TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Eyes throughout Tuscaloosa and the entire state of Alabama were glued to the television Thursday night for the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, especially with a good amount of Alabama players projected to be first round picks.
Students and fans were out and about in Tuscaloosa, enjoying food and drinks while watching.
Businesses like R&R Cigar Mansion had drink deals throughout the night. Businesses on the strip were thrilled to see the foot traffic, but it’s safe to say fans were more excited to see some former national championship players go pro.
“It’s a fun time. Especially being an Alabama fan,” said student Brandon Dinsmore.
Dinsmore says Alabama seems to be an NFL-building machine in recent years, especially during the Nick Saban era.
“And I like seeing my Alabama players. I like seeing 3 or 4 going in the first round,” Dinsmore said.
And nothing, not even graduation, was stopping fans like Connor Lee from tuning in.
“I’m excited every year. Just seeing where everyone goes,” Lee said.
Dinsmore says it’s always a great excuse to go out and have fun during the NFL Draft, given the fact football has been over since the Super Bowl.
“Looking forward to something to do with football. We haven’t had football in 3 months, since the Super Bowl. So, you gotta look forward to something,” Dinsmore said.
While there were plenty of cheers Thursday night, fans were debating who out of this class will have the most success.
“You are going to see Najee Harris in the NFL. And Devonta Smith. I hate how everyone thinks Ja’Marr Chase is better than him,” Dinsmore said.
“We have some first rounders. Obviously, Devonta Smith. Mac Jones. It’s huge,” Lee said.
At the end of the day, these fans are excited to see what’s next for these former Crimson Tide players.
“Obviously, you want to see them succeed in the NFL. And it’s pretty cool because you are like ‘yeah, I’m an Alabama fan and look at these guys,'” Dinsmore said.
The draft continues throughout the weekend, where several other Alabama names will most likely be called and have their dreams come true.