Marquis Johnson, Brandon Deaderick 7th-round picks
By MICHAEL CASAGRANDE
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
The final numbers are in, and Alabama’s showing in the NFL draft was its best in 23 years.
Seventh-round selections Marquis Johnson and Brandon Deaderick drove the Crimson Tide total to seven — six from the defense — over the three-day event. It didn’t match the eight taken in 1987 when the draft included 12 rounds and the selection of the Alabama grad who recruited many of this year’s selections, Mike Shula.
Johnson went to the St. Louis Rams with the 211th overall selection followed by Deaderick, the 247th of the 255-pick draft.
Several more Alabama products not drafted still have an opportunity to sign free-agent contracts that include less money than deals offered to draft picks.
National championship team members Colin Peek, Lorenzo Washington, Leigh Tiffin and Justin Woodall all attended the NFL scouting combine, but were not picked in the draft.
Peek, a surprising non-draftee considering the 15 tight ends taken, signed a free-agent deal with the Falcons who took offensive lineman Mike Johnson in the third round.
Marquis Johnson, who got 10 starts as a senior nickleback, was the third member of the secondary taken in the draft. He follows first-rounder Kareem Jackson and second-rounder Javier Arenas. Johnson led the team with 17 pass breakups and made 29 tackles.
For Deaderick, the defensive end will be playing for one of Nick Saban’s best friends in New England’s Bill Belichick. A gunshot victim during a failed robbery attempt just days before the 2009 season opener, Deaderick recovered to make 23 tackles in 10 starts as senior.
— Michael Casagrande is an independent correspondent.