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SEC maintaining NFL draft edge

Trent Richardson AP

UPDATED 4/28/2012 @ 12:17 p.m. ET: With the first two days and three rounds of the 2012 NFL draft in the books, and with rounds 4-7 set for Saturday afternoon and into the evening, the SEC continues to hold an edge over all other conferences in players selected, although the gap has closed considerably since the first round Thursday night.

After watching nine of its players drafted within the first 18 picks opening night, the SEC saw “just” seven more selected in the next 77 picks, leaving the six-time-defending BcS champion conference with 16 players taken during the first three rounds.  Close on the SEC’s heels, however, are the Big Ten and Pac-12 with 14 apiece.  The only other conferences in double digits are the ACC (12) and Big 12 (10).

Below is the conference draft “leaderboard”, with the individual total for rounds 1-3 in parenthesis:

SEC: 16 (nine in 1st, five in 2nd, two in 3rd)
Big Ten: 14 (four, seven, three)
Pac-12: 14 (four, six, four)
ACC: 12 (three, three, six)
Big 12: 10 (five, two, three)
Big East: 7 ( two, three, two)
C-USA: 5 (one, one, three)
Non-FBS: 5
MWC: 4 (two, zero, two)
Sun Belt: 3 (zero, zero, three)
MAC: 2 (zero, zero, two)
Ind.: 2 (two, zero, zero)
WAC: 1 (zero, one, zero)

As far as individual schools go, it’s still defending BcS champion Alabama standing atop the draft with five players selected, four in the first round and one early in the second.  Illinois (Ron Zook, ladies & gentlemen), LSU and Stanford each have four apiece, while Boise State, Cal, Cincinnati, Clemson, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin have seen three players each selected.

The only other schools with more than one player selected are Baylor, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, USC and Virginia Tech.

LSU and Wisconsin are the only schools with at least one player selected in each of the first three rounds.

Perhaps more interesting than the top draft performers are the schools who have yet to hear one of its former player’s name called.  That list includes the likes of Florida, Florida State, Texas, Tennessee, UCLA, Pittsburgh and Washington (why no team has snagged running back Chris Polk is beyond me) among the 67 Div. 1-A (FBS) programs that have been shutout thus far.


Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote the following: “Given the fact that they’re the five-time reigning national champions, it should come as no surprise that the SEC reigned supreme above all other conferences when it came to the number of players selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.”

Exactly 364 days later, and with a sixth straight crystal trophy stuffed firmly into its hip pocket, it’s lather, rinse, repeat.

From Alabama’s Trent Richardson at No. 3 overall to the Cleveland Browns (thank you, thank you, thank you Tom Heckert) to Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower at No. 25 to the New England Patriots, a total of 10 players from the SEC were taken in the first of seven rounds of the annual NFL draft.  Of the first 18 picks on the night, exactly half (nine, for those mathematically challenged) came from SEC schools — and, yes, Texas A&M was included as an SEC school for this exercise.

As was the case in 2011, the Big 12 was next up after the SEC, with five players selected on the draft’s first day.  Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 had four players apiece selected, while the ACC had three.  Appropriately enough, the Mountain West had two players taken, and both came from flagship program (for now) Boise State.

Just as apropos is that the best team in 2011 from the top conference the past six years dominated individual school honors on the night as well.  Heading into the first day of the draft, many mock projections had five players from Alabama being selected.  The Tide fell just short of that mark, however, “settling” for four players — Richardson, safety Mark Barron (No. 7, Jacksonville Jaguars), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 17, Cincinnati Bengals) and Hightower.  Defensive end Courtney Upshaw was the only Tide player projected to go in the first round who didn’t, although he shouldn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called in the second round Friday evening.

Two other SEC schools — LSU and South Carolina — had two players each selected, as did Baylor, Boise State, Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford and USC.  No other school had more than one player taken.

