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Which NFL teams draft from which colleges?

[Click here for Part II, which focuses on more recent drafts.]

The Steelers found lots of players from Pittsburgh, but not this one.

The Steelers found lots of players from Pittsburgh, but not this one.

Gregg Rosenthal on NFL.com noted that both the Patriots and Buccaneers have eight former Rutgers players on each of their rosters. With former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano coaching in Tampa Bay, seeing Scarlet Knights pop up in Florida isn’t too surprising. With Belichick, you can trace the Piscataway-Foxboro connection to the fact that Belichick has long been an admirer of Schiano’s program and that his son was a member of the Rutgers football team.

In the 2013 draft, Belichick selected three players from Rutgers — cornerback Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon, and linebacker Steve Beauharnais. The Patriots were one of two teams to draft three players from one college. Down in Miami, the Dolphins selected three Florida Gators, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, running back Mike Gillislee, and kicker Caleb Sturgis.

It’s not unusual for teams to get smitten with the Gators program. In the last 25 years, only once has a team selected four players from the same college. That happened in 2003, when Chicago drafted the following players from Gainesville: quarterback Rex Grossman, defensive back Todd Johnson, and defensive tackles Ian Scott and Tron LaFavor.

Which team has selected the most players from one school? As it turns out, there’s a two-way tie. 2013 will mark the 77th season for the Rams, who spent their first nine years in Cleveland and their last eighteen in St. Louis. But the middle fifty years were spent in Los Angeles (or Anaheim), and the franchise has drafted 45 players from UCLA. The other team to draft 45 players from one school also had a local connection. The Steelers used to go to the Pittsburgh well repeatedly, although they have selected only Panther in the last 20 drafts. You can view the 90 Rams/Bruins and Steelers/Rams draftees here.

Want to see which school your favorite team likes? The table below shows the top five schools from which each NFL team has drafted the most players. I’ve also added a very cool feature: If you click on each school, you can see the full list of players drafted by that team. The table is fully searchable, too, so you can see which NFL teams like to draft from “Florida” or “Penn St.” or “Michigan.”

FranchiseCollege 1College 2College 3College 4College 5
St. Louis RamsUCLA (45)USC (38)Washington (38)Notre Dame (31)Oklahoma (26)
Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh (45)Notre Dame (35)Florida (24)Penn St. (24)Purdue (23)
Chicago BearsNotre Dame (41)Ohio St. (30)Texas (26)Oklahoma (26)Stanford (24)
Green Bay PackersMinnesota (41)Wisconsin (37)USC (33)Notre Dame (26)Michigan (26)
Arizona CardinalsOklahoma (37)Notre Dame (27)LSU (24)Texas (23)Auburn (22)
Washington RedskinsNotre Dame (34)USC (29)Penn St. (21)Nebraska (19)Maryland (19)
Cleveland BrownsOhio St. (32)Purdue (22)Michigan St. (20)Baylor (18)Michigan (17)
Detroit LionsUSC (31)Michigan (30)Ohio St. (23)Tennessee (21)Oklahoma (20)
New York GiantsMississippi (30)USC (24)Texas (24)Minnesota (23)Ohio St. (20)
Philadelphia EaglesNotre Dame (28)USC (23)Ohio St. (23)Georgia (21)Penn St. (21)
San Francisco 49ersUSC (25)Notre Dame (20)Pittsburgh (17)Florida (17)California (17)
New York JetsPenn St. (25)Nebraska (16)Michigan (14)USC (13)Ohio St. (12)
New England PatriotsBoston Col. (23)Michigan (17)Notre Dame (17)LSU (14)Miami (FL) (14)
Oakland RaidersUSC (22)Nebraska (15)Penn St. (13)Washington (13)UCLA (13)
San Diego ChargersUSC (21)Notre Dame (14)Florida St. (14)LSU (13)Tennessee (13)
Minnesota VikingsMinnesota (20)USC (14)Miami (FL) (13)Florida St. (11)Florida (11)
Indianapolis ColtsSyracuse (19)Penn St. (19)Ohio St. (18)Michigan St. (17)USC (16)
Buffalo BillsPenn St. (19)Notre Dame (18)North Carolina (16)Ohio St. (15)Nebraska (13)
Dallas CowboysTennessee (18)UCLA (16)Arizona St. (14)Florida (14)USC (13)
Tennessee TitansTexas (18)Oklahoma (15)Rice (13)Auburn (12)Penn St. (12)
Cincinnati BengalsOhio St. (17)Georgia (13)Michigan (12)Miami (FL) (11)Penn St. (10)
New Orleans SaintsUSC (17)Nebraska (16)Ohio St. (12)Notre Dame (11)Oklahoma (10)
Denver BroncosFlorida (15)Georgia (13)Miami (FL) (13)Colorado (13)Nebraska (12)
Miami DolphinsMiami (FL) (15)Tennessee (14)Florida (14)Ohio St. (12)Texas A&M (10)
Kansas City ChiefsNotre Dame (15)Pittsburgh (14)Miami (FL) (13)UCLA (12)Iowa (11)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersAlabama (13)Tennessee (12)Miami (FL) (12)USC (10)Florida St. (10)
Seattle SeahawksMiami (FL) (12)Washington (10)Florida (9)Georgia (9)Notre Dame (9)
Atlanta FalconsOklahoma (11)USC (11)Wisconsin (10)Ohio St. (10)Notre Dame (9)
Jacksonville JaguarsFlorida (8)USC (6)Tennessee (4)Michigan (3)Florida St. (3)
Baltimore RavensOklahoma (7)Alabama (6)Notre Dame (5)Miami (FL) (5)Florida (4)
Carolina PanthersOregon (5)Georgia (5)Colorado (5)Utah (4)Wisconsin (4)
Houston TexansLSU (4)Virginia Tech (4)Miami (FL) (4)South Carolina (3)Wisconsin (3)

