The 2020 NFL Draft begins tonight, kicking off a new decade for the league. The defining figure of the last decade of college football, and these drafts, has to be Alabama's Nick Saban.
By 2010, the Crimson Tide machine was already rolling full steam ahead, with Saban at the helm. Alabama was already a longtime college football power. Saban transformed the team into the leading producer of NFL talent, something that begets serious recruiting wins as well.
Since that first draft of the decade, 28 Crimson Tide players have gone in the first round. That is nearly double the second-place team, another impressive producer of NFL talent, Ohio State. In that time, the Tide have had at least two NFL Draft picks all but two times, and have had four first-rounders in a single draft four times.
Only six programs had at least double-digit first round picks during the decade. Matt Brown of The Athletic tabulated the top nine schools, and it really drives home Alabama's domination. From Twitter this morning:
Alabama should jump out to a nice start in the 2020s, with tonight's first round of the NFL Draft. In Mel Kiper Jr.'s final mock draft, released for ESPN+ subscribers this morning, five Tide players go in the first round. That would be a new single-season high for the program. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the draft's most intriguing prospect, and could slip a bit, but most seem to be coming back around on him going in the top five to 10 picks tonight. He is expected to be joined by wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, both potential top 15 picks, offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., another potential top 10 selection, and safety Xavier McKinney. We'll find out for sure, with the 2020 NFL Draft kicking off at 8 p.m. ET. [
Final 2010s first-round pick standings:
Ohio State 15
Notre Dame 9
Texas A&M 9
Alabama had 24 first-round picks in the previous four decades combined
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) April 23, 2020