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Blackledge: SEC players are more NFL ready than others

Jadeveon Clowney

The SEC sent 49 players through the 2014 NFL Draft, more than any other conference. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft and some of the other biggest stories followed during the three-day draft event centered around SEC players. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was the big story of the first round as the Cleveland Browns made a move to draft the former Heisman Trophy winner. Focus shifted to the falling of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, as well as LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Then Missouri’s Michael Sam was the headliner with the St. Louis Rams drafting Sam in a historic moment for the NFL.

Yes, the SEC was everywhere you looked during the most recent NFL Draft. This was nothing new of course. Not that you really need another voice telling you just how good the talent coming out of the SEC is when it comes to the NFL Draft, but ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge reiterated the point recently at a fundraiser at Samford.

“SEC players, for the most part, are more NFL ready than a lot of players coming from other parts of the country,” Blackledge said, according to a report by AL.com.

“The Draft has been the great indicator here the last several years of where the most talent is in college football,” Blackledge said. “That’s why, up until last year when Florida State won, that the SEC has dominated the national championship picture as well.”

Three SEC schools (Alabama, LSU and Georgia) have sent at least 20 players through the NFL Draft over the last four years. Florida has sent 18 players and South Carolina has sent 17 players to the draft. The numbers speak volumes of the ability to recruit and develop talent ready to enter the NFL.

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41 Responses to “Blackledge: SEC players are more NFL ready than others”
  1. lanzurrah says: May 25, 2014 3:22 PM

    Out of the 87 players Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Georgia have sent to the NFL over the past 4 years, you have what….maybe 4 or 5 impact players? I can think of AJ Green, Eric Reid , Michael Brockers, Alshon Jeffrey and Patrick Peterson between the 4 schools….

    The rest are fringe-starters/backups for the most part. The SEC does do a tremendous job getting NFL teams to draft their players, but it usually is accompanied with buyer’s remorse a few years later.

  2. thraiderskin says: May 25, 2014 3:34 PM

    Some pretty massive busts came out of the SEC, at least how the Raiders see it.

  3. takingbovadasmoney says: May 25, 2014 3:38 PM

    Atta boy Todd, keep pushing the SEC network for yourself and your bosses. Maybe true, hardly objective.

  4. gorilladunk says: May 25, 2014 4:30 PM

    They certainly are more ready as it applies to cashing a check and running afoul of the law.

  5. charles130 says: May 25, 2014 4:36 PM

    CFB is really starting to reach a saturation point and risk overexposure.

    That coupled with the SEC lovefest on Espn make me look less forward to college football season every year.

  6. dmvtransplant says: May 25, 2014 6:09 PM

    As one guy put it, I do believe the Raiders would disagree.

  7. huck222 says: May 25, 2014 6:17 PM

    The SEC is average! Over hyped!

  8. mogogo1 says: May 25, 2014 6:35 PM

    They play good football with a lot of good players so they seem readier for the NFL even if that’s not necessarily true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy like how the Pats sign tons of Rutgers players because they’re somehow more coachable or whatever BB’s thinking is.

  9. tigers182 says: May 25, 2014 6:47 PM

    What are the odds the $EC began being overhyped the same time ESPN picked them up?

  10. Straight Cash Homie says: May 25, 2014 6:51 PM

    Don’t blame Jamarcus Russell for being for being drafted first and having all those expectations. I mean really all he did was have a good pro day and beat Brady Quinn in a bowl game. At the time that seemed impressive being everybody thought Quinn was the can’t miss pro. Now 6-7 years later we all know that both were just not that good. Al Davis and his great talent scouts decided to make him the first pick so blame them.

  11. bostonfrogs says: May 25, 2014 7:44 PM

    Hmm…most people might question whether Jamarcus Russell, Tim Tebow, Matt Flynn, Trent Richardson, and Mark Ingram were any more ready than players from other conferences. But then again, Todd Blackledge isn’t “most people”: he’s one of the biggest draft busts of all time. When it comes to “players not being ready to perform at the NFL level”, it’s probably wise to humbly defer to Blackledge’s credentials–his familiarity and personal expertise on the subject are unparalleled in the industry.

  12. peopletrains says: May 25, 2014 8:28 PM

    Coming from a guy who was never NFL-ready.

  13. calibama707 says: May 25, 2014 8:38 PM

    SEC is more ready in the sense of the comp but to wat cost. Long term SEC players are beat up cuz if the beating they take for 3-4yrs more so than most conferences. An Russell was a dumb pick by most ppl. NO ONE saw how bad he was gna be no matter wat they tell you now.

