Tide's draft splash smaller than expected

May 7, 2016

While Alabama's seven selections in the 2016 NFL Draft were the third-most of any school in the country, things were decidedly quiet in the green room for three Alabama defenders who were expected to be first-round selections: LB Reggie Ragland, DL Jarran Reed and DL A'Shawn Robinson. The trio was invited to Chicago as presumptive first-round picks, but ended up being chosen in the second round by the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, respectively.


So, what happened?


For Ragland, a medical issue could have contributed. The former Madison Bob Jones star reportedly was found to have an enlarged aorta in his medical examinations by NFL team doctors. Although it isn't expected to affect his football career, it might have caused him to drop down the draft board of some clubs. Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, however, will love Ragland's intense and aggressive style of play at middle linebacker.


As for Reed and Robinson, they simply picked the wrong draft. Talented defensive tackles were everywhere to be found for NFL teams, and the likes of Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche, Vernon Butler of Louisiana Tech and UCLA's Kenny Clark occupied late-first round slots that in most any other draft could have gone to Alabama's duo.


Meanwhile, Ryan Kelly's outstanding performances at the Reese's Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine and Alabama's pro day steadily pushed his draft stock into first-round range. The Indianapolis Colts chose him at No. 18 overall.


Cyrus Jones' selection in the second round by the New England Patriots was something of an early surprise, while Derrick Henry went about where he was expected to land as a second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Finally, RB Kenyan Drake went to the Miami Dolphins in Round 3, where his versatility as a receiver and kick returner will make him a valuable addition as long as he stays healthy.

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