2024 NFL Draft: Vikings' pick of Alabama K Will Reichard means a Nick Saban-coached Tide player at every position has been drafted

You can now field an entire football team of Alabama players coached by Nick Saban who have been picked in the NFL Draft.

Entering Saturday’s third day of the 2024 NFL Draft, a kicker was the only position from Saban’s tenure that hadn’t seen a player picked by the NFL team. That streak ended in the sixth round, when the Minnesota Vikings took Alabama’s Will Reichard with pick No. 203.

Reichard developed into the best kicker Saban ever had in his time with the Crimson Tide. While you may question the value of a team drafting a kicker, Reichard was extremely reliable and ended his career as the highest-scoring player ever with 547 points.

Reichard set that record because he played five seasons with the Tide because of the extra year of eligibility granted to players via the COVID-19 pandemic. Reichard played in only five games as a freshman due to injury and was the team’s full-time starting kicker for the past two seasons. Over his last two years at Alabama, he was 119 of 119 on extra points and was 44 of 51 on field goals.

If you’re a college football die-hard, you’ll understand why an Alabama kicker hadn’t been drafted until Saturday. The kicking game had always been an Achilles heel of sorts for the Tide and a missed kick in a big game wasn’t a surprise.

Reichard wasn’t the last Alabama player drafted on Saturday, however. That honor went to defensive back Jaylen Key. He was the 257th and final pick in the draft and was this year’s Mr. Irrelevant.

Overall, Alabama had 10 players drafted after Saban’s final season with the Crimson Tide. Offensive tackle JC Latham was the first Crimson Tide player off the board at No. 7 to the Tennessee Titans and the Tide had three first-round picks as edge rusher Dallas Turner and defensive back Terrion Arnold were also selected on Thursday.

Arnold became the 47th and final first-round pick of the Saban era at Alabama. The first was offensive tackle Andre Smith in 2009 before Alabama produced 10 first-round picks over the next three drafts. In total, 133 Alabama players coached by Saban have been drafted since 2009, and that total will grow over the next few drafts.

With Reichard officially off the board, here’s a list of the first Saban-era Alabama players drafted at each position from 2009 to 2024. It includes punter JK Scott and long snapper Thomas Fletcher.

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