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Which College Conferences Dominate the NFL Draft?

On Sunday, I used my draft value chart to determine how NFL teams valued various positions. Today, I’ll use the same method to see which schools and conferences dominate the NFL Draft. You are not going to be surprised to discover that USC Trojans have dominated the draft over the last ten years. You’ll be even less surprised to see that SEC teams have accumulated the most draft value, and the most value per team, of any conference. But let’s put some numbers on what we all know. Here’s what I did:

1) Using these draft values, assign a value to every pick in every draft from 2004 to 2013.

2) Calculate the amount of draft capital assigned to each college team by summing the values from each draft pick for each player from that college.

3) Sum the values for each school in each conference. Note: I am using the school-conference affiliations as of the 2013 season, so the SEC gets credit for the last ten years of Texas A&M, and the ACC gets a decade worth of Pitt draft picks. (Speaking of Pitt, regular readers may recall last year’s two posts on college and NFL team connections). On the other hand, Maryland and Rutgers are not credited to the Big Ten… yet. This is almost certainly not the ideal way to handle the situation, but any other approach would be too time consuming and as a reminder, nothing about college football makes any sense, anyway.

Based on that methodology, the table below shows the 100 schools that have produced the most draft value from 2004 to 2013. By default, I’m listing only the top 10, but you can change that in the dropdown box to the left:

Rk
College
Conf
Picks
Value
1USCP1266587.9
2LSUSEC57499
3AlabamaSEC44435
4OklahomaBig 1250432.8
5Ohio St.Big 1054420.7
6Miami (FL)ACC51400.7
7TexasBig 1244390.7
8Florida St.ACC50373.7
9GeorgiaSEC53361.8
10FloridaSEC43335.4
11AuburnSEC29276
12WisconsinBig 1038258.6
13TennesseeSEC33250.3
14IowaBig 1038240.1
15MichiganBig 1030240
16ClemsonACC35239
17OregonP1232232.4
18CaliforniaP1234223.9
19Virginia TechACC39219.9
20Notre DameInd34219
21North CarolinaACC30210.6
22Penn St.Big 1032205.4
23ArkansasSEC28202.9
24VirginiaACC23188.7
25North Carolina St.ACC28188.5
26South CarolinaSEC26181.5
27NebraskaBig 1032173.9
28StanfordP1226169.7
29Boston Col.ACC15166.9
30MissouriSEC19164.9
31IllinoisBig 1021163.7
32PurdueBig 1027152.5
33Oklahoma St.Big 1217152.3
34Texas A&MSEC22152.2
35MississippiSEC18149.7
36MarylandACC19148.4
37PittsburghACC20146.9
38Georgia TechACC21146.2
39BaylorBig 1215142.7
40WashingtonP1217138.9
41UtahP1219134
42West VirginiaBig 1220124.1
43Boise St.MWC18121.7
44UCLAP1223119.1
45LouisvilleAmerican21113.2
46ConnecticutAmerican18107.1
47Oregon St.P1223106.4
48RutgersAmerican16100.4
49Michigan St.Big 102590.5
50Fresno St.MWC1890.1
51Mississippi St.SEC1788.6
52SyracuseACC1887
53South FloridaAmerican1385.5
54Wake ForestACC1683.9
55ColoradoP121683.2
56ArizonaP121682.6
57TCUBig 122382.6
58Arizona St.P121978.8
59CincinnatiAmerican1877.1
60San Diego St.MWC1774.3
61VanderbiltSEC1372.8
62Kansas St.Big 121369.2
63HawaiiMWC1568.3
64Central MichiganMAC866.5
65HoustonAmerican664.7
66IndianaBig 10859.5
67Texas TechBig 121159.1
68KentuckySEC1455.2
69BYUInd954
70Central FloridaAmerican1051.7
71Nevada-RenoMWC1248.4
72TempleAmerican745.7
73West. MichiganMAC544
74KansasBig 121042.6
75MinnesotaBig 10942.5
76TroySun963.8
77MemphisAmerican540.7
78Utah St.MWC839.9
79Miami (OH)MAC639.8
80Appalachian St.non-FBS937.2
81TulaneCUSA637.1
82East CarolinaCUSA735.8
83NorthwesternBig 10835.5
84Washington St.P121135
85New MexicoMWC833.2
86Texas-El PasoCUSA832.9
87SMUAmerican831.9
88Southern MissCUSA931.4
89Louisiana TechCUSA729.9
90MarshallCUSA529.4
91Northern IllinoisMAC429.1
92Arkansas St.Sun628.6
93Hamptonnon-FBS427.9
94San Jose St.MWC627.9
95IdahoInd627.7
96Delawarenon-FBS525.4
97UNLVMWC625.1
98Iowa St.Big 12624.4
99Florida InternationalCUSA523.3
100AkronMAC421.9

And the top conferences:

Conf
Tms
Value
Val/Tm
SEC143225230
ACC142601186
Big 10122083174
P12121992166
Big 12101521152
American1071872
Independents630651
MWC1254445
MAC1330523
CUSA1427720
Sun Belt811614

Seeing the ACC rank just behind the SEC is probably jarring to most college football fans; after all, FSU’s 2013 season excluded, the conference has been known more for mediocrity and disappointment than success over the last decade. But the ACC does very well on draft day, including at the top of round one: top-five picks over this period include Mario Williams, Chris Long, Calvin Johnson, Matt Ryan, Aaron Curry, Gaines Adams, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Philip Rivers, Sean Taylor… and, uh, Larry Fitzgerald. And the ACC’s grade is also weighed down by Duke, who couldn’t even crack the top 200 schools (no Blue Devil has been drafted in the top 200 since 1999). But while the ACC has had its struggles on the field, Miami and Florida State have continued to send top talents to the NFL, with Clemson and Virginia Tech also becoming top feeder schools.

In the Big 10, the biggest surprise to me is seeing Iowa come in third in the conference. It must be that Kirk Ferentz magic touch we keep hearing about. The Hawkeyes have had just one player selected in the top half of the last ten first rounds, and it was Robert Gallery. But 16 other players have been drafted in the top 100 of the last ten drafts, with Bob Sanders probably being the most notable.

The Big 12 and Pac 12, despite lots of success, have not managed to dominate NFL drafts. Outside of Texas and Oklahoma, which remain Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12’s impact is largely limited to Saturdays. Even as nouveau riche schools like Oklahoma State and Baylor have risen in the polls, they rarely send top prospects to the NFL. And West Virginia, a Big East school for most of the past decade, even manages to rank as the 5th best Big 12 school by this measure.

The Pac 12 is only sustained by the success of USC: the top teams in recent years, Oregon and Stanford, rank 17th and 28th, respectively (California, which has fallen on very hard times, ranks third among Pac-12 schools at 18th). One would think that will surely change soon: Dion Jordan and Kyle Long, top twenty picks in 2013, represent half of all first round Ducks from the past decade (Haloti Ngata and Jonathan Stewart). On the other hand, most mock drafts don’t have any Oregon players going in the first three rounds of this year’s draft (and on the, uh, third hand, De’Anthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota, Colt Lyerla, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu were projected to be 2014 first round picks at some point).

As for the SEC, there are no real surprises. LSU narrowly edges Alabama, although that would change if we just looked at the Nick Saban era. The craziest stat? Alabama has 11 first round picks in just the last three years. See how many you can guess:


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