On the heels of an unprecedented era of success for one state, and a conference as a whole, this year’s draft class if full of talent from the state of Alabama and the SEC. Some are calling this the most talent-laden group to leave the SEC in history, and I’m certainly not going to argue with them. 1st round draft picks, transfers, players leaving early. You name it, this year’s class has it. And they all seem to be big time talents.
Alabama and Auburn are right up front with 5 projected first
round picks collectively. And in a
sign of the times, all of them are leaving school a year early. Heisman winner Cam Newton, Heisman
winner Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Nick Fairley, and Marcell Dareus are all
project first-rounders by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay.
According to Kiper’s mock draft, the Auburn and Alabama will
produce 2 of the top players drafted, with Auburn DT Nick Fairley going to the
Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick and Alabama DE Marcell Dareus projected as the 3rd
overall pick, landing in chilly Buffalo.
Kiper actually projects the SEC to swipe the first 3 picks,
with LSU’s dynamic cornerback Patrick Patterson going to Denver with the 2nd
pick. Georgia’s A.J. Green is
slated for the 6th pick, owned by the Cleveland Browns. Cam Newton finishes up the top 10 at 10th
to the Redskins.
Julio Jones sits at 14th to the Rams and Mark
Ingram follows right behind him at 15th to the Dolphins.
That’s 5 picks in the top 15 just from Alabama and Auburn,
as project by Mel. Overall the
Kiper gives the SEC 10 first-rounders. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, Florida OL Mike Pouncey, and Georgia DE Justin
Houston finish out the list for the SEC’s stellar 1st round
ESPN, Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay sees things a little
differently…but not too much. McShay has Clemson DE edging out Fairley for the top spot. Fairley drops to 2 and the Broncos. A.J. Green slides up to the Bengals’ pick at 4. Patterson lands at 5 (Cardinals). Dareus moves out west with the 49ers
with the 7th pick. Cam
stays put at 10 to the Redskins. So same players, same number of players, just different spots in the top
Julio is good at 14 to the Rams, while Mike Pouncey replaces
Ingram at the Dolphins’ pick at 15. Ingram slides all the way to the Patriots at pick 28 – there are worse
places to end up Mark. Justin
Houston goes to the Falcons one spot ahead of Ingram at 27 to the Falcons. Mallett drops out of the first round,
but LSU DT Drake Nevis jumps in at 30 to the Bears.
Either way one thing is certain, the SEC is seeing some
serious talent leave for the pastures of the NFL (some debate as to whether or
not those pastures are greener). This is easily the most talented combined class between Auburn and
Alabama, a signifier of the state’s unparalleled success over the last 2
Hopefully the teams can continue their success and keep the
state of football strong in Alabama. Both teams hope their top-ranked recruiting classes can fill in any gaps
and all players can maturate and step-up. While it might be easy to argue Auburn will fill the sting a little bit
more, it is never easy to replace three players like Julio Jones, Mark Ingram,
and Marcell Dareus (see: 2010
Only time will tell. I don’t know about you, but I’m already excited and ready for the 2011 season.