The University of Alabama had three players selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League Draft on Thursday evening at Radio City Music Hall.
The action got started at No. 9 when the New York Jets selected cornerback Dee Milliner. It did not take long for the next Crimson Tide player to hear his named called as the Tennessee Titans took Chance Warmack with the 10th choice. San Diego followed suit as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the choice of D.J. Fluker at No. 11.
The back-to-back-to-back selections of Milliner, Warmack and Fluker marked the first time in NFL Draft history that has happened in the first round. The only other instance was three Southern California players selected in a row during the seventh round of the 2011 draft.
"I think we are really proud of our players, first of all," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We have had three first-round guys so far, and we have had three or four every year for the last few years. I am really proud of the coaches that helped develop them. It is great to be able to watch our player's dreams come true in the draft."
The three first-round selections gives Alabama 11 first-round picks in the last three drafts. In 2011, Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, James Carpenter and Mark Ingram all went in round one while Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont'a Hightower were taken in 2012. UA has now had 14 first-round picks during head coach Nick Saban's tenure at Alabama.
Milliner, a native of Milbrook, Ala., is the third Tide cornerback drafted in the first round since 2010. The first-team unanimous All-American led the nation with 20 pass breakups in 2012 while recording 54 tackles with two interceptions and four tackles for loss.
"I think it is a great opportunity for Dee," Saban said. "Rex Ryan does a lot of the same stuff that we do in terms of how they play in the secondary and what they do. I think Dee will fit right in, they do a lot of stuff, and he is a smart guy. I think it is a good fit for him."
Warmack, a native of Atlanta, was a unanimous All-American selection and one of the most dominant interior linemen in college football. A three-year starter at left guard, Warmack helped the Tide rush for 227.5 yards a game in 2012 while blocking for 24 100-yard rushing games in his career.
"Chance would have been a good player anywhere," Saban said. "There aren't many guys that are as powerful as he is, and plays with the kind of consistency that he plays with. I kind of knew those two guys were going to be picked right in there, and I was happy it happened that way. It is a great pick for Tennessee."
Fluker, from Foley, Ala., was a three-year starter at right tackle for the Crimson Tide. He helped Alabama win the 2011 and 2012 BCS National Championships. He led the Tide with 35 pancake blocks in 2012.
"The run on tackles early on with three going in the first four picks, really helped D.J.," Saban said. "It is great place for him to have that opportunity. San Diego is a good organization and a great place to live. I think he will do a really good job as well."
The second and third round of the NFL Draft continues on Friday evening from Radio City Music hall in New York City with rounds 4-7 wrapping up the draft on Saturday. Eddie Lacy, Jesse Williams, Barrett Jones and Nico Johnson all hope to hear their named called early on Friday.
(courtesy: Alabama Athletic Communications)
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