The SEC has been one of the top conferences in producing NFL talent, but now the conference holds a new draft record to back that idea up. Headlined by early selections of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (first overall) and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (fifth overall), the SEC ended the first night of the NFL draft with 15 players drafted, breaking the previous record for most first-round draft picks by three.
The record for most first-round draft picks by a single conference was 12. The ACC set the record with 12 first-round selections in the 2006 NFL Draft. The SEC later tied the record, twice. The SEC matched the record with 12 picks in 2013 and again in 2017. Now, the SEC has the record all to itself.
Reigning national champion LSU led all schools with five players selected in the first round, including the top overall pick. The five players selected is a new school record for the first round by LSU. LSU bookended the night with Burrow going first overall and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire wrapping the night as the 32nd overall pick by the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Alabama couldn’t manage to tie the mark for most first-round draft picks set by Miami in 2004 despite some pre-draft optimism the Tide had a shot to make some history. Alabama ended the opening night with four players selected by NFL franchises.
The pick to set the new record came with the 29th pick of the night when the Tennessee Titans drafted Georgia tackle Isaiah Wilson. Then the SEC saw two more players drafted before things drew to a close for the night.
Here’s the rundown of the new conference record for most draft picks in the first round:
- 1st overall: Joe Burrow, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)
- 4th: Andrew Thomas, Georgia (New York Giants)
- 5th: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (Miami Dolphins)
- 7th: Derrick Brown, Auburn (Carolina Panthers)
- 9th: CJ Henderson, Florida (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- 10th: Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama (Cleveland Browns)
- 12th: Henry Ruggs III, Alabama (Las Vegas Raiders)
- 14th: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina (San Francisco 49ers)
- 15th Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (Denver Broncos)
- 20th: K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- 22nd: Justin Jefferson, LSU (Minnesota Vikings)
- 27th: Patrick Queen, LSU (Baltimore Ravens)
- 29th: Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (Tennessee Titans)
- 30th: Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn (Miami Dolphins)
- 32nd: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (Kansas City Chiefs)
2020 NFL Draft First Round Picks By Conference
- SEC – 15
- Big 12 – 5
- Big Ten – 5
- ACC – 3
- Pac-12 – 3
- Mountain West – 1
Make some room for a new member of a super-elite triple crown club, Cam Newton. Joe Burrow is moving in.
In 2011, Newton became the first player in football history to win a Heisman Trophy, win the national championship, and then immediately go on to be the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL Draft in sequence. The former Auburn quarterback took the Tigers on a magical run to the SEC title and a BCS national championship while taking home Auburn’s third Heisman Trophy in program history. The Carolina Panthers kept the story rolling a few months later by taking Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, making him the franchise quarterback for (nearly) the next decade.
While there have been a couple of Heisman Trophy winners since Newton to be chosen with the top overall pick (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both of Oklahoma), and a few others have obviously been drafted elsewhere, Newton remained in a club all to himself. Until now.
LSU’s Joe Burrow was selected with the top overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night by the Cincinnati Bengals. This is just the latest chapter of Burrow’s remarkable story. Like Newton, Burrow went on a historic run with LSU last season to run away with the 2019 Heisman Trophy en route to an SEC title and, later, a College Football Playoff national championship.
As if the SEC needed anything else to brag about when it comes to the NFL draft. Now the conference has been home to the only two players to pull off this triple crown of football achievement.
NOTE: Florida State fans have been vocal in reminding me about Jameis Winston. Winston did win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship before later going on to be the No. 1 overall pick, but he played one more year of college football before turning pro after winning the Heisman and the national championship. The headline has been adjusted to attempt making this a bit more accurate. Apologies from the writer to Florida State fans. And Winston.
Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has helped to make some NFL draft history. By being named the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, Burrow was the third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner to go No. 1 overall in the following draft. This is the first time in draft and Heisman Trophy history that the No. 1 overall draft pick won the Heisman Trophy the previous season.
Burrow was chosen with the top overall pick one year after 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma was selected with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The previous year, in 2018, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was selected with the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy in 2017.
Burrow is the 23rd Heisman Trophy player to go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. Another LSU icon, Billy Cannon, pulled off the accomplishment in 1960 after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1959. The only other schools to have multiple Heisman Trophy winners that were chosen first overall in the draft are Oklahoma (4), Notre Dame (3), USC (2), and Auburn (2).
