April 26, 2010

Big 12 strong early, but SEC again rules draft

Some NFL draft leftovers:

For the fourth year in a row, the Southeastern Conference led the way with 49 draftees. (The SEC has led or tied for the most draft picks in 11 of the past 13 years.)

The Big Ten was second with 34, followed by the Atlantic Coast with 31, the Big 12 with 30 (almost a third of those came in the first round), the Pacific-10 with 29, the Big East with 18, the Mountain West with 13, Conference USA and the Western Athletic with seven (almost half came in the first round), the Mid-American and Sun Belt with five each and the independents with four. There were 19 players selected from FCS schools and five from Division II.

The ACC and SEC are the only leagues with at least 30 selections in each of the past six drafts.

As for first-round picks, the Big 12 had nine, followed by the SEC with seven, the ACC with four, the Big East, Big Ten and Western Athletic with three each, the Pac-10 with two and the Mountain West with one.

Eight schools had multiple picks in the first round; those seven schools provided more than half (19) of the first-round picks. The schools: Oklahoma with four (including three of the first four), Florida with three and Alabama, California, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Rutgers and Tennessee with two each. Three of those schools -- Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech -- were in BCS bowls last season; the other five also went bowling, though to "lesser" bowls.

No school ever had had three of the first four picks. Notre Dame in 1946, Alabama in 1948, Michigan State in 1967 and USC in 1977 had had three of the first five.

Gators lead the way
Florida had the most draft picks, with nine, followed by Alabama, Oklahoma and USC with seven each; Iowa, LSU, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas and Utah with six each; and Clemson, Georgia, USF and Virginia Tech with five each.

It's the second time in four years that Florida had the most selections; the Gators also had the most in 2007. In the past five years, Florida (twice) and USC (three times) are the only schools to have led the pack in most draft picks.

Some other big-name schools and how they fared in the draft:

Boise State: The Broncos had one selection, cornerback Kyle Wilson in the first round. He is the school's only draftee in the past two years.

Florida State: The Seminoles had three draftees, with one first-rounder and the others going in the sixth and seventh round. FSU had a combined 17 players taken in the 2005 and '06 drafts, including six first-rounders. In the four drafts since, there have been just 12 total selections, with two first-rounders.

Michigan: The Wolverines had three selections and have had just five draftees in the past two years. That's the school's worst two-year stretch since 1984-85.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes had four selections, but the first came in the fourth round and three were in the seventh. Ohio University had a player selected -- wide receiver Taylor Price, in the third round -- before any Buckeye was picked. Ohio State had had a first-round selection in each of the past four drafts, and this is the first time since 1990 that the Buckeyes didn't have a player go in the first two rounds.

Notre Dame: The Irish had four selections -- two in the second and two in the sixth. Notre Dame has had nine total players taken in the past three drafts -- or just two less than it had drafted in 2007.

TCU: The Horned Frogs had three players picked, including defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes is TCU's first first-rounder since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 and just their second since 1970, when Norm Bulaich was selected.

Washington: The Huskies had two players selected, which may not seem like much but the school had had zero players taken in the past two drafts.

On second thought
Seven of the 53 underclassmen who declared for the draft were not selected.

That two of them -- Tennessee cornerback Dennis Rogan and Arkansas cornerback Jerell Norton -- didn't get picked wasn't that surprising. The other five, though, have to truly be wondering what they were thinking when they decided to leave early.

Nevada defensive end Kevin Basped, Marshall running back Darius Marshall, SMU running back Shawnbrey McNeal, Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead and Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren were the quintet who now will have to make an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent.

The decisions by Snead and Warren were especially big to the teams they left behind. Ole Miss isn't likely to decide on a quarterback until fall drills, and Warren's departure left a huge hole in Michigan's secondary, which wasn't that good with Warren.

Some other underclassmen who likely went later -- in some cases, far later -- than they expected were Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell, USC defensive end Everson Griffen and tailback Joe McKnight and Ohio State defensive end Thaddeus Gibson in the fourth round; Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks and Georgia safety Reshad Jones in the fifth round; and USF wide receiver Carlton Mitchell, Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer, Central Michigan wide receiver Antonio Brown, South Carolina defensive end Clifton Geathers and Kansas wide receiver Dez Briscoe in the sixth round.

This draft marked the third time that two Heisman winners were taken in the same draft. This year, it was Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow. In 2006, it was Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. In 1992, it was Ty Detmer and Desmond Howard. Bradford became the ninth Heisman winner -- and the fourth Heisman-winning quarterback -- to go No. 1 overall, joining O.J. Simpson in 1967, Jim Plunkett in 1971, Earl Campbell in 1978, Billy Sims in 1980, George Rogers in 1981, Bo Jackson in 1986, Vinny Testaverde in 1987 and Carson Palmer in 2003. Among the schools with one draftee were Arkansas, Boston College, BYU, Michigan State, Oregon State, Missouri, West Virginia -- and Fordham, Hillsdale (Mich.), Indiana (Pa.), Morehouse (Ga.) and South Dakota State.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.


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