wo former Alabama players now have been selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the No. 7 pick to select former Alabama safety Mark Barron.
Earlier, the Cleveland Browns traded up one spot and used the No. 3 pick to select former Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Three more former Crimson Tide stars are expected to be selected later in the first round tonight: linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
Barron was a three-year starter and two-time captain who played key roles as a signal-caller and playmaker on two national championship teams.
As a senior, the Jim Thorpe Award finalist and unanimous All-American led an Alabama defense that finished the season ranked No. 1 in scoring defense (8.2 ppg), total defense (183.6 yards per game), rushing defense (72.2) and passing defense (111.5). It capped the season with a 21-0 victory over top-ranked LSU in the BCS Championship Game, holding the Tigers to 92 total yards and allowing them to cross midfield only once, late in the game.
The run on Alabama players in the 2012 NFL draft has started.
The Cleveland Browns traded up one spot and then used the No. 3 pick in the first round to select former Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Four of his former Crimson Tide teammates are expected to be selected later in the first round tonight: safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw.
The Minnesota Vikings had the No. 3 pick but traded it to the Browns and also acquired picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds, the Nos. 118, 139 and 211 picks.
Richardson was picked after the Indianapolis Colts selected former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins picked former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
It’s the highest a running back has been drafted since 2006, when USC’s Reggie Bush was taken by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 2 pick.
Richardson finished third in the 2011 Heisman Trophy voting, behind Griffin and Luck, then elected to skip his senior season. He goes to a team that ranked 29th in total yards and 30th in scoring last season.