Finally, here’s a list of all teams that drafted 20 players from at least one school. This table is searchable, too.

1St. Louis RamsUCLA45
1Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh45
3Chicago BearsNotre Dame41
3Green Bay PackersMinnesota41
5St. Louis RamsWashington38
5St. Louis RamsUSC38
7Green Bay PackersWisconsin37
7Arizona CardinalsOklahoma37
9Pittsburgh SteelersNotre Dame35
10Washington RedskinsNotre Dame34
11Green Bay PackersUSC33
12Cleveland BrownsOhio St.32
13Detroit LionsUSC31
13St. Louis RamsNotre Dame31
15Chicago BearsOhio St.30
15New York GiantsMississippi30
15Detroit LionsMichigan30
18Washington RedskinsUSC29
19Philadelphia EaglesNotre Dame28
20Arizona CardinalsNotre Dame27
21Chicago BearsTexas26
21St. Louis RamsOklahoma26
21Chicago BearsOklahoma26
21St. Louis RamsOhio St.26
21Green Bay PackersNotre Dame26
21Green Bay PackersMichigan26
27San Francisco 49ersUSC25
27New York JetsPenn St.25
29New York GiantsUSC24
29New York GiantsTexas24
29Chicago BearsStanford24
29Pittsburgh SteelersPenn St.24
29St. Louis RamsOregon24
29Arizona CardinalsLSU24
29Pittsburgh SteelersFlorida24
36Philadelphia EaglesUSC23
36Arizona CardinalsTexas23
36Pittsburgh SteelersPurdue23
36Philadelphia EaglesOhio St.23
36Green Bay PackersOhio St.23
36Detroit LionsOhio St.23
36Chicago BearsNorthwestern23
36Green Bay PackersNebraska23
36New York GiantsMinnesota23
36New England PatriotsBoston Col.23
46Oakland RaidersUSC22
46Cleveland BrownsPurdue22
46Green Bay PackersOklahoma22
46St. Louis RamsNebraska22
46Arizona CardinalsIndiana22
46Arizona CardinalsAuburn22
52San Diego ChargersUSC21
52Philadelphia EaglesTexas21
52Detroit LionsTennessee21
52Washington RedskinsPenn St.21
52Philadelphia EaglesPenn St.21
52Green Bay PackersIowa21
52Philadelphia EaglesGeorgia21
52Green Bay PackersAlabama21
52Arizona CardinalsAlabama21
61Arizona CardinalsTexas A&M20
61St. Louis RamsTexas20
61Philadelphia EaglesPurdue20
61Detroit LionsPurdue20
61Detroit LionsOklahoma20
61Pittsburgh SteelersOhio St.20
61New York GiantsOhio St.20
61San Francisco 49ersNotre Dame20
61New York GiantsNotre Dame20
61Minnesota VikingsMinnesota20
61St. Louis RamsMichigan St.20
61Pittsburgh SteelersMichigan St.20
61New York GiantsMichigan St.20
61Cleveland BrownsMichigan St.20
61New York GiantsMichigan20
61Chicago BearsMichigan20
61Arizona CardinalsGeorgia20
78Arizona CardinalsWisconsin19
78Indianapolis ColtsSyracuse19
78Green Bay PackersSouth Carolina19
78Chicago BearsPurdue19
78Indianapolis ColtsPenn St.19
78Buffalo BillsPenn St.19
78Washington RedskinsNebraska19
78Detroit LionsMichigan St.19
78Pittsburgh SteelersMichigan19
78Chicago BearsMiami (FL)19
78Washington RedskinsMaryland19
78St. Louis RamsLSU19
78Philadelphia EaglesLSU19
78New York GiantsLSU19
78Chicago BearsIllinois19
78Chicago BearsFlorida19
78Philadelphia EaglesArkansas19
78Green Bay PackersArkansas19
78Chicago BearsArkansas19
78Washington RedskinsAlabama19
78New York GiantsAlabama19
99Arizona CardinalsWashington18
99Tennessee TitansTexas18
99Washington RedskinsTennessee18
99Dallas CowboysTennessee18
99Arizona CardinalsTennessee18
99Green Bay PackersSMU18
99Arizona CardinalsOhio St.18
99Indianapolis ColtsOhio St.18
99Buffalo BillsNotre Dame18
99Chicago BearsMaryland18
99Detroit LionsLSU18
99Arizona CardinalsDuke18
99Green Bay PackersColorado18
99Cleveland BrownsBaylor18
99Chicago BearsBaylor18
114Chicago BearsWisconsin17
114Chicago BearsWake Forest17
114New Orleans SaintsUSC17
