How Will Recent Alabama Draft Picks Fare?

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By Ashley Thompson

Eight Alabama football players were just drafted by NFL teams with two going in the first round. 

But as we've seen in past years, some athletes who were successful in college don't always end up performing as well in the NFL. 

ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper was very skeptical of Alabama players heading into the draft, saying past draft picks have been disappointing. 

Will this draft class be different?

AJ McCarron wasn't taken until the 5th round, which Alabama head coach Nick Saban was surprising.

"I think that sometimes people don't evaluate things like I would evaluate things," he says. "I think AJ was probably the third or fourth best quarterback in this draft." 

Are Alabama players having to overcome skepticism because of past athletes who didn't live up to the hype?

"There's a lot of Alabama players that have been drafted by the NFL over the last five or six years and obviously some high profile players have not panned out, have not played as well as they did in college," says Sports Analyst John Longshore. 

Rolando McClain, Kareem Jackson, Mark Baron, just a few Alabama players who were great in college and maybe not so great professionally. Why is it that some college stand outs don't become stars in the NFL?

"A lot of times, these guys get drafted, they play in a position that the team already has a star in and it's hard for them to break into that lineup," says Mike Washington.

Washington was an Alabama corner back before spending 11 years in the NFL. He says the pressure is much higher in the pros.

"It's different but football is football," he says. "You're just stepping up to another level."

"Making that step into the NFL, that's a much bigger step than people imagine," says Longshore. "It's not like going from high school to college."

But on the flip side, some athletes end up exceeding expectations.

"I think Eddie Lacy was probably a pretty good example last year when he didn't get drafted in the first round, to be a late second round pick and then make rookie of the year."

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