Heisman Trophy Winners Drafted No. 1 Overall in NFL Draft
- 1935 – Jay Berwanger – Chicago (Philadelphia Eagles)
- 1940 – Tom Harmon – Michigan (Chicago Bears)
- 1942 – Frank Sinkwich – Georgia (Detroit Lions)
- 1943 – Angelo Bertelli – Notre Dame (Boston Yanks)
- 1949 – Leon Hart – Notre Dame (Detroit Lions)
- 1956 – Paul Hornung – Notre Dame (Green Bay Packers)
- 1959 – Billy Cannon – LSU (Los Angeles Rams)
- 1961 – Ernie Davis – Syracuse (Washington Redskins)
- 1962 – Terry Baker – Oregon State (Los Angeles Rams)
- 1969 – O.J. Simpson – USC (Buffalo Bills)
- 1970 – Jim Plunkett – Stanford (New England Patriots)
- 1977 – Earl Campbell – Texas (Houston Oilers)
- 1978 – Billy Sims – Oklahoma (Detroit Lions)
- 1980 – George Rogers – South Carolina (New Orleans Saints)
- 1985 – Bo Jackson – Auburn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 1986 – Vinnie Testaverde – Miami (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 2002 – Carson Palmer – USC (Cincinnati Bengals)
- 2008 – Sam Bradford – Oklahoma (St. Louis Rams)
- 2010 – Cam Newton – Auburn (Carolina Panthers)
- 2013 – Jameis Winston – Florida State (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- 2017 – Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma (Cleveland Browns)
- 2018 – Kyler Murray — Oklahoma (Arizona Cardinals)
- 2019 – Joe Burrow, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)
Murray and Mayfield completed a pretty rare feat as the top picks of the draft in back-to-back years. The 2018 and 2019 drafts marked the first time the top overall picks in consecutive seasons had come out of the same school since 1968 and 1969. USC’s Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson went No.1 overall in those years, respectively.
So, the pressure is on for whoever ends up winning the 2020 Heisman Trophy. The bar has certainly been raised.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix certainly picked some good company to hang out with during his spring break. Before the world essentially shut down due to COVID-19, Nix was able to board a plane and fly out to the west coast to get in some spring break training sessions with a few guys who know a thing or two about tossing around the pigskin.
Nix spent his spring break working with private quarterback coach Jordan Palmer. Palmer has built a respectable list of clients over the years as a private instructor. Among the coaches who have worked with Palmer include Super Bowl champion and former Texas Tech Red Raider Patrick Mahomes, former Clemson standout Deshaun Watson, and former Cal quarterback Jared Goff. Two other quarterbacks working with Palmer at the time Nix was was with him were former USC quarterback Sam Darnold and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner from LSU, Joe Burrow.
“Just going out there, obviously you can learn so much from them and you can soak up so much knowledge from them and how they play the game and just how to go about playing quarterback on a level like that,” Nix said when speaking with the media during a conference call this week, according to Al.com.
Nix passed for 2,366 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 301 yards and seven touchdowns in his freshman season as Auburn’s starting quarterback from the start. Taking the opportunity to work with a couple of other quarterbacks who have gone on to be high NFL draft picks (Darnold was No. 3 overall in 2018 and Burrow is expected to be a possible No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft) is a terrific learning experience for any quarterback, especially one so fresh into his career.
This likely doesn’t mean Nix is about to be the runaway Heisman Trophy favorite in 2020, but Auburn fans should be looking forward to a good season of growth from their starting quarterback this fall.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will reportedly be passing on the opportunity to play in next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Ben Baby, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals for ESPN, reported the Burrow Senior Bowl news, via Twitter, Saturday morning.
The Senior Bowl is the highest-regarded college football all-star game and is the last major offseason event on the NFL Draft schedule before the annual scouting combine. Many of the nation’s top seniors will arrive in Mobile, Alabama next week to begin a week of workouts instructed by coaches from the NFL. This year’s Senior Bowl teams will be coached by the staffs from the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.
The Bengals own the top draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and they just so happen to be a team many believe might draft Burrow to inject some life into the Bengals offense. The Lions own the No. 3 overall pick. The Senior Bowl is attended by scouts and coaches from around the NFL, and with the top tier of seniors typically at the Senior Bowl, the whole week is a terrific opportunity for seniors to impress their future employers.
Of course, Burrow not playing in the Senior Bowl will be made out by some to be a negative on his draft profile, but that should not be the case. Burrow admitted to playing the national championship game against Clemson with a rib injury. Coming off a historic season that saw Burrow break the NCAA record for most passing touchdowns in a single season (and doing so in the SEC), missing out on the Senior Bowl shouldn’t be a concern. The Heisman Trophy winner has done more than enough to raise his draft stock for 2020 off the wild successes of the 2019 season. Burrow will still get a chance to focus on the scouting combine and decide what’s best for him in Indianapolis.