By Brady Henderson
Seahawks guard James Carpenter is one of 14 players to enter the NFL as a first-round pick after playing for coach Nick Saban at Alabama.
Three of those players were selected in last month’s draft. The other 11 combined to miss 41 games during their rookie seasons, an average of nearly 3.75 per player.
Perhaps those injury issues are coincidental, but John Clayton made the connection to Alabama during Monday’s edition of “Cold Hard Facts” when the conversation shifted to Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011 whose first two NFL seasons have been cut short by knee injuries.
“Do you notice that a lot of the guys coming out of ‘Bama are injured or suffering injuries or carryover injuries or (are) all banged up? They go through so much training when they’re there,” Clayton said. “… This is one of the reasons why Alabama is so successful and Nick Saban’s got himself a mini-dynasty going on in college football, is because they work so hard.”
Clayton cited a pair of Alabama players from this year’s draft as further evidence: cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Eddie Lacy. Milliner, selected ninth overall by the Jets, reportedly underwent five surgeries while in college. Lacy has a toe injury that is believed to be part of the reason he fell to the Packers at the bottom of the second round.
“A lot of these guys coming out of ‘Bama, they literally are out there practicing and lifting just about almost every day,” Clayton said, “so you kind of wonder, is that just now what you get when you get an Alabama player – that he’s not injury-prone but there is a little bit more of a chance that he is going to have more injuries than most?”
Which brings us back to Carpenter, who missed a total of 16 games while finishing each of his first two seasons on injured reserve. Carpenter remained in Seattle over the offseason to rehab and prepare for the upcoming season. He’ll be competing with three others – Paul McQuistan, John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy – for one of two starting spots at guard.
Dave Grosby and Danny O’Neil pick up the conversation there, previewing what is one of the Seahawks’ only expected position battles.
You can listen to Wednesday’s show here.