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Alabama Crimson Tide: NFL Draft Recap

The lights are off and Radio City Music Hall is empty, but this year’s draft was one of the best and deepest drafts in its history.

Before the draft, Nick Saban and the Tide had 36 players (14 first round picks) in the National Football League. Upon its ending, Alabama’s trend continued as the Tide now has 50 players in the NFL.

Eight Crimson Tide players were drafted and six players signed on to teams as undrafted free agents.

Alabama’s Drafted Players

  • CJ Mosley (LB)
    • Round: First
    • Pick: 17
    • Team: Baltimore Ravens
    • Coach: John Harbaugh

System Fit [A+]: General Manager Ozzie Newsome continues to draft Alabama players to the Baltimore Ravens. Before the draft, Baltimore had Courtney Upshaw and Terrence Cody. With the addition of Mosley, the Ravens have another instinctive player. Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil & Daryl Smith are pass rush specialist, but Mosley brings the coverage aspect to the table. Mosley’s lateral quickness and long arm enable him to defend the passing lanes as well as stuff the run.

  • Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix (S)
    • Round: First
    • Pick: 21
    • Team: Green Bay
    • Coach: Mike McCarthy

System Fit: [B+]: With drafting Clinton-Dix, Green Bay will look to have an effective secondary. The Packers were 24th in the league last season in pass defense (247.3 yards per game). Clinton-Dix provides Green Bay with an instinctive safety that has exceptional ball skills. He can undercut routes and create turnovers as well as deliver crushing hits on receivers and running backs.

  • Cyrus Kouandjio (OT)
    • Round: Second
    • Pick: 44
    • Team: Buffalo Bills
    • Coach: Doug Marrone

System Fit [B]: The first question for Kouandjio is will he be able to deal with the cold climate? Kouandjio is a good run blocker. He locks up well and creates holes for running backs. Kouandjio can get out in space and set the edge for runs down the sideline.  Buffalo averaged 144.2 yards per game rushing (2nd in the NFL) last season. Kouandjio must improve on pass blocking. At times, he’s slow getting off the ball.


  • AJ McCarron (QB)
    • Round: Fifth
    • Pick: 164
    • Team: Cincinnati Bengals
    • Coach: Marvin Lewis

System Fit [A]: Despite dropping to the 5th round, McCarron to Cincinnati is a good fit. Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton is in the final year of his contract.

In 48 games, Dalton is 30-18 with 11,360 passing yards, 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions. Though he’s taken the Bengals to the playoffs in three seasons, Dalton struggled in the postseason. He’s tossed six interceptions and Cincinnati loss all three playoff games. Bringing McCarron in can possibly light a fire under Dalton.

If Cincinnati choses to extend Dalton’s contract; McCarron may end up holding a clipboard for 2-3 years. Offensively, the Bengals are a talented team. Having A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Gresham and Giovani Bernard, will help McCarron develop. McCarron has the accuracy, decision making skills and ball placement to be an effective quarterback. He just needs to put it on the field at the next level.

  • Kevin Norwood (WR)
    • Round: Fourth
    • Pick: 123
    • Team: Seattle Seahawks
    • Coach: Pete Carroll

System Fit [A+]: Owner Paul Allen, general manager John Schneider, head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks know how to find talented players late in the draft. Norwood is a possession receiver who will come in and compete for a spot. Carroll loves players with high energy and a competitive edge to them. Norwood has both along with size, great hands and speed. Norwood provides Russell Wilson another capable target to work with. If Norwood can improve on creating separation and getting yards after catch, he will be the steal of the draft.

  • Vinnie Sunseri (S)
    • Round: Fifth
    • Pick: 167
    • Team: New Orleans Saints
    • Coach: Sean Payton

System Fit [B]: Fully recovered from an ACL and defeating draft projection odds is only half the battle for Sunseri. New Orleans finished 2nd in the league in pass defense (194.1 yards per game) in 2013. Under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Sunseri will be expected to contribute on special teams and in the secondary. He excelled on special teams at Alabama; however, it will be interesting to see if Sunseri is able to keep up with the fast NFC South receivers. Sunseri will be paired with Kenny Viccaro, Stanley Jean-Baptise and Kennan Lewis (4 interceptions in 2013).

