Saturday, April 28, 2012

Southeastern Conference Stars Shine in NFL Draft

image Charles Bloom, Southeastern Conference Associate Director for Media and Public Relations, has had a busy week, staying up late last night to compile an impressive array of data showing another reason why the SEC is the country’s premier league in college football.

Through the first three rounds of the 2012 draft, the numbers are impressive.

Sixteen players from SEC squads were selected during proceedings held Thursday and Friday, including nine in the first round, five in the second and two in the third. The Big 10 and Pac-12 had 14 players each, while the ACC had 12.

Seven schools had players selected on the first two nights. The only teams that didn’t place a prospect in the first three rounds were Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

Alabama led all conference programs with five players selected—two in the Top 10 overall. LSU had four, South Carolina had three and Mississippi State, Arkansas, Georgia and Vanderbilt had one each.

Defense wins championships and gets you to the league. Twelve of the 16 players selected were defenders.

As impressive as those numbers are, they’re not as good as last year’s showing. Through three rounds in 2011, a total of 20 players were selected from SEC schools. The 2011 draft also saw 10 selected in the first round—one better than Thursday night’s showing. The record for the most players taken in the first round is 11, set in 2007.

There were a few mild surprises through last night’s final selections of the third round. Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw slipped out of the first round and landed early in the second. LSU wideout Reuben Randle—regarded by many as the best pure physical specimen at the position—fell to the late second round. Randle had a great junior season but just wasn’t utilized as much in the Tigers’ 2012 SEC title run. The Ravens and Giants will get great values with those two picks.

Day three will conclude the 2012 Draft, starting at 11:00 CDT. There are still plenty of SEC gems to be plucked, including Alabama’s Josh Chapman and William Vlachos, Georgia’s Brandon Boykin and Orson Charles, Arkansas’ Joe Adams, Tennessee’s Malik Jackson and Ole Miss’ Bobbie Massie.

All of those guys are steals.

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