Fox Sports attempted to answer one of the most subjective questions in college football: which team is the most talented of all time? After careful consideration, Fox picked the 2017 Alabama Crimson Tide as the most talented college football team in history.
To come to this conclusion, a few guidelines were put in place. Recruiting is an important aspect of a team's talent but more weight was placed on the number of NFL draft picks, where they were selected in the draft and the success they had once they reached the NFL.
Another important guideline to determine the rankings was putting emphasis on not being just a one-year snapshot. College teams are composed of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, and whether they played a crucial role on the team that year or not they were still on the team and weighed the same for the purpose of the rankings.
After establishing these parameters on which to base their rankings, the results came back with the 2017 Crimson Tide team in the number one spot edging out the 1986 Miami Hurricanes and the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs.
Nick Saban took over the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2007 and needed just two years to bring Alabama back to the college football powerhouse that it once was. Saban has consistently put together talented teams year in and year out, but let’s take a look at what made the 2017 Alabama team the most talented of all time.
The 2017 Alabama Crimson Tide roster consisted of 41 total NFL draft picks with 17 of those being first-round selections.
Stepping into the quarterback room we have the starter Jalen Hurts, who has had tremendous success in the NFL coming off an MVP-type season just a year ago. Also in the room were two first-round NFL draft picks, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones. Despite being a backup to Hurts until the second half of the 2017 BCS title game, Tagovailoa had his breakout moment this season leading a comeback to defeat Georgia in overtime.
At running back, Alabama had to replace Derrick Henry in 2017 but did so with one of the deepest running back rooms in college football history. Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, all NFL draft picks, helped to fill the void of Henry.
At wide receiver, there was no drop-off there either. Imagine having to defend a four-receiver set of Henry Ruggs III, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, and DeVonta Smith. All four receivers were drafted in the first round.
If you did have to defend those four receivers all at once, Alabama had two defensive backs on their team that would be the best equipped to do so. All-Americans Minkah Fitzpatrick and Trevon Diggs.
Every college football Saturday you can guarantee that you will hear the line, “This game will be won in the trenches”. Well, Alabama won a lot of games in 2017 and was pretty good in the trenches in 2017 with five first-round picks. Jonah Williams, Jedrick Wills and Alex Leatherwood on the offensive line and Da’Ron Payne and Quinnen Williams on the defensive side of the ball.
Finally, to put a cherry on top as the most talented college football team of all time, even the Crimson Tide’s specialists were amazing. Punter JK Scott and long-snapper Thomas Fletcher were both taken in the NFL Draft.
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