The 2011 NFL Draft is now over. I didn't get to watch it personally, however, as I was affected by the surge of tornadoes in northern Alabama and the surrounding area, including the Crimson Tide's hometown, Tuscaloosa.
Most have certainly checked out the draft results in the papers already, but for those that haven't, it was a night full of surprises.
First off, of course, is Alabama's lone Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. Many had Ingram slated to be drafted by the Miami Dolphins, who were certainly in need of a good running back.
If the Dolphins didn't work out, it was agreed upon by many that the New England Patriots would pick him up in the second round. He didn't get that far.
In a surprise move the New Orleans Saints, home of vacated-Heisman winner Reggie Bush, selected Ingram at 28th overall.
In another sense, it may not even be a big surprise. Even in the pass-happy Bush should have been able to eclipse the 500-yard mark. Unfortunately, he was only able to achieve this twice, both in his first two years in the NFL. Since then Reggie Bush's productivity has been on a steady decline.
Ingram should be the workhorse that the Saints need, which will allow Drew Brees to shred defenses with a lot of alleviated pressure.
Next there is the Tide's former left tackle, James Carpenter. Many had James has a top-100 talent. The Seattle Seahawks saw differently. He was drafted in the first round, 25th overall, despite being a consensus second- or third- round pick.
Carpenter will most certainly be playing in a guard position at the next level, but with his stellar performance at left tackle two years in a row, anything is possible.
Julio Jones landed about where many expected: in the top 10,sixth overall to the Atlanta Falcons. He joins former Alabama players All-American left guard Mike Johnson, and Greg McElroy's predecessor, backup quarterback John Parker Wilson.
With Julio Jones as one of the Falcons' wideouts, the Atlanta Falcons and their quarterback Matt Ryan, are going to be favorites next season to make it to the Super Bowl.
Even better, Tide fans will get to see Julio play every week.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the night was the drafting of Marcell Dareus. Dareus was believed far and wide to be picked up by the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos are moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense this coming year. This left a lot of questions for their defensive line, as they were in dire need of a solid tackle or end. Dareus could have played both.
Denver, at second overall, selected Texas A&M's Von Miller, who could certainly be great in a jack linebacker setting. He is a ferocious pass rusher, to say the least.
Not only did Denver pass on Marcell Dareus, but also on LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson as well, the consensus top-talent in the draft.
Peterson would have been the future for the Broncos at cornerback, as their current No. 1 is an aging Champ Bailey, who at 32 doesn't have many years left.
Denver may have left many scratching their heads again this year, but the Buffalo Bills (who were probably just as surprised) took advantage of this and jumped for Dareus with the third pick in the draft.
Finally, there is the Alabama quarterback that helped bring a national championship to T-Town for the first time since 1992.
Greg McElroy wasn't expected to be drafted very high, but many had him listed around the No. 10 quarterback in the draft.
Though his draft stock wasn't terribly high, it was a big surprise to see him fall all the way to the seventh round. I expected fifth or sixth for him.
Regardless, McElroy landed on a very good team: the New York Jets. He is one of several quarterbacks on the team, so he will have a tough time working his way into the second-string slot behind former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Either way, the Jets may have gotten the steal of the decade, a-la Tom Brady.
The Tide's H-back Preston Dial was not drafted, despite having been a decent candidate. He will have to wait until the NFL issues are over before he can make a jump at the free agency.
In the end, the Alabama Crimson Tide had a record breaking four players drafted in the first round. Three were expected, but James Carpenter sneaking into the first round sealed the deal.
It's good to see the big leagues appreciating Alabama players, and they are certain to do so for years to come.
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