So which SEC schools crank out the most NFL draft picks? How have those numbers changed over the last 20 years? Who’s on a talent upswing? Who’s not?
Below we’ve gone back over the past 20 years worth of NFL drafts. We’ve tallied up the number of selections for each SEC school — including newbies Missouri and Texas A&M — and listed them for you in five-year intervals. In the far right column, you’ll also see the number of total players selected from 1992 through 2011 (as well as the average number of players picked from each school each year).
When looking at the numbers, keep in mind that the NFL had 12 rounds of picks in 1992 and eight in 1993. Since 1994, the draft has lasted but seven rounds. In other words, the numbers from the first five-year period will be a bit inflated. Still, for a pure school-by-school comparison, those numbers are worth including.
We’ll list the schools in alphabetical order just for the sake of easy reading. Here goes:
|School||1992-1996||1997-2001||2002-2006||2007-2011||Total Draft Picks|
|Miss. State||15||17||7||7||46 (2.30)|
|Ole Miss||11||9||10||11||41 (2.05)|
|S. Carolina||7||6||16||14||43 (2.15)|
|Texas A&M||25||22||14||9||70 (3.50)|
* What’s now being called “The Nick Saban Effect” is absolutely massive. Look at LSU pre-2002 (Saban arrived in 2000) and post-2002. Toss in the numbers from what are expected to be big drafts for LSU and Alabama this year and his legendary production of NFL-caliber athletes will only grow further. The guy is simply the best at luring in pro prospects and helping them reach their potential. He turned LSU from an also-ran into a recruiting dynamo and he’s re-established Bama as a signing day juggernaut. (Kudos as well to Les Miles who’s kept the production line on the Bayou running quite smoothly since Saban’s departure, by the way.)
* Mark Richt has made a pretty big difference at Georgia. Even with some longer drafts in the early-90s, pre-Richt Georgia didn’t produce nearly the amount of talent that Richt has. He may not have a national title, but there’s a reason he’s won two SEC crowns and just played for another.
* Woe is Tennessee. The Vols still rank tops in the SEC in draft picks over the last 20 years, but the drop-off from the end of the Phillip Fulmer era to now is quite evident. Blowing up the roster with two coaching changes in three years will do that for you. But, boy, did Johnny Majors and Fulmer have things rolling in the 90s?
* Florida has been the SEC’s model of consistency. Until now. The Gators could conceivably have just one player drafted this week, proving that — as has been the case at Tennessee — attrition follows coaching changes.
* For Dan Mullen to actually cash in on some of the momentum/excitement he built early in his tenure at Mississippi State, he’s going to need to start signing and producing more NFL-caliber players. Depending on how the Bulldogs do in this year’s draft, we might actually see a step in that direction.
* Steve Spurrier gets a world of credit for improving South Carolina’s roster — and deservedly so — but Lou Holtz should be remembered for starting the ball rolling in terms of talent-production in Columbia. He didn’t get a lot of wins with ‘em, but Holtz improved the type of athletes Carolina signed. Spurrier has raised the bar even higher since taking over for his friend.
* Texas A&M could produce a number of picks in this week’s draft, but the overall decline of talent in College Station is scary. Mike Sherman helped replenish the roster and Kevin Sumlin may well reap the rewards, but it’s hard to believe that the #2 legacy program in the talent-rich state of Texas has only produced 23 draft picks over the last 10 NFL drafts. Talk about underachieving.
* Missouri has had fewer players drafted into the NFL than Kentucky since 1992. Think about that for a second. But now look at the upswing that’s been created during the Gary Pinkel era. Clearly, he’s improved the Tigers’ roster. Heck, Mizzou was ranked #1 in the nation late in 2007… so there’s some more proof for the MU skeptics. But if Pinkel is to compete for SEC championships, he’ll need more pro prospects coming to the Show-Me State.