Kevin Scarbinsky of AL.com recently wrote suggested that an NFL roster comprised exclusively of Alabama and LSU players wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
As he points out, according to a listing on ESPN.com, there are 49 players from LSU in the NFL and 41 players from Alabama.
In reading that piece, I couldn’t help but think back to a conversation I had with former Alabama offensive line coach Joe Pendry just prior to the first Alabama-LSU game in 2011. Pendry retired following the 2010 season and had served as offensive coordinator for both the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans in the NFL before joining Nick Saban at Alabama.
Realizing how much talent would be on the field that night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, especially on defense, I jokingly asked Pendry how anybody would score.
He estimated that somewhere around 18 to 20 of the 22 defensive starters would end up playing in the NFL.
Looking back, he was dead on.
Of the 22 defensive starters that night, 16 were selected in the NFL draft. Six other defensive players who played in the game were also drafted. That’s a total of 22 players. Two other players that went undrafted spent last season on NFL practice squads.
We’re talking high-round draft picks, too. Of the 22 who were drafted, 14 went in the top three rounds.
Moreover, as many as seven other defensive players from that game who are still in school are likely to be drafted in either 2014 or 2015. Among them: Linebackers Adrian Hubbard, C.J. Mosley and Trey DePriest and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama and tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson and safety Craig Loston of LSU.
So, the final tally of defensive players from that game (some played on special teams) who were either drafted or have spent some time on an NFL roster will likely end up being 30-plus.
No wonder those two teams played eight quarters that year, and only one touchdown was scored between them.
Here’s a rundown of the draft picks from that game on defense:
S Mark Barron (1st)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (1st)
LB Dont'a Hightower (1st)
CB Dee Milliner (1st)
LB Courtney Upshaw (2nd)
LB Nico Johnson (4th)
NG Josh Chapman (5th)
DE Quinton Dial (5th)
CB DeQuan Menzie (5th)
NG Jesse Williams (5th)