NFL Draft: Ten programs that produced the most draft picks
There were a lot of teams that boasted good showings from their players during the NFL Draft weekend. Here are 10 that we thought looked best.
1. ALABAMA (10)
Players drafted: DT Quinnen Williams, OT Jonah Williams, RB Josh Jacobs, TE Irv Smith, RB Damien Harris, LB Christian Miller, S Deionte Thompson, OG Ross Pierschbacher, LB Mack Wilson, DE Isaiah Buggs
Overview: Alabama continues to deliver when it comes to developing players for the NFL Draft as the Crimson Tide had three first-round selections in Quinnen Williams, Jonah Williams and Jacobs, who emerged as the top running back in this draft in the last few months. The national powerhouse was the only team with double-digit players drafted and next year could prove very much the same since Nick Saban continues to have things rolling in Tuscaloosa.
Farrell’s take: This is no surprise and just continues to cement the idea that the place to go to be a pro is Alabama. Even with Clemson winning more recent national titles, Alabama is still the place for recruits to go and develop into NFL stars. Quinnen Williams was a four-star, Jonah Williams was a five-star and Jacobs was a three-star, so it doesn’t matter what ranking you have coming out of high school, Alabama will develop them.
2. OHIO STATE (9)
Overview: The Buckeyes had an impressive variety of players drafted and represented well at the top as Bosa was the second overall pick and Haskins slid a little bit but was still a mid-first round selection. Receivers have to take notice to the development at that position in Columbus with Campbell and McLaurin both going in the front half of the draft. The next big step will be for new coach Ryan Day to keep putting top players in the NFL, much like Urban Meyer did during his time at Ohio State.
Farrell’s take: The Buckeyes continue to be the best program in the Big Ten at developing NFL talent as they put two players in the first round and many in the early rounds. The Buckeyes, under Meyer, have consistently produced top NFL talent and I don’t think that changes with Day at the helm. It’s odd to see Ohio State produce only two first-rounders as they’ve done better than that in recent years.
T-3. OKLAHOMA (8)
Overview: Oklahoma made a few statements on draft night that could pay off huge dividends in recruiting: Murray was the second Sooners quarterback in a row to be the No. 1 pick after Baker Mayfield. Undersized, dual-threat QBs have to be intrigued after seeing that. The Sooners also pumped out offensive linemen in this draft, with four of them being picked by the middle of the fourth round. No other team in the Big 12 is recruiting or developing players like Oklahoma has done over the past few years and NFL teams are taking notice.
Farrell’s take: Oklahoma owns the Big 12 when it comes to producing NFL talent and there really isn’t a second place. They have put the last two No. 1 players overall into the draft and with Brown they added the top receiver for 2019. Ford and the rest of the offensive linemen represented well as all the draft eligible lineman were picked. Lincoln Riley has it going and things have only gotten better in talent since Bob Stoops retired.
T-3. WASHINGTON (8)
Overview: Quarterback Jake Browning orchestrated Washington’s offense for four years and threw for more than 10,000 yards and 89 touchdowns in his career but the former four-star was not drafted. However, the Huskies had a really good draft weekend led by McGary, who was a surprise late-first round selection. Murphy was one of the best corners in college football last season and he was the first pick of the second round. Chris Petersen is doing a phenomenal job developing talent in the Pacific Northwest and this draft class is more proof.
Farrell’s take: The Huskies have become the top team in the Pac-12 when it comes to producing NFL talent and that’s saying something with USC in the conference. They are proving to be the place to go if you want to be developed into an NFL player on the West Coast and that will only help in recruiting.
T-5. GEORGIA (7)
Overview: There has been so much discussion about Georgia’s outstanding running attack and rightfully so because it is good. But this draft showed the Bulldogs also have the bona fides in the passing game since former five-stars Hardman, Nauta and Godwin were all drafted along with Ridley, who led the team in receiving this year. Kirby Smart and his staff are doing such a fantastic job recruiting it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bulldogs even higher on this list in the years to come. Quarterback Jake Fromm could be one of the first picks after next season.
