Can you believe, before the Philadelphia Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith in Round 1 and Landon Dickerson in Round 2 of the most recent NFL Draft, that they hadn’t taken a single player from the Alabama Crimson Tide’s football program since 2002? It seems ridiculous when you think about it, but it’s true.
That draft choice was Marvin McNutt just in case some of you were drawing a blank. He was a sixth-round draft choice in 2012 that wound up appearing in four games, and with that, Philly’s decision to ignore one of the NCAA’s elite football programs for the next eight drafts was made.
Long seen as college football’s best conference and its most elite in terms of providing the NFL with all-stars, year after year, some of the best football is played in the SEC. Here’s the kicker. Are you ready? Since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles have drafted ten players from college football’s best conference, and they didn’t even think to take three, including two from Alabama until 2021.
Here’s the list:
Blake Countess (Auburn Tigers), Jalen Mills (LSU Tigers), Alex McCalister (Florida Gators), Derek Barnett (Tennessee Volunteers), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Jack Driscoll (Auburn), Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn), DeVonta Smith (The Tide), Landon Dickerson (also from the Tide), and Jacoby Stevens (LSU.
If you’re wondering why this team has struggled to field elite talent, that may be a reason. They aren’t even fishing in the right areas most of the time. Oh well. There’s no sense in crying over spilled milk, and all anyone can do at this point is move on from here.
One former Bama standout is pumped about playing with another on this Eagles team.
So, here we are. It’s officially the Jalen Hurts era, and the boss, Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, made it clear that he wanted his team to go all out to surround the young signal-caller with talent so that he might be successful.
Philly responded, again, by taking one of the 2021 draft class’s best wide receivers (Smith) and what might be the best interior lineman the draft has to offer if he’s healthy (Landon Dickerson). As many of you know, Smith and Hurts were teammates with the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Dickerson was a teammate of Smith’s during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
It’s going to be quite the reunion, one that Smith sounds pumped about. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark caught up with DeVonta Smith during the latter’s football camp in Alabama. Here’s a quote:
"It’s great to have that connection come back. It just feels like old times, like back in college."
Let’s hope we see a reproduction of what these two were able to accomplish at the collegiate level on the big stage, on football’s most competitive platform. These two have the possibility of playing together for a long time. Philadelphia Eagles fans are excited and hoping for fireworks. Fingers are crossed that they come early and often.