The New England Patriots are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history because they know how to evaluate talent.
This is the same franchise that took a little-known quarterback out of Michigan named Tom Brady and made him a star.
Like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Alabama head coach Nick Saban also knows how to evaluate talent, which explains why he has a top-five recruiting class every year. But the connection between the two has created a pipeline that has been beneficial to both.
The Nick Saban and Bill Belichick relationship
Their relationship continued even after Saban’s first NFL departure to coach in college.
According to Bleacher Report, Saban credited Belichick with teaching him how to run a successful organization. The two still stay in contact, which explains why several Bama players are on the Patriots roster.
If Belichick has a question about a particular player, he has a direct line to Saban. Quarterback Mac Jones was taken by the Pats partially because Saban knew he was a good fit for their pro-style system, which he ran at Bama.
Another player who fit Belichick’s system was defensive tackle Christian Barmore, who was picked in the second round of the 2021 draft.
“Being selected by Bill Belichick and especially having learned from a guy like Coach Saban, it’s a blessing being a part of both of them, playing for both of them,” Barmore said after the draft. “It’s really a dream come true.”
Other teams that have a Bama pipeline
For a while, the Baltimore Ravens were the pipeline to the NFL for former Tide players because of former general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Newsome, who was an All-American tight end at Bama, used his position to bring in several former Tide players like cornerback Marlon Humphrey and linebacker C.J. Mosley, who is now with the New York Jets.
The team with the most Alabama players as of today is the Miami Dolphins, who have six former Crimson Tide players, according to AL.com.
The Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots, and New York Giants all have five players each on their roster.
The New Orleans Saints currently have no Alabama players on their roster. They are the only NFL team that doesn’t have a Crimson Tide player.
Why are Alabama players so popular?
As of now, 82 former Crimson Tide players are on NFL rosters, and 64 of them played in NFL games last season. So, why are Alabama players so popular?
Nick Saban runs his program like an NFL team, which is attractive to many NFL organizations. Alabama and other schools like Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia, just to name a few, have top recruiting classes every year because they recruit NFL-type talent.
NFL teams know what they are getting if they draft a player from Alabama or any of those other aforementioned schools: someone who is well-coached and disciplined. That’s what most NFL teams are seeking, and Alabama provides it.