With six to seven Alabama players projected as first-round NFL Draft picks this week, legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban is on track to pass one of college football’s royalty. Prior to this year’s draft, Saban and the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno are tied for most first-round draft picks by one coach at one school with 33 picks, apiece.

When the first Alabama player hears their name called out Thursday night, Saban will pass Paterno for this category. If six or seven Crimson Tide alumni are selected in the first round, Saban’s number would grow to around 40 total. This number is virtually impossible to catch up to, with no current coaches within 10 picks.

Already, Saban has paved the way for overall first-round picks. During his times at Michigan State, LSU and Alabama, he has produced 38 total first-round picks. Paterno is shortly behind with 33. For reference, Paul “Bear” Bryant only produced 18 first-round picks as a head coach (Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama.)

Throughout all rounds, Alabama under Saban has had 96 total players drafted into the NFL.

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Saban made history in last year’s draft when he became the first coach to produce a first-round pick at every non-specialist position, with the selection of Tua Tagovailoa to the Miami Dolphins.

In addition, Alabama notched another draft record in 2020, when Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy became the first pair of former teammate receivers to be picked in the first 15 picks. With Jaylen Waddle and Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith predicted to go early in the first round, the Crimson Tide could break this record again.

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