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The SEC fan’s guide to the NFL Draft

Why should SEC fans care about the NFL Draft? In the South, we love football. That’s not a secret. Whether it’s the NCAA national championship or a 2A slobberknocker between Randolph and Whitesburg Christian, Southerners are in love with the sport. But that’s usually where it stops. Professional football simply doesn’t get the same affection.

There are fans of NFL teams down here, for sure. Look around in North Alabama and you’ll find followers of the Titans, Saints or Falcons. I’m a 49ers fan because Tecmo Super Bowl was my first video game obsession and San Francisco was my go-to team.

I love my Niners. Would I trade any Alabama title won in the last decade for one San Fran Super Bowl win? Not on your life. Or mine.

Thankfully, the NFL Draft has something for everyone. For Southerners, it means the next step in the careers of those we’ve lived and died with every Saturday on the college gridiron.

This year’s spectacle might not be the sexiest in recent memory (read: no high profile quarterbacks will be picked), but there’s still a lot to look forward to. Here are four storylines that will begin to unfold tomorrow when the NFL Draft kicks off in Las Vegas.

TIDE TIES CANES

After Butch Davis and Larry Coker sold their souls for football fortune, the Miami Hurricanes produced first round picks in 14 consecutive drafts from 1995 until 2009. Alabama can tie this record tomorrow when either offensive tackle Evan Neal or receiver Jameson Williams are taken in the first round. This stat will truly be an achievement next year when Alabama extends the streak to 15 years under a single coach, Nick Saban.

BULLDOG MILLIONAIRE

Georgia will have three defensive lineman taken in the first round Thursday, making instant millionaires out of Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. Linebackers Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean won’t be far behind their teammates, and Kirby Smart will have another tool in his belt for the recruiting trail.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRAFT A QUARTERBACK

The NFL is lousy with perfectly serviceable quarterbacks. The 14th-best signal caller just got paid nearly a quarter billion dollars. Every draft, usually in the first round, a team will pick a quarterback they don’t need instead of choosing the best available player. Sometimes it works out (Patrick Mahomes, 2017), but it usually doesn’t (Mitch Trubisky, 2017). The Saints, Steelers and Lions will likely waste first-round picks on quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis and Sam Howell, respectively.

TIGERS ON THE CLOCK

Unless you count Malik Willis, who began his career on The Plains, Auburn fans will have to wait until day two of the NFL Draft’s to have a player picked. Cornerback Roger McCreary and safety Smoke Monday are late second-round targets, but could fall further. Teams will also look to linebacker Zakoby McClain in the fifth round, but that should be all the names from Auburn called this year.

At the Throw The Flag podcast, we absolutely can predict the future and we’re always right. Even though these predictions are bold, and we stand by them.

What did we get wrong? Tell us on Twitter at @TTFfootball or on Instagram at @throwtheflag.

Get year-round college football commentary from the Throw The Flag podcast. Listen for free on Spotify and most Fridays at 4:30 p.m. on the Bullpen with TonyMac, 730AM or 103.9FM on the UMP.

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