After the jump are some random notes sent out by the various sports information departments across the country regarding players selected in the first round of the NFL draft:

Andrew Luck becomes the fourth Stanford quarterback to be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, following Bobby Garrett (1954; Cleveland), Jim Plunkett (1971; New England) and John Elway (1983; Baltimore).  Stanford is the only school that has produced four quarterbacks who were selected first overall in the NFL Draft.

— Luck and guard David DeCastro (No. 24, Pittsburgh Steelers, absolute steal) gave the Cardinal two first-round selections in the same draft for the first time since 1992.

— With quarterback Robert Griffin III going to the Washington redskins at No. 2 and wide receiver Kendall Wright going to the Tennessee Titans at No. 20, it is the second consecutive year and only the third time in the 77-year history of the draft that Baylor had two players’ names called during the first round.

— The four first-round selections tied Alabama’s school record, equaling the mark of four set just last season when Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, James Carpenter and Mark Ingram all went in round one. UA has now had 11 first-round picks during head coach Nick Saban’s tenure with the Tide and 10 in the past three years.

Dontari Poe is the first-ever defensive lineman for Memphis to be selected in the first round, and is the first defensive player drafted in the first round since defensive back Jerome Woods was selected as the 28th overall pick, also by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1996.

Chandler Jones (No. 21, New England Patriots) is the first Syracuse player to be chosen in the first round since defensive end Dwight Freeney was the 11th overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2002.

Quinton Coples (No. 16, New York Jets) was the 20th first-round pick in North Carolina history, and it’s the second straight year a Tar Heel defensive end (Robert Quinn, No. 14, St. Louis Rams) has gone in the top 20 of the draft.

— With wide receiver Michael Floyd (No. 13, Arizona Cardinals) and safety Harrison Smith (No. 29, Minnesota Vikings) off the board, it marks the first time since 1994 that Notre Dame has seen two players taken in the first round.

— With wide receiver quarterback Ryan Tannehill‘s selection by the Miami Dolphins at No. 8 overall, Texas A&M had players taken in the first round in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the program’s history ( Von Miller, No. 2 overall pick to the Denver Broncos in 2011).  The last time an Aggies QB was selected as high as Tannehill?  1941 with Mario Pugh, which oddly enough was the same sound made by most NFL fans in general and many Dolphins fans specifically upon hearing of the reach selection.

— Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (No. 10, Buffalo Bills) and defensive end Melvin Ingram (No. 18, Sand Diego Chargers) of South Carolina were selected in the opening round, the first time that’s happened for the Gamecocks since 1981.  They join the tandem of running back George Rogers (1st pick overall by the New Orleans Saints) and tight end Willie Scott (14th pick overall by the Kansas City Chiefs) as the only set of Carolina teammates to be selected in the first round of the same draft.

— Two Boise State players (defensive end Shea McClellin, No. 19, Chicago Bears; running back Doug Martin, No. 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were taken in the first round of the 2012 draft; prior to this year, the Broncos had two first-round picks in the program’s history.

— LSU head coach Les Miles, on the Dallas Cowboys trading up to No. 6 for cornerback Morris Claiborne: “I couldn’t be happier for Mo. He’s very deserving of this. He’s a guy that will work long and hard to be the best professional football player that he can be. It also makes me very happy that he went to the Dallas Cowboys. He’s going to look great wearing the star.”

— Saban, who wins the really cool quote of the night: “It is very exciting for these guys. But the first thing I remember is going into these guys’ houses when they were in high school or going to their high school to see them when they were juniors. I’m saying ‘that doesn’t seem like it was that long ago’ but the guy you met then and the man they are now – that is one of the great things about college football. To see these guys develop, grow and mature, personally, academically and athletically really makes you feel proud. And that is one of the things I love about college coaching.”

