How Miami football 2004 first-round record tied by Alabama

KNOXVILLE,TN - NOVEMBER 9: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE,TN - NOVEMBER 9: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program set the NFL Draft record with six first-round picks in 2004. Alabama tied the record during the 2021 NFL Draft. Safety Sean Taylor, tight end Kellen Winslow, linebackers Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams, offensive tackle Vernon Carey and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork were drafted in the 2004 first round.

Alabama 2021 NFL Draft first-round draftees were wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, quarterback Mac Jones, OT Alex Leatherwood and running back Najee Harris. Taylor was the highest drafted player from two programs when he was selected by Washington.

Waddle was ironically the highest chosen player from Alabama in 2021 when he was selected by the Dolphins. In 2004, Winslow went taken sixth by Cleveland, Vilma 12th by the New York Jets, Williams 17th to Denver, Carey 19th to Miami and Wilfork 21st to New England. Alabama players were chosen between sixth and 24th.

Waddle was sixth, Surtain II, ninth overall to the Denver Broncos, Smith 10th to the Philadelphia Eagles who moved up after acquiring the 12th overall pick from the Dolphins for the sixth pick and other considerations, Jones 15th to N.E., Leatherwood 17th to the Las Vegas Raiders and Harris 24th to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Leatherwood was a big surprise at 17 after being ranked as the 62nd ranked overall prospect by Mel Kiper Jr. from ESPN. The 2001 Miami football team is regarded as the consensus best in the history of college football. Alabama tying their NFL Draft record is impressive but it took the Crimson Tide three more picks to do so.

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How the Alabama players perform during their NFL careers will also play a role versus the 2001 first-round draftees from the Miami football team. Taylor’s life was tragically cut short when he was murdered during a burglary in 2007. The Miami players, including Taylor, combined for 11 Pro Bowls during their NFL careers.

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Wilfork was named a first-team All-Pro in 2012 and Taylor was posthumously named a second-team All-Pro following the 2007 season. Only Carey and Leatherwood play the same positions and therefore can really be compared in college. Alabama will tie Miami with first-round draft picks in 14 straight years in the 2022 NFL Draft.