114Chicago BearsUSC17
114Philadelphia EaglesTexas A&M17
114Philadelphia EaglesTennessee17
114Chicago BearsTennessee17
114Philadelphia EaglesTCU17
114Green Bay PackersTCU17
114Chicago BearsTCU17
114New York GiantsSyracuse17
114San Francisco 49ersPittsburgh17
114St. Louis RamsOregon St.17
114Cincinnati BengalsOhio St.17
114New England PatriotsNotre Dame17
114Detroit LionsNotre Dame17
114Arizona CardinalsMissouri17
114Philadelphia EaglesMississippi17
114Indianapolis ColtsMichigan St.17
114New England PatriotsMichigan17
114Cleveland BrownsMichigan17
114St. Louis RamsGeorgia Tech17
114Pittsburgh SteelersGeorgia17
114Chicago BearsGeorgia17
114San Francisco 49ersFlorida17
114Detroit LionsDetroit Mercy17
114San Francisco 49ersCalifornia17
114Pittsburgh SteelersBaylor17
114Philadelphia EaglesBaylor17
114New York GiantsArkansas17
114Arizona CardinalsArkansas17
145Philadelphia EaglesWest Virginia16
145St. Louis RamsWashington St.16
145Detroit LionsWashington St.16
145Indianapolis ColtsUSC16
145Cleveland BrownsUSC16
145Dallas CowboysUCLA16
145Chicago BearsUCLA16
145Green Bay PackersTulane16
145Washington RedskinsTexas A&M16
145St. Louis RamsTexas A&M16
145Washington RedskinsTexas16
145Pittsburgh SteelersTexas16
145Pittsburgh SteelersTennessee16
145San Francisco 49ersStanford16
145Philadelphia EaglesStanford16
145Detroit LionsSouth Carolina16
145Washington RedskinsPurdue16
145Green Bay PackersPurdue16
145St. Louis RamsPenn St.16
145San Francisco 49ersOregon16
145Philadelphia EaglesOklahoma16
145Arizona CardinalsNorthwestern16
145Buffalo BillsNorth Carolina16
145New York JetsNebraska16
145New Orleans SaintsNebraska16
145Detroit LionsNebraska16
145Cleveland BrownsNebraska16
145Chicago BearsNebraska16
145Washington RedskinsMichigan St.16
145Washington RedskinsMichigan16
145Arizona CardinalsMichigan16
145Chicago BearsLSU16
145Philadelphia EaglesIowa16
145St. Louis RamsIllinois16
145Green Bay PackersIllinois16
145Arizona CardinalsIllinois16
145Washington RedskinsGeorgia16
145Green Bay PackersGeorgia16
145New York GiantsFlorida16
145Philadelphia EaglesColorado16
145Pittsburgh SteelersClemson16
145New York GiantsClemson16
145Chicago BearsCalifornia16
145Philadelphia EaglesBoston Col.16
145St. Louis RamsBaylor16
145San Francisco 49ersAlabama16
191Detroit LionsWest Virginia15
191Green Bay PackersWashington15
191Arizona CardinalsWake Forest15
191Green Bay PackersUCLA15
191Indianapolis ColtsTexas A&M15
191New York GiantsSouth Carolina15
191Pittsburgh SteelersOklahoma15
191Tennessee TitansOklahoma15
191Washington RedskinsOhio St.15
191Buffalo BillsOhio St.15
191Kansas City ChiefsNotre Dame15
191Cleveland BrownsNotre Dame15
191Washington RedskinsNorth Carolina15
191Arizona CardinalsNorth Carolina15
191Oakland RaidersNebraska15
191New York GiantsNebraska15
191Arizona CardinalsNebraska15
191Philadelphia EaglesMississippi St.15
191Chicago BearsMinnesota15
191Philadelphia EaglesMichigan St.15
191Green Bay PackersMichigan St.15
191Chicago BearsMichigan St.15
191Indianapolis ColtsMichigan15
191Miami DolphinsMiami (FL)15
191Cleveland BrownsMaryland15
191Detroit LionsIowa St.15
191Washington RedskinsGeorgia Tech15
191Denver BroncosFlorida15
191New York GiantsColorado15
191Cleveland BrownsColorado15
191Washington RedskinsCalifornia15
191Philadelphia EaglesCalifornia15
191Green Bay PackersBoston Col.15
191St. Louis RamsArkansas15
191Pittsburgh SteelersArkansas15
191San Francisco 49ersArizona St.15
  • Scott Tanner

