In 12 seasons as head coach for the University of Alabama football program, Nick Saban has done more than win national titles and turn the city of Tuscaloosa into a thriving empire.
He has also helped position 76 student-athletes to be selected in the NFL Draft, while having more guys sign contracts as undrafted free agents. With 17 individuals from this year’s class earning an opportunity on either a 53-man roster or practice, the Crimson Tide led all teams in Division I college football with having the most players on active NFL rosters (44) in week one.
Twenty-nine of 32 teams have at least one Alabama standout, which makes 90.6 percent of the league. As for the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, these are the three franchises lacking a member from Saban’s camp. Despite the excitement of fans for week two of NFL action – starting tonight – matchups from the first week featured multiple Tide stars turning in strong performances. Listed below are statistics from some of the marquee names from the Capstone that shined last week and are preparing to build off success.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Although his efforts came in a 18-12 loss to Philadelphia, Julio Jones brought in 10 passes for 169 receiving yards for the Falcons. He is now in his eighth season, and though he desires to have a sixth 1,000-yard mark to his name, Jones is more focused on winning a Super Bowl.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Miami Dolphins
He was all over the field at Alabama, and now Minkah Fitzpatrick has taken the same range to the Miami Dolphins. His outing was critical in the team’s 27-20 victory over Tennessee, as he totaled six tackles (three solo) and one pass breakup. Fitzpatrick made a huge stop in the red zone on fourth down, keeping the Titans from scoring in the second half.
Head coach Adam Gase and his staff have been very impressed with him.
C.J. Mosley, LB, Baltimore Ravens
C.J. Mosley had Baltimore’s defense looking fearsome against Buffalo.
He shared the team lead in tackles (five) and captained a unit that rendered the Bills under 100 yards in both rushing and receiving in a 47-3 win. Behind the former All-American inside linebacker, the Ravens forced two interceptions and created six sacks – two of which came from another Alabama star in Tim Williams.
Reggie Ragland, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
He probably would have liked to have seen his career take off in Buffalo; nevertheless, Reggie Ragland has to be pleased with his seven total tackles for Kansas City in its 38-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Ragland, an All-American and two-time national champion at Alabama, is an instinctive leader that is growing with the likes of Anthony Hitchens, Dee Ford and Chris Jones. Although injuries hampered early on, it appears that Ragland is ready to be the next force among the professional ranks.