If anyone ever doubted that University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban can spot talent, recruit talent, and develop that talent, watch the NFL draft on Thursday night.
Five of his players from last fall might be selected in the first round. That would be one shy of the record held by Miami-Florida in 2004.
The wave of Crimson Tide stars pegged for the first round are:
RB Trent Richardson (Top 5, likely);
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Top 15, likely);
S Mark Barron (Top 15, likely);
LB Dont'a Hightower
LB Courtney Upshaw
That's four defenders from last year's NCAA champion Crimson Tide.
How does Saban do it? Well, we'll just leave the issue of talent procurement for another day. But the man sure can develop those defenders, however he acquires so many good ones.
One thing he does in practice is send in fresh scout-team wideouts after every play.
"We used to get mad at him," Kirkpatrick said in February at the scouting combine. "We'd be out there, kind of tired. So you'd give up one or two (touchdowns), but they were just preparing you for the game."
And the NFL.