TUSCALOOSA — Both the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins decided to do a little double-dipping into Alabama’s always-rich talent pool Saturday.
With seven more selections on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft — which set a new program and Southeastern Conference-record with 12 total players drafted this weekend, they weren't the only ones.
In what is the final draft under the direction of outgoing general manager Ozzie Newsome, a collegiate Hall of Fame tight end at Alabama, the Ravens nabbed former Tide cornerback Anthony Averett in the middle of Round 4, and came back to select center Bradley Bozeman four picks from the end of the sixth round.
“It was more about them as players than them being from the University of Alabama, but that don’t hurt that they’re from there,” Newsome said with a chuckle.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden cited the Crimson Tide’s consistency as one of college football’s top defenses with factoring in the Redskins’ drafting four Alabama players over the past two seasons, including first-round pick Da’Ron Payne on Thursday.
“They play at such a high level consistently, their defense good week-in and week-out, the last three years they’ve been to three national championships and won two,” Gruden said. “So that type of consistency against the best competition in college football, their defense stands out. They get the top recruits out of high school, these guys translate to great college players and then, for the most part, they translate to great pro players. And you’re going to see that here.”
Joining Averett and Bozeman as Alabama draftees on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft were defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Round 4, Detroit Lions), punter JK Scott (Round 5, Green Bay Packers), linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Round 6, Washington Redskins), running back Bo Scarbrough (Round 7, Dallas Cowboys) and defensive tackle Josh Frazier (Round 7, Pittsburgh Steelers).
The Tide's 12 selections led all college programs, with the next closest program a three-way tie between N.C. State, Ohio State and LSU with seven picks apiece.
Alabama also reportedly had five former players sign as undrafted free agents Saturday. Cornerback Tony Brown landed with the Los Angeles Chargers, receiver Robert Foster and cornerback Levi Wallace joining the Buffalo Bills, offensive lineman JC Hassenauer with the Atlanta Falcons, and receiver Cam Sims to the Washington Redskins.
Hamilton, who is still recovering a late-season knee injury, is the fourth Crimson Tide defender Washington has taken in the last two draft classes, following Thursday’s pick of Payne and last year’s first- and second-round picks of defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebacker Ryan Anderson, respectively.
“He was a leader at Alabama, one of the smarter players that I heard about on that defense,” Gruden said of Hamilton, “had a couple of injuries I understand, but from our trainers we feel like he’s going to be good to go. So overall I feel good about it.”
In fact, Hamilton’s sixth-round selection assured that all 11 members of the Tide’s starting defense — and four key reserves — in its 2016 season-opener against Southern California were drafted over the last two years.
Hand, a former No. 1 overall recruit who started nine games last season, was the first Alabama player off the board Saturday when the Lions picked him at No. 114 overall. He will be reunited with former Tide defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson and new defensive line coach Bo Davis, who was in the same position at Alabama between 2014-15.
Averett and Bozeman join a Ravens roster that already features former Tide players Marlon Humphrey and linebacker Tim Williams.
“When we took Anthony, he was the highest-rated guy on the board at the time, and every year we go into an NFL season, you don’t have too many corners,” Newsome said Saturday. “Bradley is a guy that is multi-positional, started at guard and then when (former Alabama center) Ryan Kelly left he took over at center (in 2016).”
Scott was the second of three punters to be selected in the fifth round when the Packers nabbed him at No. 172 overall.
Scarbrough, the Tide’s 228-pound tailback, landed with the Dallas Cowboys at pick No. 236 overall in the seventh and final round, a position where he hopes to provide depth behind Zeke Elliot.
“Certainly I think Bo is a big back who can step in and create some depth for us, and when we get into the preseason there, we’re going to get to take a good look at him,” Dallas director of player personnel Stephen Jones said.
Frazier, Alabama’s primary backup at nose guard the past few seasons, will be reunited with former Tide defensive line coach Karl Dunbar after the Steelers tabbed him at No. 246 overall in the seventh.
“Joshua played in a rotation and did a nice job when he played,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “Of course he worked with Coach Dunbar down there, so we have an extra familiarity (with him), but as a defensive lineman he can come in there and compete.”