Five surprising stats about the 2020 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is April 23-25 and there are some very surprising draft stats heading into it. Here are a few.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
ALABAMA'S TOTAL DOMINANCE
Everyone knows Alabama puts players in the NFL at a high clip but the Crimson Tide have been incredible especially in recent years and that streak could continue again.
Here are some unreal numbers to consider: Since 2012, Alabama has had at least seven players drafted each year and the Crimson Tide have had at least 10 players in each of the last three years. Last NFL Draft, Alabama also had three first-round selections in DL Quinnen Williams, OL Jonah Williams and RB Josh Jacobs.
Alabama is trying to make it four years in a row of 10 players drafted - and that’s the exact number that were invited to the combine. QB Tua Tagovailoa, WRs Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, OL Jedrick Wills, DL Raekwon Davis, LBs Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis and DBs Shyheim Carter, Trevon Diggs and Xavier McKinney all have a good chance of getting picked.
Can Alabama get 10 players drafted for a fourth-straight year?
Farrell’s take: This may not be categorized as a surprise but it is certainly beyond impressive. Double-digit players drafted for the fourth-straight year would be amazing and it’s likely to happen. In fact, I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen. That speaks once again to Alabama’s ability to recruit great players and also develop them. The last team to impress this much in that category is Miami back in the Hurricanes' dominant days.
BEST DRAFT IN A DECADE FOR LSU?
LSU routinely develops and puts a bunch of players in the NFL. Last draft the Tigers only had three picks but two in the early rounds as LB Devin White went in the first and Greedy Williams in the second, followed by TE Foster Moreau in the fourth.
This draft class could be historic. There were 16 players from LSU invited to the combine and since at least 2010, the most players from that school drafted were nine each in the 2013 and 2014 drafts. With so many players invited to the combine, getting to 10 would not be unlikely at all over the draft weekend and some are surefire early picks.
Will LSU get to 10 or more picks for the first time in at least a decade?
Farrell’s take: Yes, it will. Players like Patrick Queen, Thaddeus Moss, K’Lavon Chaisson, Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit are all sure to be high picks as well. Plus, Jacob Phillips, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and others will also be drafted. LSU has always had talent but now it is developing players like we haven’t seen before. And putting more players in the NFL will only lead to better recruiting.
WHO’S NEXT FOR OHIO STATE?
Since the 2016 draft, Ohio State has had 12 first-round draft picks and that streak should only be bolstered this year with defensive end Chase Young and defensive back Jeffrey Okudah almost guaranteed as top-10 picks. Others should go early as well and could be fringe first-rounders.
Looking forward, there is little doubt that the Buckeyes will continue to pump out elite players desired by NFL teams and probable first-rounders. Who are a few players heading into the 2021 NFL Draft from Ohio State who could be the next crop of top picks for the Buckeyes?
Farrell’s take: It all starts with quarterback Justin Fields who could be a top-two pick in 2021 and continues with OL Wyatt Davis and DB Shaun Wade, who could also be No. 1 picks. Ohio State will continue to churn out first-rounders and it could be even more impressive down the road with the way they are recruiting in 2021 and a great class in 2020.
LOUISVILLE IS BIG SURPRISE
Clemson dominates the ACC. We all know that. But a good trivia question would be which ACC program after the Tigers have had the most first-round draft picks since the 2014 draft? If you answer Florida State, Miami or any team other than Louisville you’d be wrong.
That’s right. Clemson has had nine first-round picks during that stretch and then it’s the Cardinals with seven in CB Jaire Alexander, QB Lamar Jackson, DT Sheldon Rankins, WR DeVante Parker, DB Calvin Pryor, DE Marcus Smith and QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Another one is almost definitely going to be added to the list this draft as Mekhi Becton could be the first offensive lineman taken off the board. Can Louisville emerge as an ACC power or are other programs - even with fewer first-round draft picks - emerging faster?
Farrell’s take: This is one of the reasons why I like Louisville as the biggest threat to Clemson within its own division for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals recruit top talent but develop players even better. North Carolina will eventually be the biggest threat to Clemson if Mack Brown keeps recruiting so well, but watch out for Louisville and the athletes the Cardinals put on the field.
BEST WR CLASS IN HOW LONG?
Depending on which mock draft you follow, there is a good possibility that seven wide receivers will be taken in the first round. That would be the most since 2004, so more than 15 years and that leads to one question:
Is this the best receiver class in a decade-and-a-half?
The rankings definitely back up that argument. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Clemson’s Tee Higgins were five-star prospects. CeeDee Lamb was a high four-star who easily should have been a five. Henry Ruggs was a mid-level four. The three misses would be Denzel Mims (three-star) and then Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk who were two-stars.
There’s no doubt this receiver draft class is loaded. Will seven be picked in the first round and make it the best WR class in a long time?
Farrell’s take: How about in forever? This class is not only talented at the top but so deep that you can easily find a star in the third or even fourth round. There may not be a super freak like Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss at the top of the draft but you can bet there will be a dozen or so guys who become elite NFL talents. I like Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs as first-rounders and then teams should wait to pick guys like Mims, Jefferson, Aiyuk, Higgins and others in the second round. It’s beyond loaded.