  • Ed Stinson (DE)
    • Round: Fifth
    • Pick: 160
    • Team: Arizona Cardinals
    • Coach: Bruce Arians

System Fit [A]: Sometimes, just doing your job well attracts NFL attention. Stinson wasn’t a player that jumped off the page, but he excelled in doing his job. Stinson projects as a five-technique in the NFL. He can play defensive end in a 3-4 or defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. As a senior at Alabama, Stinson recorded 42 tackles. He does a great job of filling up gaps and stopping the run. Arizona finished 2013 with the league’s best rush defense (84.4 yards per game).

  • Jeoffrey Pagan (DE)
    • Round: Sixth
    • Pick: 177
    • Team: Houston Texans
    • Coach: Bill O’Brien

System Fit [A+]: An explosive offense is good, but a dominant team starts on defense. Bill O’Brien excels in developing quarterbacks; however, he is a tough, defensive-minded coach. With J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Louis Nix III and Jeoffrey Pagan, Houston looks to have a nasty defensive line. Pagan finished his junior season with 34 tackles and two sacks. The Texans were 3rd in the league in pass defense (195.2 yards per game), but 23rd in rush defense (1224.4 yards per game) in 2013. Pagan can not only pressure the quarterback, but he also does well in attacking the run.

Alabama’s Free Agent Signings

  • Anthony Steen (OG)
    • Team: Arizona Cardinals
    • Coach: Bruce Arians

System Fit [A]: The Cardinals love to run the ball and parlay it with play action pass. Arizona finished 23rd in the league in rush offense (96.3 yards per game) in 2013. Anthony Steen provided the Cardinals with extra steak upfront to create running lanes. As an offensive guard, Steen can lock up at the point of attack and pull around to throw kick out blocks. He understands protection schemes and knows how to shield defensive lineman away from the quarterback.

  • Cody Mandell (P)
    • Team: Dallas Cowboys
    • Coach: Jason Garrett

System Fit [A]: When you can affect field position, you are going to be asset on someone’s franchise. As a senior, Mandell averaged 47.1 yards per punt. 15 of his 39 punts pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line. He gets great hang time on punts and allows the coverage to cover the kick well. Dallas finished 8-8 in 2013. Some of its losses came from failing to control field position.

  • Tana Patrick (LB)
    • Team: Chicago Bears
    • Coach: Marc Trestman

System Fit [B-]: Chicago didn’t see a lot of film on Patrick, but they saw his potential to be a good linebacker at the next level. Patrick saw little minutes on the field for Alabama, but his highlight of season came against LSU. Patrick stripped the ball from Tigers’ full back J.C. Copeland in the redzone as Copeland was trying to cross. Landon Collins recovered the fumble and prevented LSU from scoring. Patrick recorded 12 tackles as a senior. He isn’t a pass rusher, but he knows how to find the ball.

  • Adrian Hubbard (LB)
    • Team: Green Bay Packers
    • Coach: Mike McCarthy

System Fit [A-]: If Hubbard brings his intensity game every day; Green Bay will be a good fit for him. He ended his career at Alabama with 83 tackles and 10 sacks. Hubbard is a good edge rusher who can also stop the run. With Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk and Nick Perry as leaders, they will teach Hubbard how to be effective in Green Bay.

  • Deion Belue (CB)
    • Team: Miami Dolphins
    • Coach: Joe Phibin

System Fit [C]: Belue is an average cornerback. He has speed and can play the ball well, but he lacks consistency. Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Jordan Kovacs and Reshad Jones will mentor him on how to effective in the system. Belue struggles with defending physical receivers. In the AFC East, he will compete against top talent, including Sammy Watkins. Belue finished 2013 recording 20 tackles and one interception at Alabama.

  • John Fulton (CB)
    • Team: Philadelphia Eagles
    • Coach: Chip Kelly

System Fit [C]: When he’s healthy, Fulton is a gamer. Like Belue, Fulton struggles with consistency. He tends to get burned on deep ball and post routes a lot. Philadelphia finished last in the league in pass defense (289.9 yards allowed). If Fulton wants to gel in Philadelphia and help this secondary improve, he has to learn from Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Boykin.

As for Kenny Bell and Cade Foster, there are no reports as to who they have signed with. Bell is a talented receiver with speed and good hands. Bell is good route runner displays exceptional leaping ability. New Orleans, Arizona, New England, Green Bay and Carolina are possible team Bell could sign with.  Foster is a capable kicker, but struggles with consistency. It’s a possibility that he may get signed; however, it’s unlikely.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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