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25 Responses to “SEC maintaining NFL draft edge”
  1. suprmous says: Apr 27, 2012 3:18 AM

    From the standpoint of amazement I stand shell shocked that Mo Claiborne went to Dallas. Not that it wasn’t “maybe” a good move but that he didn’t go higher. Call me predjustice if you want to but the guy’s more talented than a #6 position, just as RG3 should’ve been the #1 pick. But I understand all too well how the Indy had to replace the Drama Queen Jr. Make no mistake about it Luck’s good but just not as great as RG3. I just hope that Jerry Jones doesn’t screw Mo over like what hes done some before him. Fraid if he does that Jones may find that he’ll be flying back to Arkansas via the Claiborne Express. And if Mo sends him with all that Jerry Jones has done underhandedly thru the years it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I won’t elobrate on my last statement but will let the facts come out and speak for themselves. But just know that when all’s said and done I hope he fries.

  2. slick1ru2 says: Apr 27, 2012 3:55 AM

    Tampa Bay got Mark Barron, not Jax. They traded down when they didn’t get Trent Richardson.

  3. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 27, 2012 5:22 AM

    Many thanks to LSU Sports for this: “NEW YORK — For the first time since the league’s merger, a single school produced the first defensive back picked in consecutive drafts, as LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was selected No. 6 overall by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday evening.

    Claiborne, a Shreveport native, became the 38th player to be drafted and the ninth first-round pick during the Les Miles era (since 2006) at LSU. Both marks lead the Southeastern Conference.

    In 2011, LSU’s Patrick Peterson was the fifth overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, as the defensive back went on to earn All-Pro recognition as a rookie kick returner.

    Tigers in the Draft

    Claiborne was one of three Tigers invited to Radio City Music Hall for this year’s first round. He was joined by draft-eligible sophomore defensive tackle Michael Brockers and junior wide receiver Rueben Randle..”

    Congrats to Mo and all those drafted to the NFL. Coach Miles is definitely an interesting addition to the color coverage of the event, which I would not have watched on NFL channel if he had not been on there.

  4. pdcooper08 says: Apr 27, 2012 5:33 AM

    I’m a Pac-12 fan at heart, but enjoy watching SEC football. My hats off to the SEC tonight for ruling the show. My opinion is they have the best overall talent in the national hands down. I think tonight proves it again.

  5. bradentonbuc says: Apr 27, 2012 8:21 AM

    The SEC having the most first rounders does not surprise me, but Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Arkansas and Miami having none does. Times have changed.

  6. drjem says: Apr 27, 2012 9:00 AM

    TO: bradentonbuc

    Yep, you’re right…..”Times have changed.” I’m a “U” grad & of course a fan, & I have to tell you… cuts deep to see us become “IRRELEVANT.” But, gotta be realistic here & accept it that we aren’t the “U” we used to be. Anyway, congrats to Alabama & the other schools who provided “Stand Out” players for the NFL.

  7. Deb says: Apr 27, 2012 12:13 PM

    @JT …

    Oh the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth when our beautiful Trent when to Cleveland. Knew it was coming, but still hoping they’d screw it up somehow 😉 As if that wasn’t enough, Dre Kirkpatrick to the Bengals. And Mt. Cody’s with the Ravens. Sigh.

    But DeCastro was everything I’ve wanted for the last two years.


  8. John Taylor says: Apr 27, 2012 12:28 PM

    @Deb: I believe Mr. Richardson will fit in just fine in the AFC North. 😉

    Most excited I’ve been over a Browns draft pick since before The Move.

  9. dickroy says: Apr 27, 2012 12:40 PM

    I’m with ya Darling! Just what I wanted too. Love DeCastro. If Pouncy can stay healthy and Gilbert improves our worst unit on the team should finally be better. Wouldn’t mind getting another lineman later on.

    Wish the other AFC north teams would not have thought so highly of you’re Tide .

  10. Deb says: Apr 27, 2012 1:22 PM

    @dickroy …

    Did you see DeCastro at the Combine? He was the prototype they used for measuring all the other players at that position. Sean Kugler must be dancing on air!

