Alabama becoming Hurricanes-like NFL pipeline

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is becoming the kind of NFL draft factory that the Miami Hurricanes were a decade ago.

The national champion Crimson Tide is expected to have five players drafted in the first round Thursday night, which would be only the fifth time that has happened since the common draft began in 1967.

Add in last year’s first-round quartet, and only the Hurricanes of the early 2000s have had more a prolific stretch in the draft.

Tide Tailback Trent Richardson, linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw and defensive backs Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick are all projected as first-rounders.

Only Miami has produced nine first-rounders over a two-year period. The Hurricanes ultimately had 15 top-round picks over three years, ending in 2004.