If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the first draft entrant to hear his name called tonight by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he will be the second ACC player since 2000 to be named the number one overall draft pick. That would bring an end to the longest stretch among power conferences between top overall draft picks. Winston is widely considered to be the top choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who own the first pick in this evening’s NFL Draft.
Calling it a drought may be a tad harsh, but every power conference has had at least one number one overall pick since the last time the ACC had N.C. State’s Mario Williams be drafted with the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Since then the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and even the MAC have had a top pick. Assuming Winston goes first overall, the new longest stretch between top picks will be handed to the Big Ten. Michigan’s Jake Long was the most recent top pick from the conference in 2008.
No conference has had more top overall draft picks than — surprise, surprise — the SEC. The SEC has had five players drafted with the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft. Last year it was South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.
Whether it is Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the history suggests the odds are good one of the quarterbacks will be the first pick. Since 2000, a quarterback has been the top pick in 10 NFL Drafts. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was the most recent in 2012.
Top Overall NFL Draft Picks Since 2000
2000 – DE Courtney Brown, Penn State (Big Ten)
2001 – QB Michael Vick, Virginia Tech (Big East)
2002 – QB David Carr, Fresno State (WAC)
2003 – QB Carson Palmer, USC (Pac-10)
2004 – QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss (SEC)
2005 – QB Alex Smith, Utah (Mountain West Conference)
2006 – DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State (ACC)
2007 – QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU (SEC)
2008 – OT Jake Long, Michigan (Big Ten)
2009 – QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia (SEC)
2010 – QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (Big 12)
2011 – QB Cam Newton, Auburn (SEC)
2012 – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford (Pac-12)
2013 – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (MAC)
2014 – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (SEC)
2015 – ?