While it’s much too early to tell how the NFL draft will unfold next spring, one thing is for sure — top-ranked Alabama and No. 5 LSU will be well-represented.
Then again, that’s nothing new.
In the years since Alabama’s Nick Saban and LSU’s Les Miles have been at their schools, the Crimson Tide (24) and Tigers (42) have combined for 66 draft picks — with 21 going in the first round and 41 in the first three rounds.
That number will rise in April, with 13 Alabama and LSU players who’ll be on the field Saturday night in Tiger Stadium projected to go between the first and third rounds, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
After having six first-round picks from the BCS National Championship game in January, NFLDraftScout.com currently has seven players and possibly eight going in the first round next spring.
“It’s amazing to see the talent Alabama and LSU have, but also the Southeastern Conference in general — and that entire region,” said Rob Rang, a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.“It’s beyond comparison to the rest of the country.
“Les Miles and Nick Saban have been phenomenal at mining talent. But it’s not a surprise any more … that’s LSU and Alabama.”
This year’s crop is headed by LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo, who projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL, and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. They’re the seventh- and eighth-best players available, respectively, in the updated NFLDraftScout.com rankings released Oct. 26.
Mingo and Milliner, both juniors, are rated as the best prospects at their positions, as are Alabama guard Chance Warmack (12th overall) and LSU free safety Eric Reid (18th).
They are joined by two other likely first-rounders in LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (11th), Alabama outside linebacker C.J. Mosley (16th) and two Crimson Tide players who could make be in the first-round mix — guard Barrett Jones (25th) and defensive tackle Jesse Williams (28th).
Alabama junior running back Eddie Lacy, a former Dutchtown High star, is projected as a second-round pick if he chooses to leave school early.
All told, Rang said two dozen players from Saturday night’s game should be drafted or sign as undrafted free agents.
The best thing, he said, is there’s more to come. Rang said both schools are loaded with prospects for the 2014 and ’15 drafts.
“You can already see the size and the athleticism in the LSU and Alabama players for the next couple of years,” he said. “It’s pretty evident that these two schools aren’t going away any time soon.”