Yeldon soon follows Tide teammate Collins in round two

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before Shaun Williams, left, announces that the New York Giants selects Alabama defensive back Landon Collins as the 33rd pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Football Draft, Friday, May 1, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Nagging injuries down the stretch last year prevented T.J. Yeldon from becoming the first tailback in Alabama history to assemble three 1,000-yard seasons.

The college productivity of the 6-foot-1, 226-pounder was plenty appealing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the fourth pick of Friday night's second round and the 36th selection overall, the Jaguars tabbed Yeldon as the third tailback in this year's draft behind Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon.

"We had three guys up there who we felt could be good backs for us, and the first two went in the first round," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said in a news conference. "He was the third, and after that, we felt there was a little bit of a drop-off."

photo Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon has been limited in practice because of injury as the Crimson Tide prepares to take on Ohio State in one of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Yeldon was selected three picks after teammate Landon Collins, who was the first pick of the second round. The Tennessee Titans owned the 33rd overall selection but traded it to the New York Giants, who chose the Crimson Tide safety who compiled 103 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions last season.

The 6-foot, 228-pound Collins was in Chicago for Thursday night's opening round but left for his Louisiana home on Friday.

"He's a big, versatile safety who they asked to do a lot at Alabama," Giants GM Jerry Reese said in a news conference. "He's played a very high level of competition and has been very productive for them. We think he can play in the back end, and we think he can play in the box.

"He can be a sub linebacker, and we think he can be an outstanding special-teams player."

Collins became the seventh Alabama defensive back in the past six years to be selected within the first two rounds, while Yeldon became the fourth Crimson Tide tailback in the last five years to turn that trick. Mark Ingram (2011) and Trent Richardson (2012) were first-round picks, with Yeldon joining Eddie Lacy (2013) as second-round selections.

"Yeldon has the size of Eddie Lacy and feet like Ingram," Caldwell said. "He's a good mixture."

Yeldon rushed for 3,322 yards and 37 touchdowns with the Tide, and he ran for 1,108 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry as a freshman for the 2012 national champions. He had 1,235 yards as a sophomore in 2013 and rushed for 979 yards last season.

Caldwell praised the passing-game abilities of Yeldon, who had 46 career receptions for 494 yards and two scores, including a last-minute touchdown in a thrilling 2012 win at LSU.

Yeldon did have fumbling issues at Alabama, but Caldwell said he cleaned some of that up last season and that it's "not a stat that translates from college to the NFL."

There were nine Southeastern Conference players selected in Friday's second round after seven went Thursday. Through two rounds, Alabama's three selections of Yeldon, Collins and first-round receiver Amari Cooper were second in the league to Missouri's quartet of defensive end Shane Ray, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, guard Mitch Morse and defensive end Markus Golden.

In the third round, Georgia receiver Chris Conley went 76th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. Conley had an excellent combine performance in February, running the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds and posting the best vertical jump of all the participants at 45 inches.

"The production wasn't off the charts," ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said of Conley's four seasons in Athens, "but he's a great talent."

At Kansas City, Conley will be reunited with former Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.

No charges against Jones

Domestic violence charges were dropped Friday against Alabama senior cornerback Cyrus Jones, according to the Tuscaloosa Police Department. Jones was arrested early Wednesday morning.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.