What the NFL revealed about the ACC and the rest of the Power 5 conferences.




The NFL draft finished up Saturday. You can review the ACC’s entire draft results in a previous post on this blog. The ACC had 42 players drafted. For the the ACC it was pretty successful draft, as the conference continues to churn out NFL talent at a rate 2nd only the SEC who had 49 players drafted.

SBNation has a great summary conference by conference comparison of this years NFL draft, and there some interesting conclusions we can make about the ACC and the rest of the Power 5 conferences.

181 of the 256 players were drafted from the Power 5 (Pac 12, ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and Notre Dame). That’s 70% of the draft picks. With 30% of the of the Draft, not coming from the Power 5 and Notre Dame, if you can play the NFL will find you. That said predictably the Power 5 and Notre Dame still dominate the draft.

While you do draft from teams not conferences, these numbers are still significant for each conference. Let’s start with the ACC.

Don’t think that it hasn’t crossed the lips of every SEC coach on a recruiting trip, play in the conference that produces the most NFL talent and has the best players. The  ACC finishing 2nd is a positive result for the conference. Each ACC team had at least 1 player drafted, and 3 ACC teams (Florida State, UNC, and Clemson) finished in the top 10 of schools with the most draft picks. The ACC has had strong draft results in recent years, but just now are  the on the field results are starting to catch up to the draft results. It’s been well documented the ACC has went 9-8 in bowl games the last 2 years, 3-0 in BCS games (FSU -2 , Clemson -1), and National Championship by Florida State.

Even the harshest critics of the ACC, have to admit that it is a football conference that’s made strides the last 2 years. Is there still room for improvement, certainly yes, but John Swofford has to be more than pleased with the direction of the ACC.

Though Louisville’s number don’t count for the ACC, they did have a solid 4 NFL picks, including leading all schools along with Texas A&M with 3 first round picks.

For the SEC, let’s give credit where it’s due. They still came in number 1 for most picks, even as the ACC pushed them late Saturday for the lead. LSU led all schools with 9 NFL picks and Alabama finished 2nd with Notre Dame with 8. The SEC topped all conferences with 11 first round picks. They are still regarded as the country’s best football conference, and the NFL draft reflects that.

The Pac 12 has probably been considered the 2nd best football conference, and they were solid in this year’s draft, finishing 3rd in total number of picks and 3rd in total number of picks per school, behind the SEC and the ACC.

Jim Delany can’t be happy with the Big 10’s draft performance. It’s was the Big 10’s 6 straight year without a top 10 pick. It’s no surprise the Big 10 has had their struggles against the SEC in bowl games, and is generally regarded as a declining football conference. The numbers don’t lie. Incoming members Rutgers and Maryland had exactly 1 NFL draft don’t help. They will further dilute the middling football conference. While the Big 10 continues to pull in record revenues, the football product as a whole has issues that need to be addressed by the conference’s members or risk getting further behind the best conferences in the country.

The biggest shocker of the NFL was the disappointing draft performance of the Big 12. The Big 12 had just a mere 17 total picks. Yes I know there are only 10 teams, but that is still a power 5 conference worst 1.7 NFL draft picks per team. Texas had a stunning ZERO NFL picks. I think most of us thought the Longhorns recruited well, but had become a soft team. In the eyes of the NFL, Texas didn’t have a single elite level talent.

This won’t continue, Charlie Strong is too good a coach, but in 2014 this is an embarrassing result for Texas. It remains to be seen if this is a one year blip, or if the Big 12 has some deeper problems. I’m going with the Big 12 will see these numbers improve in the future.

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