After the first three rounds of the NFL draft was tucked neatly into bed late last week, the SEC held a narrow lead over the Big Ten and Pac-12 in the number of players selected the first two days.
While one of those conferences hung in there through the last four rounds, it was still the six-time defending national champs standing atop the draft mountaintop at the end of business Saturday.
Of the 253 players selected in the seven-round event, 42 were players from an SEC school. This marks the 13th time in the last 15 seasons — including the last six in a row — that the SEC has led or tied for the most players taken in a single draft.
Nipping on the SEC’s heels, however, was the Big Ten, which saw 41 players from its conference selected. The only other conference with more than 30 players was the ACC (31). The Big Ten and ACC were second and third last April as well.
Since 1990, a total of 862 SEC players have been selected, far outdistancing the Big Ten and its 747 players.
Below is the conference-by-conference breakdown of players taken in the 2010 NFL draft:
SEC — 42
Big Ten — 41
ACC — 31
Pac-12 — 28
Big 12 — 25
Non-FBS — 24
MWC — 12
Big East — 12
WAC — 11
C-USA — 10
MAC — 8
Sun Belt — 6
Ind. — 4
Here are a couple of conference notes from the draft as well:
— The SEC had the most players selected in the first (nine), fourth (10) and fifth rounds (tied with six), while the Big Ten led in the second (seven), fifth (tied with six), sixth (seven) and seventh rounds (nine). The only other conference to “lead” a round was the ACC with six selections in the third round.
— The only players from independent schools to be drafted came from Notre Dame, with four Irish players hearing their names called in the seven rounds of the draft.
— Of the 11 players from the WAC who were taken, six came from schools that are joining the Mountain West in 2012 — Nevada (four), Fresno State (one) and Hawaii (one).
As far as individual schools go, Alabama had four players taken in Thursday’s first round and finished with eight overall, the most for any one team. Another member of the SEC, Georgia, had seven players drafted, as did Oklahoma. Boise State, Cal, Iowa, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State South Carolina and Wisconsin all had six each, while five players each came from Baylor, LSU and North Carolina State.
Arkansas, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida State, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, San Diego State, SMU, Stanford, Texas A&M and Wake Forest all had four players apiece selected.
At least one player from Wisconsin was taken in each of the first six rounds, while just one non-FBS school — Montana, two — had more than one player taken in the draft.
The SEC was the only conference in which each member of its league had at least one player selected, but just barely; Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee had just one player each selected, none before the fourth round. And, for those Vols fans keeping score at home, in-state rival Vanderbilt doubled up UT with two players taken.
On the flip side, a total of 40 FBS schools did not have a single player drafted in any of the seven rounds, including 10 from the “Big Six” conferences.
Two teams each from the ACC (Duke, Maryland), Big East (Pittsburgh, USF), Big Ten (Indiana, Minnesota), Big 12 (Kansas, Texas Tech) and Pac-12 (UCLA, Washington State) were all shutout over the course of the draft. The combined record for those teams in 2011? Two bowl bids and a 37-86 mark, which could very well explain the lack of interest on the part of the NFL.