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Bryce Young makes Alabama history, first Tide player to go No. 1 overall at ‘modern’ NFL Draft

Alabama players have gone No. 1 before, but not in the modern NFL Draft.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 31: Bryce Young #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after recieving MVP award during of the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at Caesars Superdome on December 31, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Now that the 2021 Heisman Trophy recipient — Bryce Young — has officially been selected first overall at the 2023 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, he also earns another accolade that is considerably surprising. Young is now the first and only Alabama Crimson Tide player to ever go number one overall in the modern NFL Draft.

It’s quite astonishing, considering the Alabama football program is one of the most dominant of all-time. Notably, the Crimson Tide have perpetually produced NFL All-Pros and Hall-of-Famers for years on end, but as of April 27, 2023, Young is the only player of any position from the University of Alabama to be taken first at the current incarnation of the NFL Draft.

Naturally, Young plays quarterback, and we know quarterbacks are regularly selected with the first pick in the draft. Still, Alabama has had plenty of talented signal-callers. Last season, there were three different ones starting throughout the NFL — but neither Jalen Hurts, Mac Jones, nor Tua Tagovailoa were selected No. 1.

Throughout history, there was first Harry Gilmer (HB-QB 1948 first selection), but he predates the modern era. Next came Joe Namath (before starring on Broadway), but he was chosen first overall in the AFL Draft, not the NFL. Ken Stabler (1968 to the Raiders) was another fun quarterback from Alabama, but he was not selected until the second round.

Even aside from quarterback, the University of Alabama has showcased some of the most talented position players, linebackers and linemen. Be that as it may, LB Cornelius Bennett (1987 to the Colts) was selected with the second overall pick, RB Trent Richardson (2012 to the Browns), DT Marcell Dareus (2011 to the Bills) and OT Chris Samuels (2000 to Washington) all went third in their respective years, but no one from ‘Bama had ever gone first ... until just now, that is.

Bryce Young, who grow up in the Rose Bowl’s shadow in Pasadena, is officially the first football player from the Alabama Crimson Tide to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the modern NFL Draft. He joins the new era Carolina Panthers under newly incumbent HC Frank Reich.