5 former Alabama players selected on day 2 of 2023 NFL Draft

(UA Athletics)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Five additional University of Alabama football players were drafted on night two of the 2023 NFL Draft Friday, including one second round pick and four third round selections.

Former Crimson Tide defensive back Brian Branch (No. 45, Detroit Lions) came of the board first as the lone second round selection, while offensive lineman Tyler Steen (No. 65, Philadelphia Eagles), defensive lineman Byron Young (No. 70, Las Vegas Raiders), safety Jordan Battle (No. 95, Cincinnati Bengals) and tight end Cameron Latu (No. 101, San Francisco 49ers) heard their names called in round three.

Branch will join former Crimson Tide running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the Lions organization and are two of eight total picks so far in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Draft Notes­

  • Since 2009, Alabama has produced 120 draft picks, the most by any college football program during that span
  • Since 2010, Alabama has had 62 players taken in the first two rounds, including Branch’s selection Friday, the most by any college football program during that span
  • That number nearly doubles the next closest school Ohio State (35)
  • With Alabama’s eight selections through the first three rounds at the 2023 NFL Draft, the Crimson Tide has had at least six selections in the NFL Draft for four straight years (2020-23) and six years total under Saban
  • With the conclusion of the second round, the Crimson Tide remains the NCAA leader in most first- and second-round picks all-time

The 2023 NFL Draft concludes with rounds four through seven on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. CT. It will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.

Brian Branch, Defensive Back (No. 45 | Detroit Lions)

Branch emerged as one of the top defensive back prospects in the nation after a standout junior season, starting all 13 games for the Tide at the star position. The Fayetteville, Ga., native earned first team All-America honors from CBS Sports and ESPN.com and was named a second team All-American by the Associated Press in 2022. Branch finished second on the Tide defense with 14 tackles for loss (-56 yards), including three sacks (-20 yards), as part of 90 total tackles in his junior campaign. A key contributor in 2021, he totaled 55 stops, including five for loss (-18 yards), and added a team-leading nine pass breakups alongside a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery. As a true freshman in 2020, Branch saw time in 12 games and recorded seven pass breakups, two interceptions and 27 tackles.

Tyler Steen, Offensive Lineman (No. 65 | Philadelphia Eagles)

Steen came to Alabama after four seasons at Vanderbilt. He was immediately inserted into the starting left tackle spot in 2022 and excelled in that role. Steen anchored the left side of the Tide’s offensive line last season, starting all 13 games on the way to second team All-SEC recognition from the league coaches. He totaled 25 knockdown blocks while helping the Tide put together the nation’s No. 4 scoring offense. Steen also helped an offensive front that opened holes for an average of 5.55 yards per carry to help the Tide rank fourth nationally in that category.

Byron Young, Defensive Lineman (No. 70 | Las Vegas Raiders)

A force along the Alabama defensive front, Young contributed in all four of his seasons at the Capstone. He concluded his Crimson Tide career with a standout senior season where he was selected as a second team All-American by the AFCA and earned first team All-SEC accolades from the Associated Press. His 2022 stat line included 48 tackles with 5.5 for loss (-19 yards) and four sacks (-16 yards), to go with six quarterback pressures, two pass breakups and a forced fumble. As a key contributor in 2021, Young recorded 39 tackles, with nine for loss (-27 yards) and two sacks (-11 yards). He earned a role in the defensive rotation in his first two years at UA, registering 23 tackles in the 2019 season and 29 in 2020.

Jordan Battle, Defensive Back (No. 95 | Cincinnati Bengals)

A three-year starter and four-year contributor for the Crimson Tide, Battle finished his senior campaign as a third team All-American by the Associated Press. He was also selected as a permanent team captain and named a first team All-SEC honoree in 2022. His final season saw the Florida native total 71 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. As the Tide’s starting strong safety in 2021, Battle tied for the team lead with three interceptions while ranking fourth on the defense with 86 tackles. He was named a first team All-American by Pro Football Focus and a second-teamer by the AFCA and CBS Sports in that 2021 campaign. Battle totaled 66 tackles, four pass breakups and a pick-six during the 2020 campaign and helped the Tide to a national championship. As a true freshman in 2019, he worked into the rotation at safety and saw time in all 13 games with four starts, contributing 30 tackles, including two for loss (-6 yards).

Cameron Latu, Tight End (No. 101 | San Francisco 49ers)

Converted to tight end after arriving at UA as a defensive end, Latu started 25 games across his final two seasons. He battled through injuries to begin his 2021 campaign and finished with 11 starts overall, recording 30 receptions for 377 yards and four touchdowns. In a standout 2021 effort, he set the Alabama single-season record for touchdown catches by a tight end with eight. Latu concluded the year with 26 total receptions for 410 yards. He began his transition to tight end in 2019, playing in 11 games and expanded his role in 2020, working in 12 contests on the offensive side of the ball. In Latu’s first season at the Capstone in 2018, he saw time in two games and recorded one tackle from the defensive end spot.

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