    @JT …

    Isn’t that what they said about Hillis? Of course, Trent is a man of different character, but so is Colt and look at how those mean ol’ Browns are treating him! You guys could mess it up yet 😉

  11. dickroy says: Apr 27, 2012 1:34 PM


    No I didn’t see him at combine, but I saw him play a few times. I could not believe he was still there at 24.

    Trent is a great running back. Went to the Browns. Probably already looking forward to becoming a free agent.

    Who would you like in the 2nd?

  12. Deb says: Apr 27, 2012 3:38 PM

    @dickroy …

    DeCastro is exactly the same height and weight as Alan Faneca–and our line hasn’t been the same since we lost the LSU beast. I feel like sending Kevin Colbert a dozen roses.

    Who do I want in the second round? Why Courtney Upshaw, of course! LOL But I don’t really think that’s likely 😉

    I’d like more depth on the o-line. Sure wouldn’t mind getting a good offensive tackle. Think they’re looking for McLendon to step up into Casey’s spot, but they might take a DT if someone ready to play NT in a 3/4 is available. We need a running back, and I’d never say no to a good defensive back–especially someone with speed. Dallas and Tampa got real gems with Claiborne and Barron. Would love to have a strong safety like Barron to step in when Troy retires. Polamalu’s style of play can’t be duplicated, but Barron also plays the whole field.

    We’ll probably pick up a WR in the later rounds. Wallace seems to be riding the delusion that he’s worth more than he is, and I’d rather save the money for Brown next year. So far, we’ve managed really well by making that a revolving-door position.

  13. frug says: Apr 27, 2012 5:45 PM

    For those keeping score, Ron Zook got the same number of players drafted in the first round as LSU, Florida, Miami, FSU, UGA, PSU, tOSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas… COMBINED.

  14. suprmous says: Apr 28, 2012 4:41 AM

    gatorsnapper, had to share this with ya Pal. Have you ever in all the years of followin LSU heard that Ruben Randall has an attitude problem? Word trickled back to me that this was the reason he wasn’t taken in the 1st round and early 2nd. I do believe somebody’s jerkin my chain. But I just had to get another LSU Faithful’s opinion. All in all I thought we did pretty good. Like I said I just hope Mo’s doin the right thing by goin to Dallas. Jerry Jones has never been one of my favorite ppl since he let Tom Landry go like he did. I realize that it’s all watah under the bridge but with this latest fiasco he’s involved in he better hope that the one hes gone after doesn’t catch up with him or there’s liable to be a killin and it won’t be the one Jerry Jones’ goin after.

  15. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 28, 2012 8:20 AM

    suprmous: Ruben is very humble. He made statements about the greatness of Eli Manning and needing to learn so much from so many players, about now he had to really put forth great effort to prove he was worthy to be on the Giants, etc. Ruben has NEVER been hard to work with. However, his stock was lower because LSU suffered under such a dismal QB position the past few years, ranked 120th through most of the season before last before pulling up to 100th (near the extreme bottom). Last year with a undefeated regular season, the offense was ranked in the 6os, primarily due to QB play. When the QBs are not peforming well, the receivers aren’t going to get the ball where they can catch it and that was the case with Ruben. This seaon the receivers are THRILLED with Zach Mettenberger. His passes are on target, with power, but nestle softly into their hands (easy to catch!).

    An update on my previous post: Currently, LSU and Southern Cal are the only two schools to produce at least 40 NFL draft picks dating back to 2006, the year of the first draft under Miles.

  16. Deb says: Apr 28, 2012 2:16 PM

    Yes, congrats to Les for all those draft picks, including the ones dating back to 2006, who were recruited before he was hired :)

    And since we’re making such a point of keeping track: Congratulations to that dirty old devil Nick Saban and Alabama for racking up four first-round picks–the most of any team–two years running. And a special tip o’ the hat to Old Scratch for winning two national championships in three years and only allowing his last opponent one foray across the 50 in four quarters. 😆

    It’s a beautiful day in the CFT neighborhood 😀

  17. Deb says: Apr 28, 2012 7:52 PM

    And congrats to Alabama for having the most players in this year’s draft, along with Oklahoma for running a close second.