  14. phinfanatic84 says: May 25, 2014 9:36 PM

    Outside of LSU’s defensive players, the other SEC schools produce more marginal NFL players than good NFL players. Take Alabama for example, those guys always peaked while at Alabama and never played up to their college level once they got to the pros. Florida always has top 10 recruiting classes but outside of the Pouncy brothers and Aaron Hernandez how many of their players even make an impact on their NFL teams? Maybe Percy Harvin when/if he’s healthy but that’s about it.

  15. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: May 25, 2014 10:35 PM

    I think there is some truth to this. I mean they already know what is feels like to get paid to play, and they also know all about acting foolish and getting arrested!

  16. drummerhoff says: May 25, 2014 11:03 PM

    …and in other news, dog bites man.

  17. jbq2 says: May 25, 2014 11:20 PM

    Is this really a surprise. It is well known that the SEC pays its players at a number of the schools. Coach Saban has stated that he wants the SEC to be a super conference with “pay for play”.

  18. irishdodger says: May 25, 2014 11:29 PM

    The SEC is the benefactor of the fact that the entire south is the most fertile recruiting ground for college football. Of course, most of these recruits (esp the ones from single parent households) are staying close to home. The SEC is basically Bama and a ton of underachievers. Look at the talent LSU has yet continues to not be able to seal the deal…that’s coaching. Saban & Meyer deserve most of the credit for the SEC dominance. Meyer is gone, so it’s all Saint Nick now. The rest are underachievers who do less w/ more talent than the rest of the nation.

  19. geauxshawx says: May 25, 2014 11:42 PM

    Throwing in the mention of Michael Sam was gratuitous. He doesn’t belong in a piece about NFL Ready.

  20. Straight Cash Homie says: May 25, 2014 11:51 PM

    Since Miles took over in 2005, LSU has registered five top-10 finishes with three coming in the top five, won 10-plus games six times, produced 18 first-team All-Americans and had players win 11 national awards. LSU also leads the SEC with 51 NFL Draft picks during that span, which includes 12 first-round selections. His record is 85-21 at LSU and do you really expect him to go undefeated and win a NC each year?

    So tell me how well is your team doing because they obviously must be doing better than that huh Irish?

  21. dougalmac54 says: May 26, 2014 12:14 AM

    What does the average SEC player say AFTER their NFL career is over?

    “You want fries with that?” That’s because about 30% of SEC players actually graduate with college degrees. I guess Todd forgot the lesson’s JoePa taught him in the “Grand Experiment.” Get your degree, when football ends, you WILL need it.

  22. Straight Cash Homie says: May 26, 2014 1:10 AM

    What does the average SEC player say AFTER their NFL career is over?

    “You want fries with that?” That’s because about 30% of SEC players actually graduate with college degrees. I guess Todd forgot the lesson’s JoePa taught him in the “Grand Experiment.” Get your degree, when football ends, you WILL need it.

    Well if you would do a little research instead of mouthing off like a moron you would learn something. The SEC is actually third is grad rate behind only first place ACC and second place Big10. The grad rate is actually more than double what your vast knowledge of grad rates says it is. The lowest was actually the PAC-12 then Big12.

    Just incase you want to educate yourself before sounding like an idiot again here’s the article http://stanford.scout.com/2/1273612.html unless you’re the one asking “Would you like fries with that?”

  23. dgbk says: May 26, 2014 3:15 AM

    phinfanatic84

    “Florida always has top 10 recruiting classes but outside of the Pouncy brothers and Aaron Hernandez how many of their players even make an impact on their NFL teams? Maybe Percy Harvin when/if he’s healthy but that’s about it.”

    To name a few Joe Haden, Riley cooper, Matt Elam , major wright,, Carlos Dunlap , Brandon spikes and sturgis. Now UF have sent their share of bust but let’s not act like they don’t have quality current nfl starters. There are other names that I left off the list cause it might be questionable as far as them being impact players.

  24. coachbeck says: May 26, 2014 8:33 AM

    total of 25 SEC players were on the pro bowl roster last year

  25. phinfanatic84 says: May 26, 2014 10:37 AM

    Brandon Spikes is garbage. Riley Cooper? He’s a stud.. lol. Matt Elam and Major Wright are impact players? Carlos Dunlop.. let’s see how he does without Michael Johnson playing with him. Sturgis is a starter for my phins but he’s not an impact player. He was given his starting job over Dan Carpenter because they spent a draft pick on him and he’s salary was a fraction of Carpenter’s. Fact remains that UF players don’t become impact players at the NFL level.

  26. imaduffer says: May 26, 2014 10:42 AM

    Now I know why I can find better things to do on Sundays than watch the NFL.

