NFL Draft: Which states produced the most picks?
The NFL Draft is interesting to recruiting fans for any number of reasons. One of those is to see which states – whether through high school or junior college – pump out the most draft picks. Here is a look at the top six, with a tie at No. 4.
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FLORIDA (30 picks)
Overview: The top six players drafted from Florida were all Power Five players, but only Brian Burns from Plantation American Heritage and Jawaan Taylor out of Cocoa played their college ball in the state. Defensive end Nick Bosa (Ohio State), linebacker Devin Bush (Michigan), cornerback DeAndre Baker (Georgia) and cornerback Trayvon Mullen (Clemson) all went elsewhere.
Another interesting fact that is particular to this state is that almost all of the 30 players selected went to Power Five schools. Other than just a handful – including UCF’s Trysten Hill and Toledo’s Diontae Johnson – everybody played at the highest level in college. Former No. 1 overall prospect Byron Cowart was picked in the fifth round, and former five-star tight end Isaac Nauta was a seventh-round selection.
Farrell’s take: While Nauta hails from Georgia, you can argue that he counts toward Florida because he played his senior season at IMG Academy. There is no surprise that the state of Florida produced the most players, but what is surprising is how many of them end up landing out of state. Miami, FSU and Florida need to do a better job of keeping players home.
TEXAS (26 picks)
Overview: Prospects who played high school or junior college ball from the state of Texas were well-represented on draft night, the Texas Longhorns didn’t have an in-state high school player selected until the fifth round, when former Rowlett star Charles Omenihu was selected.
There was a lot of talent from the state, though. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray going first to Arizona, makes it three years in a row that a prospect from the state of Texas went first overall. He follows Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett. Defensive linemen Ed Oliver (Houston) and L.J. Collier were also first-round picks.
Like Florida, Texas saw some significant talent leave the state to play college football, as Murray finished at Oklahoma after transferring from Texas A&M. Greg Little picked Ole Miss over many other programs, and two-star receiver Hakeem Butler was overlooked by a lot of in-state programs - and many others.
Farrell’s take: Texas is one of the big three, so it’s no surprise it represented well, but Oklahoma did a much better job than Texas or Texas A&M when it comes to producing NFL talent. Texas is on the come-up and will do better in future years, and A&M will be fine under Jimbo Fisher as well.
CALIFORNIA (23 picks)
Overview: There were two first-round selections from players who ended up in California, but neither has incredible connections to the state. Alabama’s Jonah Williams played at Folsom, but he’s originally from Atlanta and his parents both went to SEC schools so it was no surprise he ended up back in the Southeast. And Marquise Brown played his junior college ball at Santa Clarita (Calif.) College of the Canyons, but he’s originally from South Florida.
Something else that was distinctive about the California prospects drafted this year is that four of the top eight picks were players who came from non-Power Five schools: San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver, BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki, San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring and Boise State running back Alexander Mattison. The first USC player from California off the board was former five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, but he wasn’t picked until the fourth round.
Farrell’s take: USC had a rough year when it comes to producing NFL Draft picks, and the Trojans lead the way for the state. As with Texas, things need to improve greatly at USC for the state to get back to normal when it comes to producing talent. That seems to be a few years away.
GEORGIA (13 picks)
Overview: Could anyone have possibly predicted that the first player from the state of Georgia to get drafted would be a two-star from Decatur Southwest DeKalb who played at Presbyterian before transferring to Temple? That is the case, though, as Rock Ya-Sin was the third cornerback off the board and a second-round selection.
Mecole Hardman out of Bowman Elbert County led the Georgia contingent, as he was also a second-round selection. Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga was a surprise third-round pick, since he struggled at times during his career at USC, and then former Thomasville Thomas County Central’s Austin Bryant went in the fourth round, the last of Clemson’s starting defensive front four to get picked.
Farrell’s take: This is a low number for Georgia, as it has been on the rise as a state recently, but with Kirby Smart recruiting and developing at a high level things will change. Georgia is the No 4 state overall when it comes to producing college talent, so it’s no surprise it is No 4 here.
MISSISSIPPI (13 picks)
Overview: The state of Mississippi had a nice jump in draft picks this year and the prevalence of junior college players in the state was a big reason why. Macon Noxubee County’s Jeffery Simmons and Columbia East Marion’s Johnathan Abram were the top two first-round selections who played high school ball in the state, and then Wesson Copiah Lincoln C.C. standout Montez Sweat was the first JUCO player selected from the state.
Of the 13 players who were drafted, four were junior college recruits, including Isaiah Buggs, who starred at Alabama, and former Washington State QB Gardner Minshew, who played at Senatobia Northwest Mississippi C.C. before going to East Carolina and then to Pullman.
Farrell’s take: Mississippi is underrated when it comes to producing talent, but the high school and JUCO talent is impressive year in and year out. It’s often an overlooked state when it comes to recruiting and rankings, but it’s clear it shouldn’t be.
Ohio (12 picks)
Overview: The state of Ohio also had a strong showing out of high school prospects throughout the draft weekend, but more than anything the state showed some of its top players end up not at Ohio State but all across the region. That could be because the Buckeyes passed on many of them, but there were also some players who sneaked through the cracks.
Former Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary receiver Parris Campbell was the first player from the state taken in Round 2, and the next receiver drafted was two-star Andy Isabella from Mayfield who played his college ball at UMass. Cleveland St. Ignatius’ Dre’Mont Jones was the only other Ohio State player taken, as many others like David Montgomery (Iowa State) and Benny Snell (Kentucky) played elsewhere.
Farrell’s take: Ohio is usually deep when it comes to talent, so this is no surprise. Ohio State can’t take them all, so you see many players like Montgomery and Snell and MAC players being drafted. Ohio is always loaded.