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Stone Bridge alum Allen leads Alabama’s big draft class

Jonathan Allen, left, is expected to be selected within the first 10 picks of the 2017 NFL Draft.—Photo Courtesy/University of Alabama athletics
The University of Alabama's defense figures to resume its dominant ways during the National Football League draft.

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, a Stone Bridge High School alum, is almost universally regarded as a top 10 pick and could play inside or on the edge.

Bedeviled by Deshaun Watson and Clemson in the national championship game loss, the Crimson Tide could have three defenders selected in the first round this week in Philadelphia. Five members of the front seven have a shot at being picked in the first three rounds, and the other two remain in college.

And that's just the defense. Overall, it's almost certain to be the deepest draft class of coach Nick Saban's decade-long tenure at Alabama.

"Defensively, I would say that this most likely is going to be his best class," said Phil Savage, a former NFL general manager who now runs the Senior Bowl. "It could be the best in the history of the draft if seven or eight of these guys go in the top two rounds."

Alabama has five players projected as first-round picks in mock drafts and another five who could also be picked in the first three rounds. The group is led by potential top 10 picks defensive lineman Jonathan Allen , tight end O.J. Howard and linebacker Reuben Foster.

Mock drafts also put cornerback Marlon Humphrey and/or offensive tackle Cam Robinson as first-rounders.

Only four Southeastern Conference programs have produced four first-round picks, and two of them were Saban's Alabama teams in 2011 and 2012.

The Tide seem almost certain to top the 2013 high of nine picks during the Saban era.

Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, linebackers Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart and safety Eddie Jackson are all projected as early- to mid-round picks.

Defensively, that would mean seven draft picks from a group that led the nation in scoring and rushing defense.

Stewart, Humphrey and Robinson are underclassmen.

More on Jonathan Allen:

Allen, who won the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski awards as the nation's best defensive player, could go as high as No. 3 to the Chicago Bears.

He's almost universally regarded as a top 10 pick and could play inside or on the edge.

"I've said 100 times he's an A-plus off the field and an A-plus on the field as far as a team knowing exactly what they're going to get," said Savage, who also serves as color analyst for Alabama's radio broadcasts.

"He's probably one of the safer choices in this draft because I think you know exactly what you're going to have as soon as he walks through the door."

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