  27. musketmaniac says: May 26, 2014 3:40 PM

    duffer, I figured that out years ago

  28. normtide says: May 26, 2014 7:52 PM

    Irish was spot on with one point. It’s the recruiting footprint. Look at probably the second most successful program in sending players to the league: FSU. They share that footprint with the SEC. That’s why I’ve said the ACC is a sleeping giant. If they ever take a football first mentality, look out.

    Everything else being said is an excuse.

  29. dcroz says: May 26, 2014 8:27 PM

    phinphanatic84:
    Outside of LSU’s defensive players, the other SEC schools produce more marginal NFL players than good NFL players. Take Alabama for example, those guys always peaked while at Alabama and never played up to their college level once they got to the pros. Florida always has top 10 recruiting classes but outside of the Pouncy brothers and Aaron Hernandez how many of their players even make an impact on their NFL teams? Maybe Percy Harvin when/if he’s healthy but that’s about it.
    ================================
    Roman Harper, Julio Jones, and Eddie Lacy, to name three, would disagree.

  30. phinfanatic84 says: May 26, 2014 9:36 PM

    Roman Harper? No.. Julio Jones yes… Eddie Lacey had a good season averaging 4.1 yards per carry but he’s not an impact player yet.

  31. phinfanatic84 says: May 26, 2014 10:13 PM

    For every Julio Jones and AJ Green there’s 4 or 5 Dontario Poe’s, Dee Milner’s, Dre Kirkpatrick’s, Rolando McClain’s, Antonio Johnson’s, Morris Clairborne’s, Dexter McCluster’s, Mark Ingram’s, Tyson Jackson’s, Sean Weatherspoon’s, Kevin Burnett’s and Reggie Nelson’s that never live up to their college hype.

  32. dgbk says: May 26, 2014 10:30 PM

    Smh ….Define an “impact player” such a vague term u use to defend your point. Lacy dominated games at times last yr but is not an impact player. What conference or school is producing all these impact players that your speaking of then. Name a school that produced 10 plus impact players since 2007.

  33. dcroz says: May 27, 2014 7:24 AM

    Everyone seems to forget that of the 250-odd players that get drafted every year (plus the dozens of others that sign free-agent deals) that only half a handful will ever become household names, and many of those for the wrong reasons. The guys in the NFL now are not going to step aside for the current class, so there are not a ton of positions available to start with. That a school even produces one notable NFL player every 5-10 years is remarkable.

  34. Romulus says: May 27, 2014 8:49 AM

    @geaux
    I would say being the sec defensive player the year as nfl ready

  35. normtide says: May 27, 2014 9:15 AM

    So your saying that the SEC is the only league that has sent players to the league who didn’t live up to the hype? That would be a fun list….

  36. chalkruz1989 says: May 27, 2014 11:32 AM

    Of the 62 players that were named to the All Pro list, 15 hail from the SEC. I truly don’t know if that’s a knock or that’s deserving of credit. Different ways to validate that.

  37. zoccer8 says: May 27, 2014 5:56 PM

    SEC has 14 teams and should have proportionally more players drafted than smaller conferences like the Big 12 which has 10 teams. Another example of ESPN promoting their partner.

  38. normtide says: May 27, 2014 6:34 PM

    I’m still waiting to be explained why espn hypes the SEC. Because they have a contract with them? Espn has a contract with every league, even the mac. CBS has the primary contract with the SEC, they get the first pick of games. Espn seems to play more B1G games than any other league.

    It’s it because SEC watch football more loyally than other league’s fans? Do they have more fans?

    Don’t just throw cheap excuses, give me reasons. And don’t say the SEC network because this bias has been claimed for years now.

  39. dhardy8207 says: May 28, 2014 8:57 AM

    For the few that keep throwing out Mark Ingram, Dee Milner, Dre Kilpatrick as bust. These guys are still signed with NFL teams. Ingram’s progression at New Orleans was hampered by a foot injury that side lined him for most of his 2nd season, which caused him to slide in the depth charts. But there are others still thriving from BAMA, Donte’ Hightower (NE) Demeco Ryans (Philly) Marcelle Darius (Bills), Trent Richardson (Colts). I guess some’s definition of “Bust” is they’re all not starters or play on a Super Bowl winning team, but as far as I see it they are all still on a roster making more money than most working class people will ever make. Not bad for a bunch of mediocre players.

  40. gamustangdude says: May 28, 2014 9:14 AM

    See how the SEC gets a bad rap even though this comment was made by someone outside the SEC. An ESPN analysts is about as good as a wet fart.

  41. beanocook says: May 30, 2014 12:05 PM

    Most nfl players are fringe, easily replaceable by rookies and street free agents.

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