Great series of articles. Any chance of looking at SEC success long term in the NFL? For example, how many first team players, number if years in league, salary percentage, etc. I think this would go some way to determining the quality of SEC recruits.
With yet another NFL draft in our rearview mirror, it’s clear once more that professional GMs, scouts and coaches prefer athletes from the Southeastern Conference when it comes to building their own rosters. To followers of pro football and the SEC there’s nothing surprising about that fact. It’s obvious. It’s consistently true.
To followers of other leagues, however, it’s a difficult point to accept. ”Well, you people think your football is just so much better than everyone else’s.” Uh, well, yeah. Year-in and year-out it is.
As we wrote last week you can judge that by the teams winning BCS titles — six in a row have come from Mike Slive’s league. Or you can judge that by talent produced — six straight years in which the SEC has led the way in NFL draft picks.
You can also tally up the numbers from the past six years and get a big picture glimpse of just how many more NFL-caliber athletes have come from the SEC than from rival BCS leagues over that span. We’ve done that for you below.
First, let’s look at the overall number of picks from the six BCS conferences — ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Below are the year-by-year numbers for draft picks from 2007 through 2012. And that timeframe coincides with the Southeastern Conference’s six-in-a-row national crowns, by the way:
As you can see, the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 are separated by just 18 picks over a six-year span. The Big East lags far behind — a whopping 63 draft choices fewer than the rest of that group. But at the top of the chart the SEC leads the way by a country mile. The league has had 47 more draft picks than the other big four conferences that are bunched together in the middle.
At some point, a team from another conference will unseat the SEC in a BCS Championship Game or in whatever college football adopts as its new playoff format. But on the whole, more NFL-type athletes are produced from the SEC. There’s no arguing that fact.
We could have taken this study back further, too. The SEC, for example, has led or tied for leading in draft picks for 13 of the past 15 NFL drafts. The further back you go, the bigger the SEC’s lead on other conferences grows.
But now let’s look at just the very best of the best. Below you’ll see — for the same six-year time period — all of the first-round draft picks from each BCS league. Anyone care to guess what you’ll find?
When it comes to those players NFL executives most want to build their franchises around, once again, the target zone is the SEC. The league has had 17 more first-round picks over the last six years than any other BCS league. The Big 12, ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are again bunched together, separated by just 14 first-rounders between them. And again, the Big East brings up the rear, seven picks behind the rest of that mid-range pack.
There is a reason — though fans of other leagues might try to argue it — that the Southeastern Conference is viewed as playing the best football. That reason is simple. It has been proven again this past week. It’s been proven over the past 15 years.
The reason is… there’s more NFL talent in the SEC than in any other league. Anyone wanting to debate that need not take it up with the press or rabid SEC fans, but with the personnel directors in the National Football League. It’s their call. And each year they place more calls to SEC players.
In Part Two of today’s Stat Analysis we’ll show why that’s not about to change anytime soon, either.