  18. huskerzfan says: Apr 29, 2012 10:42 AM

    And the Big 10 finishes with 41 players selected in this years NFL draft; only 1 behind the SEC.

    Pretty solid accomplishment after hearing all the stories about the obvious recruiting disadvantage of schools in the North and that top end ‘elite’ players don’t want to play in the plodding and crappy Big 10 conference.

    Surely we’ll hear some stories about the success the Big 10 had during the NFL draft, right?

  19. Deb says: Apr 29, 2012 2:53 PM

    @huskerzfan …

    After being regaled for the umpteenth time with stories of how Les Miles created the earth in six days … Les, and Les alone, after vanquishing that evil Nick Saban 😈 (because nothing good happened to LSU while Nick was there), I wanted to inject a little reality–as you did. But since I’m not delusional, I’ll happily give props to other teams, coaches, and conferences and treat respectful fans respectfully.

    The Big 10 has always produced monster players. Heck, they pretty much built the pros back in the day. It’s never surprising to see the B1G top the draft board. As a Steelers diehard, I’m positively giddy about our whole draft this year, but getting Mike Adams from Ohio State in the late second round made it Christmas in April!!! And Nebraska placed four players, just one less than LSU. Congrats!!

  20. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 29, 2012 4:54 PM

    Another piece of reality:

    Which college football teams have the most current NFL players now on NFL teams?


    1. Texas – 47
    2. Miami – 45
    3. USC – 42
    4. LSU – 41
    5. Ohio St. – 40
    6. Georgia – 34
    7. Iowa – 33
    7. Florida – 33
    7. Tennessee – 33
    10. California – 32

    Read more:

    CBS Sportsline Alumni Tracker

    Miami – 55
    Georgia – 54
    LSU – 50
    Michigan – 50
    Ohio State – 47
    Florida – 43
    USC – 42
    FSU – 42

    Read more:

    Alabama is not in the top 10, though if they keep up the success they have enjoyed the recent years, they should make it into the top 10 in the next year or so. St. Nick should make it happen!

  21. bamasleeper13 says: Apr 29, 2012 6:22 PM

    Hey John, Mark Barron went to Tampa, not Jacksonville.

  22. Deb says: Apr 29, 2012 7:17 PM

    @alligatorsnapper …

    That doesn’t surprise me. Just a few years ago, ESPN was talking about how Bama players were no longer making an impact on the draft. The program had really taken a nosedive, and it’s nice to see it successful again after so many years. Yes, if Nick continues in the same direction, our players should continue to be successful for the foreseeable future, though nothing can be taken for granted. The pendulum always swings. Both my pro and college teams are enjoying success now. But I’ve been all the way up and all the way down with each of them, so either way, I know this too shall pass.

    My posts have never painted Nick as a saint. Doubt you’d find many saints on the gridiron … as the rational among Penn State’s fans just had to face. Bear certainly wasn’t a saint. But Nick’s also not the satanic force he’s often made out to be. I have no problem with Les. He’s a good coach, and I’ve routinely defended both him and LSU’s players, here and on PFT.

  23. suprmous says: Apr 29, 2012 8:14 PM

    gatorsnapper, I didn’t mean to cause WW?? but just thought I’d share that tidbit with ya since I didn’t know how else to get up with ya. Sorry I caused such a ruckus. Hope to be forgiven and all’s good.

  24. Deb says: Apr 29, 2012 9:04 PM

    suprmous, nothing I posted had anything to do with you … as I’ve been telling you for about six months now. Good grief.

  25. Deb says: Apr 29, 2012 9:43 PM

    suprmous, I just like to give these folks opportunities to exercise their thumbs. And nothing in my comments was warlike. You’re taking it too seriously. It’s all good. 😀

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