SEC, Big Ten dominate in 2020 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is in the books and now it’s time to review all the picks. Today, we start with a look at how each Power Five conference performed with picks through the weekend.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
1. SEC (64 draft picks)
The SEC dominated the draft again and further proved it’s the best football conference in the country. LSU led the way with 14 selections, including five first-rounders and the No. 1 overall pick in QB Joe Burrow.
The domination did not stop there. Alabama reeled off nine picks, including four first-rounders, headlined by QB Tua Tagovailoa, and then five defensive players later in the draft. Florida had seven picks, including CB C.J. Henderson, Georgia also had seven selections with two first-rounders and then Auburn had six picks with two in the first round.
Mississippi State (six), South Carolina (four), Arkansas (two), Kentucky (two), Texas A&M (two), Missouri (two), Tennessee (two) and Vanderbilt (one) were also represented in the SEC. Ole Miss was the only SEC program to not produce a draft pick this year.
Farrell’s take: The SEC dominated at the top of the draft with 25 picks in the first two rounds, up from 22 last year. The conference has finished first 14 straight years. Not only is the recruiting at places like Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Florida off the charts but programs like Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, South Carolina and others are stepping up. And with Tennessee and Ole Miss expected to recruit at a higher level, it will just get stronger.
2. BIG TEN (48)
Ohio State and Michigan each had 10 selections, which is something to celebrate and use in recruiting but there is also another prevalent feeling emerging from both programs: The Buckeyes are maximizing their talent and competing for national titles and the Wolverines are still a few steps away from reaching that level.
Iowa, Minnesota and Penn State all had strong showings with five selections each, Wisconsin had four draft picks followed by Purdue, Maryland, Michigan State and Nebraska with two each. Indiana had one.
Farrell’s take: Ohio State and Michigan dominated as expected, but it was a surprise that the Wolverines had as many draft picks as the Buckeyes. You also have to hand it to Iowa and Minnesota for putting as many players in the draft as Penn State, which speaks to their evaluation abilities. As usual, Wisconsin did well and the Badgers also do a great job of turning athletes like Zach Baun into elite positional players.
3. PAC-12 (31)
Other than the Utes, the picks were scattered across the conference. Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA had three players selected. Arizona State, Stanford, USC and Washington had two each. One player from Washington State was picked.
Farrell’s take: Thank goodness for Utah, huh? The Utes do as good a job at evaluating players as anyone in the country in recruiting and they dominated the draft for the Pac-12. USC with only two is embarrassing and the same can be said for Washington. That’s very unusual for those programs. But for the Pac-12 to outdo the ACC, that’s surprising and rarely happens.
4. ACC (27)
Clemson dominates the ACC in every facet from recruiting to getting to the College Football Playoff and winning titles so it’s no surprise the Tigers lead with NFL Draft picks as well. Clemson produced seven draft picks, led by first-rounders Isaiah Simmons and A.J. Terrell.
After a slow start in the first few rounds, Miami finished strong with five picks, including Shaquille Quarterman. No other program in the conference came close though, as Virginia, Wake Forest, NC State and Syracuse had two each. Florida State, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina and Louisville all had one selection.
Farrell’s take: This is just ugly. Clemson, of course, leads the way and will continue to do so. Miami was solid. Where is everyone else? Florida State with one selection is a joke. That’s just really bad and won’t help recruiting under the new regime.
5. BIG 12 (21)
Farrell’s take: The Big 12 has fewer teams so it always finishes last among the Power Five conferences, but the lack of help from Texas hurts. TCU is the surprise of the draft, and Gary Patterson has some recruiting material moving forward. Oklahoma did very well as usual.
NON-POWER FIVE (58)
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love was the only first-round selection outside of Power Five schools but those programs were well-represented throughout the draft.
Temple had four players drafted. Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis had three each. Appalachian State, Charlotte, Wyoming, FIU, Fresno State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Tulane and Tulsa had two players apiece. Twenty-four other non-Power Five programs each produced one draft pick.
Farrell’s take: The Power Five programs led the way early and often but the smaller programs came on strong. Temple is especially impressive. There will always be recruits that slip through the cracks and programs like Temple, Memphis and Boise State consistently find them and produce quality football players.
NOTRE DAME (6)
Notre Dame had six players drafted, the same number that was taken during the 2019 draft. Leading the way for the Irish were second-rounders TE Cole Kmet and WR Chase Claypool, who could convert to a tight end in the NFL.
Farrell’s take: Notre Dame always does well in the draft. Actually, let me re-phrase that. The Fighting Irish have always done well under Brian Kelly and that has continued. No first-rounders which is unusual, but some solid players here and a number that will only boost recruiting.