Alabama had zero players drafted. None, nadda, zilch. Yes, for the first time since 1970, the NFL did not draft a single Crimson Tide player. Needless to say, there are Alabama players entering the NFL. Justin Britt, Matt Caddell, Wallace Gilberry, and Simeon Castille have all signed free agent contracts, but this message is loud and clear: Alabama does not have the players that the other SEC schools have…. not yet anyways.
We’ve suffered many setbacks over the years, but this one did come somewhat unexpected. While this was set up to be an extremely uneventful draft for Alabama, I and many other Tide fans were expecting 2 or 3 of our guys to be drafted somewhere towards the end. But, it never happened. I suppose the one positive is that this did remind us of one important fact: You must have the horses in order to run with the contenders.
Make no mistake about it, these 3 out of 4 years of mediocrity were not created from thin air. It feels almost like a perfect storm of bad things for Alabama: probation, coaches in strip clubs, poor coaching hires, and a stronger conference overall. While there were plenty of self-inflicted wounds, many Alabama fans were starting to wonder if there was actually going to be any light at the end of this dark tunnel. Now, under the 2nd year of the Saban era of Crimson Tide football, we’re starting to get an actual sense that our program is actually starting to tread on solid ground, but not without some more hardships.
2008 may prove to be another difficult season with a group of tough road opponents, a thin depth chart, and a new offense to learn. But don’t worry, because for once we don’t have to lie to ourselves that things will turn around. Even when Shula had his 10 win season and the fans were talking like everything was ok, there was a sense of uncertainty following that Cotton Bowl against Texas Tech.
Maybe no outsiders can start to see why Alabama fans are excited about Nick Saban. He knows what qualities are needed, and he knows how to attract the stars of the future. Is he able to turn programs around in a blink of an eye? No, even though many Tide fans tried to get ahead of themselves, not even Nick Saban can make magic. Saban’s best quality, aside from recruiting, is his ability to design and construct a program’s infrastructure…. I’ll probably post my thoughts on this in another post for another day.
Right now, there really isn’t much to be gained from gnashing teeth over this issue. While some will probably try to chuckle, this non-drafting day wasn’t anything to derail what is already taking place. Saban is making a BIG impact around the SEC, and he alone is bringing the changes we need. He cleared out the old blood, brought in fresh faces, and has completely redesigned Alabama’s football structure.