    I find the Bears/Northwestern linkage interesting. I suppose we’re looking for geographic links, and if teams might irrationally view “hometown” players? Might be a case here.

  • It should be noted that, of SF’s 25 picks from USC, 11 were in the 1950s, and they took exactly zero between 1997 and 2007.

  • Shattenjager

    It seems like teams are drafting from the local schools far less for the last 20-25 years than they did before. Several teams show a strong proclivity for taking players from a local school until right around 1990 and then the preference seems to stop. That’s a rather interesting trend, if it’s real.

    • Neil

      I think that makes a lot of sense. For a number of reasons (travel costs, communication limitations, etc), the concept of national scouting wasn’t really practical up until the past handful of decades. I remember reading that in the early 1970s, some teams were still coming to the draft with a copy of Street and Smith’s college football magazine — that was their national scouting program!

      Under those conditions, it makes sense that you’d only truly get a good look at guys who played at nearby colleges. Only with innovations like the explosion of draft coverage on ESPN (and more tape available from college telecasts) and the advent of the internet do you see teams comprehensively scout players outside of their region.

      • Richie

        Yeah, I was going to comment about the same things Neil mentioned. I think Doug had a post once arguing that NFL teams should just eliminate their scouting departments and just use the wisdom of crowds to draft. There may have been a time when it was advantageous to invest in scouting, but now its so easy to get a consensus of who the best college players are.

        Chase, would it be complicated to redo this list, but only listing players drafted since 1970 – to see if the trends have dried up?

        • Chase Stuart

          Yeah, I was thinking of doing something like that. Probably a project that will take a bit (but not a crazy amount) of time, so maybe it will be on the site for next week.

      • Chase Stuart

        One other thing to consider. Do teams structure their scouts based on seniority? I.e., if you’re the Raiders, do you give your most senior scout the west coast and your most junior scout the east coast? I’d imagine from a travel perspective, the plum gig is to be in your area. And if that’s the case, it’s possible that the GM is also more likely to lean on a senior scout than a junior scout. If both scouts are saying they each have a greater player the team needs to draft, it’s possible the senior scout’s word is taken more seriously. So I suspect teams will always have a slight bias towards drafting local players if all of my previous assumptions are accurate.

        • Richie

          Interesting thought. Would a senior scout rather have the local area, or would he rather get to go see the best schools in a given year?

    • Chase Stuart

      This is not really on point, but the first thought I had was that Wayne Chrebet never would have made the NFL if the Jets didn’t exist. He just so happened to go to school where Jets training camp was held, and the team always gave Hofstra players an extra look.

  • Matt

    I have a friend that did researched what effect proximity has on the players that NFL teams draft, the info can be found here:

  • Wayne Chrebet played in the CFL before he played for the JETS also he benefited from having a great work out at the Elite regional combine the forerunner of NFL regional combines.

  • Noso

    None of the “Miami (Fl)” links work. Gotta be the parentheses. But then again, it doesn’t work even when selecting it from the form on the PFR website, so it’s likely a problem on their end.

    • Chase Stuart

      Yeah, I noticed that too. It’s definitely a PFR problem and I let the guys know about it. You are correct that the problem is the parentheses.

  • Tim Truemper

    Some interesting connections between certain school and NFL franchises existed before the NFL became truly national. As a graduate of Ole Miss in the 70’s, we were aware of the Ole Miss to NY Giants connection in the 50’s and 60’s. Seems like they spent time scouting the Rebels even though they were so far away. And if a player was drafted by another team (like Charlie Conerly) before the Giants could get them, they would trade for them. Thus you see Ole Miss as the Giants # 1 connection with most of those players from the aformentioned 50’s/60’s. Many didn’t pan out but some like Jimmy Patton did very well.

  • Also in the late 60s you have the LESTO” (Lions Eagles Steelers Talent Organization) based in Pittsburgh,BLESTO AND e Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and St Louis Cardinals. It grew to include the NY Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins, and eventually re-emerged as the National Football Scouting organization a.k.a. “the National” based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am certain that played a role in the players being exposed to NFL teams.