Breaking down NFL draft success league by league
Stop the presses: The SEC has dominated in NFL Draft picks since 2010. Big shocker, huh?
The disparity between the SEC and the other four power conferences might be shocking though since 69 players from the SEC have been first-round selections during that stretch compared with the ACC's 40, the Pac-12 (32), Big Ten (31) and Big 12 (25). A combined group that includes non-Power Five schools and the independents such as Notre Dame have had 27.
Here is a closer look by conference.
SEC - 69 picks
The Alabama Crimson Tide dominate on the field and in NFL Draft selections. Seventeen players have been first-round draft selections since 2010 and many more could be added to that list in this draft since at least a handful of Alabama prospects are expected to be taken in Round 1.
After the Crimson Tide, Florida has had 11 first-round selections followed by Texas A&M with eight and LSU with six. All three of those SEC programs have a chance at getting more first-round picks later this month with the Aggies almost assuredly getting defensive end Myles Garrett taken No. 1 by the Cleveland Browns.
Rounding out the conference, Georgia and Missouri have each had five selections, Auburn and Tennessee have each had four, Ole Miss and South Carolina had three each, Mississippi State had two and Bud Dupree was the lone first-round pick for Kentucky.
Farrell’s Take: No stunner here right? Texas A&M always impresses me and gets overlooked, as does Missouri. Look for LSU to make a jump on this list over the next few years.
ACC - 40 picks
The Seminoles lead the ACC with nine Round 1 selections, followed by Clemson with six and then Louisville with five. North Carolina is next in the conference with four first-round selections, Miami has only had three during that stretch and then Georgia Tech, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Syracuse have had two each.
Farrell’s Take: The ACC closing the gap without the help of Miami is impressive and shows how far Clemson and Louisville have come, and how great Florida State is as a program that continually produces talent. North Carolina is probably the surprise here with more than the ‘Canes, but Miami will start producing more first-rounders if they keep recruiting like this.
PAC-12 - 32 picks
It’s no surprise, then, that the Huskies went to the College Football Playoff this past season, USC won the Rose Bowl and Oregon has been a national title contender in recent years before falling off in 2016.
Farrell’s Take: I’m a little surprised there are more from the Pac-12 than the Big Ten but I guess that speaks as much to Michigan being so down under Brady Hoke and how impressive Washington has been in recent years. Oregon is sliding but the Huskies are rising and USC will always push out first-rounders each year. UCLA is the real under-performer here. The Bruins should have many more than three first-rounders, that’s rough.
BIG TEN - 31 picks
The Big Ten is getting more competitive but Ohio State still dominates with eight NFL Draft picks during this stretch, more than double nearly every other program in the conference.
Only Wisconsin (five) and Iowa (four) have been competitive with the Buckeyes in this regard since 2010 but coach Urban Meyer’s club could keep loading up in this draft since Ohio State keeps pumping out defensive backs left and right.
Might the trend line be going up for the Nittany Lions and Wolverines in the coming years, though, as they emerge as serious conference contenders?
Farrell’s Take: Ohio State is carrying the conference and that won’t stop anytime soon as the numbers will add up with this draft. Michigan, the way Jim Harbaugh is recruiting, will also start to churn them out and Penn State has some great young talent as well. Wisconsin and Iowa get overlooked quite often here and I expect Nebraska to start adding more. The Big Ten will surpass the Pac-12 very soon.
GROUP OF FIVE/INDEPENDENTS - 27 picks
With two draft picks each are Memphis, Connecticut, UCF and Houston. Idaho, Central Michigan, Temple, BYU, USF, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Buffalo, North Dakota State and Northern Illinois all have one selection each.
Farrell’s Take: This is the fun part on draft day, at least for me, seeing the kids we didn’t rank or under-ranked make it big. Some were three-stars such as Paxton Lynch and Blake Bortles while others such as Carson Wentz were never on our radar at all. Boise State never seems to get the respect it deserves.
BIG 12 - 25 picks
If one had to guess which Big 12 team had the most NFL Draft picks since 2010, Oklahoma would be a likely and reasonable answer but it’s not exactly accurate.
Farrell’s Take: Being last out of the Power Five conferences is not a surprise but when you see “other schools” ahead of the Big 12 that’s where you see the struggle the conference has had. Texas has clearly let everyone down in this respect and with Baylor headed south for at least the foreseeable future, I’m not sure how much better this gets. I will say this, the talent on the current Texas roster will provide more than three first-rounders over the next few years.