFL Draft pick uncertain, 2 Alabama hopefuls in the running

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and no clear favorite for the No.1 overall pick has been identified, which is odd. Usually the team with the first selection decides whom it will invest millions of dollars in weeks ahead of time and ruins the surprise for fans and analysts. What’s even stranger is a quarterback isn’t in the discussion.

Since 2005, six quarterbacks have been chosen first overall. The Kansas City Chiefs own the No. 1 pick this year but have already agreed on a trade for San Francisco’s Alex Smith, the former No. 1 choice from 2005. This trade opened the window for other, less-glorified positions to have an opportunity to stand in the spotlight.

The Chiefs also locked up their left tackle when they used their franchise tag on four-year pro Branden Albert, eliminating the debatable, second-most important player on a football team from the draft discussion.

According to Scout Inc., Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is the No. 1 prospect in the 2013 class. But Kansas City won’t need his services because of the tagging of Albert.

Because of this, positions like interior offensive linemen, pass rushers and shutdown corners can now emerge to the head of the pack and earn an immense paycheck. The last time any of these positions were chosen was in 2006, when the Houston Texans selected Mario Williams.

The absence of players not playing quarterback, or protecting his blindside, from the limelight is only a seven-year drought. But one institution has experienced a much longer drought from tasting the waters of the coveted No. 1 pick.

The University of Alabama has not had a player chosen as the first pick since 1948. The Washington Redskins selected Harry Gilmer after his collegiate career as a quarterback, halfback and defensive back with the Crimson Tide. He is the only player from the Capstone to be chosen first overall.

However, two Alabama players have risen into the debate of who will be chosen. Could this be the year the Tide break their 64-year dry spell? Claiming a No. 1 draft pick would just be another victory for Nick Saban to sell to recruits.

The first player is cornerback Dee Milliner. Throughout the 2012 season, Milliner was considered the best corner in the nation. He proved that he could shut down a receiver and rack up pass deflections and interceptions as best as any player in the country. He was always considered as the best corner in the draft, but his stock skyrocketed during the combine by running a blazing 4.37 40-yard draft. If he is able to work out and show his full arsenal of weapons at Alabama’s pro day, he could find himself as the first player chosen in the 2013 class.

Guard Chance Warmack is the other player in the discussion. Warmack didn’t wow scouts with his speed or jumping ability at the combine, but that didn’t affect his draft stock at all. Analysts and coaches looked at Warmack’s ability to dominate opponents during a game with his run blocking and ability to pull and create holes for running backs. Many describe him as being “country strong” and a safe choice for any team. He is considered the fifth best prospect in the class.

Saban’s ability to prepare players in a business-like setting makes them extremely desirable by almost every NFL team. It’s only a matter of time before one is chosen No. 1.

The NFL Draft will be Thursday, April 25.

Leading in today’s Crimson White:

Japanese artist brings work to Ferguson

MBA students study business, culture in Turkey

Research scientist to speak on conservation partners

More to Discover