Alabama 1st School with 5 Offensive Players Drafted in 1st Round in Modern Era

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) celebrate Smith's touchdown against LSU in the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Coming off a record-setting offensive season and a national championship, Alabama made history in the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday.  

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Crimson Tide are the first school to have five offensive players drafted in the first round of a single draft. 

The players selected were wide receivers Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 to the Miami Dolphins) and DeVonta Smith (No. 10 to the Philadelphia Eagles), quarterback Mac Jones (No. 15 to the New England Patriots), offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood (No. 17 to the Las Vegas Raiders) and running back Najee Harris (No. 24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers). 

Adding in the Denver Broncos' selection of cornerback Patrick Surtain II at No. 9, Alabama had a total of six players selected in the first 32 picks. 

That number ties the all-time draft record set by the University of Miami in 2004. 

The Hurricanes' 2004 class included Sean Taylor, Jonathan Vilma, Kellen Winslow II, D.J. Williams, Vernon Carey and Vince Wilfork. That group combined for 11 Pro Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl titles. 

Alabama was expected to have presence on Day 1 of the draft, but it wasn't without surprises. The Raiders' addition of Leatherwood was a surprise, as most analysts had him as a Day 2 talent.

Head coach Jon Gruden also spent the offseason getting rid of most of Las Vegas' starting offensive line from last season, so it was an area of need for the franchise. 

If NFL teams are going to bet big on one college team's offense to succeed at the next level, Alabama's 2020 group is a good way to win. The Crimson Tide averaged 48.5 points and 541.6 yards per game. Their lowest-scoring game of the season was 31 points against Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff semifinal.