The college most represented in the NFL for the past two years has been Alabama. According to NCAA.com, the Crimson Tide had 56 players on the active 53-man rosters in 2019.
The Miami Dolphins currently have a whopping ZERO players from Alabama on their roster.
Miami’s recent history with Alabama has not been kind. The most recent experience with a Crimson Tide was Kenyan Drake, Miami’s 3rd round pick in 2016. Drake averaged just 29 yards per game with two fumbles in 2019. The Dolphins traded Drake to the Arizona Cardinals midseason.
The former Alabama running back shined in Arizona. In just eight games with the Cardinals, Drake rushed for eight touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. However, he had just nine rushing touchdowns during his entire three and half year career in Miami. Ouch!
Then there was Minkah Fitzpatrick, selected 11th overall in 2018. The Dolphins were applauded for their pick. Fitzpatrick was described as versatile and intelligent during the draft process. In 2018 he started and played well as a rookie.
In 2019 following the season opening 59 to 10 blowout loss to the Ravens, there were rumors that players were seeking trades out of Miami. The reports did not name any players. It didn’t take long to identify one of the culprits. The Dolphins traded Fitzpatrick to the Steelers for a 1st round pick in 2020 after week 2.
Fitzpatrick flourished in Pittsburgh including a two-interception game against the Dolphins. Minkah, “Saban’s Son” Fitzpatrick also made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now we turn from “Saban’s Son” to Nick Saban himself. Nick Saban was the head coach during the Daunte Culpepper over Dre Brees decision. To add insult to injury, Saban quit on the Dolphins. Saban was quoted in December 2006, “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” only to be announced as Alabama’s head coach in January 2007.
The Top Crimson Tide Prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft
Xavier McKinney – Safety
Xavier McKinney is described as versatile defender. Sounds familiar? Miami never wanted to part ways Fitzpatrick. McKinney could instantly fill the role that Flores had envisioned for Fitzpatrick.
Trevon Diggs – Cornerback
Trevon Diggs excelled in press coverage, making him a good fit for Miami’s defensive scheme. The Buffalo Bills made a trade for Trevon Diggs brother, Stefon Diggs, this offseason. This would make for a fascinating divisional matchup twice a year.
Tua Tagovailoa – Quarterback
There is no way to talk about Alabama NFL Draft prospects without mentioning Tua Tagovailoa. Many have Tua as the top quarterback in the draft. Many mock drafts have Tua going to Miami. The biggest question on Tua is his health. Tagovailoa and his team are doing their best to ease those doubts. Mike Garafolo (NFL.com) reported today, (April 2, 2020) that Tua underwent a voluntary medical re-check and the results were “overwhelmingly positive.”
Jedrick Wills – Offensive Tackle
Miami needs upgrades at the left and right tackles. Wills played right tackle for Alabama. The interesting thing is his role was equivalent to a left tackle because he was protecting the blind side of the left-handed Tua Tagovailoa. Could the Dolphins look to pair Tua with Wills in a strategy outlined by Pat Merrick in Left Versus Right?
Jerry Jeudy – Wide Receiver
Anchored by Preston Williams and DeVante Parker, the Dolphins are deep at receiver. With the multitude of high draft picks, Miami should not pass on the best player on the board. Jerry Juedy would be an upgrade to an already strong unit.
Henry Ruggs III, – Wide Receiver
All the same notes on Juedy apply here. NFL General managers emulate successful teams and that’s where Ruggs gets attention. Last season and in the Super Bowl, the world saw the value of having a player like Tyreek Hill on your team. Henry Ruggs III is that type of player! Ruggs III is fast and would be an instant playmaker for Miami.
Alabama to Miami has not always been a match made in heaven, but I am sure Dolphins fans would forgive the past if one of these players helps to lead the team back to the promised land.