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Draft Day Rewind: The SEC’s Pipelines To The Pros

gfx - by the numbersWith the annual NFL draft kicking off this evening in New York, we wanted to take a look back over the past few decades to see which current SEC schools have produced the most pro talent.  Below you’ll find:


*  All 14 programs’ total number of drafted players over the past 20 years (1993-2012)

*  All 14 programs’ number of drafted players over the past 10 years (2003-2012)

*  All 14 programs’ number of drafted players over the past 5 years (2008-2012)

*  All 14 programs’ number of drafted players last year (2012)

*  All 14 programs’ number of first-round picks over the last 10 years (2003-2012)


We’ll list the schools from top to bottom in terms of picks produced in each category.  In that way you can get an idea of which schools have turned into powerful pipelines in recent years… and which programs have become little more than leaky spigots.  Ties are listed in alphabetical order.


  SEC Rank   Picks ’93-’12   Picks ’03-’12   Picks ’08-’12   Picks ’12   1st Rd Picks ’03-’12
  1   Georgia 101   Georgia 56   LSU 30   Alabama 8   LSU 12
  2   Tennessee 101   LSU 56   Georgia 28   Georgia 7   Alabama 11
  3   Florida 98   Florida 48   Alabama 24   S. Carolina 6   Florida 9
  4   Alabama 85   Alabama 45   Florida 20   LSU 5   Georgia 8
  5   LSU 82   Tennessee 39   S. Carolina 18   Arkansas 4   Auburn 7
  6   Texas A&M 66   Auburn 33   Arkansas 15   Texas A&M 4   Tennessee 7
  7   Auburn 62   S. Carolina 31   Auburn 15   Miss. State 3   Arkansas 6
  8   Arkansas 48   Arkansas 29   Missouri 13   Florida 2   Missouri 5
  9   Miss. State 47   Texas A&M 25   Tennessee 13   Kentucky 2   Ole Miss 5
  10   S. Carolina 46   Missouri 21   Texas A&M 13   Vanderbilt 2   S. Carolina 5
  11   Ole Miss 40   Ole Miss 21   Kentucky 11   Auburn 1   Texas A&M 4
  12   Kentucky 35   Miss. State 16   Ole Miss 10   Missouri 1   Miss. State 2
  13   Missouri 29   Kentucky 15   Miss. State 9   Ole Miss 1   Vanderbilt 2
  14   Vanderbilt 21   Vanderbilt 12   Vanderbilt 8   Tennessee 1   Kentucky 1




*  When it comes to big movers there is no one in the conference that compares with Tennessee’s rapid decline.  Over the past 20 years, the Volunteers have produced 101 NFL draft picks, tops in the league with Georgia.  But 61 of those selections came between 1993 and 2002.  Since ’02 — and right about the time the Volunteers began to decline on the field — UT has produced just 39 draft picks.  They’ve produced just 13 in the past five seasons and just one last year.  It’s little wonder the Vols of the past decade have looked very little like the Vols of the late-80s through the early-2000s.

*  No school has matched Georgia’s level of consistency with regards to talent production.  Before Mark Richt, since Mark Richt, 10 years, five years, last year… the Dawgs are always on NFL teams’ radars.  It’s no wonder UGA has finished either first or second in the SEC East in nine of Richt’s 12 seasons in Athens.

*  No coach has had a bigger impact on his school’s pro production numbers than Nick Saban at Alabama (and you can credit him for opening up LSU’s talent pipeline, too).  The Crimson Tide have had 85 players selected in the NFL draft over the past 20 years.  Of those, a whopping 24 have come in the past seasons.  That’s more than 28% of the program’s draft picks since 1993.

*  LSU and Alabama lead the way in terms of first-round draft picks over the past decade.  Not to take anything away from the job Les Miles has done of keeping the talent gushing out of Baton Rouge, but again, it must be stated that both schools have Saban in common.

*  Credit needs to be given to Lou Holtz — yes, Lou Holtz — and Steve Spurrier for using their national profiles to help lure bigger and better talent to South Carolina.  Obviously Spurrier has done more with that talent than Holtz was able to, but since 2003 the Gamecocks have sent 31 players to the NFL via the draft.  In the decade prior, they had sent just 15.  Spurrier has produced 18 NFL draft picks in the past five years alone.

*  Kudos to a man on a hot seat, Gary Pinkel, too.  Between 1993 and 2012 Missouri has had just 29 NFL draftees.  But 21 of those have come during the last 10 years and 13 have come in the last five.  Whether Tiger fans believe Pinkel is the man to lead Mizzou into its SEC future or not, there’s no denying the success he has had in raising the talent level of their program.

*  Bobby Johnson and James Franklin deserve credit for their work at Vanderbilt as well.  Franklin has had more on-field success, but as we’ve noted before, Johnson had created a more solid foundation of talent in Nashville.  Twelve of the Commodores’ 21 draftees since 1993 have been selected since 2003.  More impressively, eight of VU’s 21 draftees (38%) have been snagged in the past five years.



What stands out to me is that all the teams at the top have multiple SEC and national championships except UGA.

Ok, Tennessee has only one national championship, but still.  Richt, where is the finish?


  1. [...] John Pennington takes a look at which current SEC schools have produced the most pro talent and compiles this chart: [...]

  2. [...] like Georgia Tech, which play a brand of the game foreign to what’s seen on Sundays. As Mr.SEC noted this week, “No school has matched Georgia’s level of consistency with regards to talent production. [...]

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