Farrell’s take: This is just the start for Georgia as in the next few years the Bulldogs will be up near double-digits each year. Kirby Smart is recruiting at a level higher than Mark Richt and it’s showing on the field. Not only do they produce elite running backs consistently but now they will continue to produce pass-catching threats and a franchise quarterback next year.
T-5. OLE MISS (7)
Overview: There was a tremendous amount of discussion around Ole Miss and its players leading up to the draft, which could help a bunch in recruiting. Photos of Metcalf’s physique went viral, there was a ton of chatter about whether Brown would be a first-round pick after putting up prolific numbers in Oxford, Metcalf was in the first-round talk and on it continued. Even some bad news - that Little would drop when it came to draft day - didn’t exactly pan out since he was an early second-round selection.
Farrell’s take: Look at Ole Miss. That’s the message Matt Luke will be sending after this draft when the Rebels did so well producing NFL players. Four- and five-star players that commit end up being drafted highly and they also produce three-stars. Ole Miss is one of the best programs in the country for producing NFL freaks as evidenced by Metcalf and others.
T-5. TEXAS A&M (7)
Overview: During the pre-draft process there was not a whole lot of discussion about Texas A&M prospects, mainly because there wasn’t a major chance of many of them going in the first round but the Aggies had a solid showing and it should only get better moving forward in Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. Having two defensive linemen drafted by the end of the fifth round could catch the eye of some recruits. Getting higher on this list seems inevitable with Fisher in charge now.
Farrell’s take: Watch out for Texas A&M in the near future as Fisher is taking the Aggies' recruiting to a different level. Even without Fisher, it produced a ton of NFL talent and continues to add offensive linemen to the top of the draft. Look for more skill position players at the top of the draft under Fisher as he’s great at recruiting those positions.
T-8. CLEMSON (6)
Overview: In this draft, Clemson made a huge statement by having all four of its starting defensive linemen drafted by the end of the fourth round, three in the first round. That is an outstanding showing by the Tigers’ defensive linemen and in the years to come the Clemson receivers could make a similar move. Then there will be quarterback Trevor Lawrence in a couple years as he could absolutely be the No. 1 overall pick. Dabo Swinney and his staff are coaching well, recruiting well and developing better than maybe any staff in the country.
Farrell’s take: This is just the start for Clemson. Three first-rounders is awesome and all but they should be in double-digits overall as early as next year or the year after because the roster is so loaded with talent and the recruiting is off the charts. Lawrence will be No. 1 overall when it’s his time to come out and wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs will be drafted high in the next couple of years.
T-8. NOTRE DAME (6)
Overview: There were at least three names from Notre Dame thrown around during the pre-draft process that could have been first-round picks in Tillery, Boykin and Love but none were guarantees so it was important for the Irish when Tillery landed with the Los Angeles Chargers late in the first round. Boykin was a third-round pick and Love went in the fourth and both could be considered steals that late in the draft.
Farrell’s take: With academic restrictions unlike many on this list, Notre Dame continues to churn out NFL prospects year after year. There was a time when there was a lull but those days are over and Brian Kelly is bringing in talent consistently. Tillery landed in the first round and Boykin and Love should have at least been second-rounders. This will continue as Notre Dame recruits the nation as well as anyone.
T-8. PENN STATE (6)
Overview: Sanders patiently waited behind Saquon Barkley in Penn State’s backfield and parlayed one solid season into being picked in the second round. There was some chatter that Oruwariye could have been picked in the early rounds but he fell to the fifth round, which could be considered a steal. Speaking of steals in the draft, McSorley was picked in the middle of the sixth round and he could be utilized in a variety of ways by NFL teams.
Farrell’s take: Penn State had a great draft overall and guys like Sanders and McGovern could be steals. This shows the level of recruiting that James Franklin has reached at Penn State and this number could increase moving forward.