Florida State has dominated the NFL draft recently, with a record 29 picks over the last three years.
The Seminoles are sure to add to that group Thursday night in Chicago, when the first round begins. The question is: When does top prospect Jalen Ramsey come off the board? ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Ramsey rated as the No. 3 player in the entire draft; Todd McShay has Ramsey going No. 4 overall to Dallas.
(Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, lists Ramsey as the No. 1 overall player in this year's class.)
While Ramsey's chances of going No. 1 overall are slim, it is interesting to note that Florida State has never had back-to-back No. 1 overall picks. (USC, in 1968 and '69, is the only school to achieve that feat.)
Still, if Ramsey goes in the first round as expected, this will mark the fourth straight year the Seminoles produced a first-rounder, their longest streak since 1992-95.
None of that should come as a surprise to those who have followed the rise back to national prominence at Florida State. First-round picks again are the norm.
But there is something slightly different about the draft this year. Florida State had 11 players taken in 2013, seven in 2014 and 11 again in 2015. The draft haul is not expected to be nearly as high this year. A program can only lose so much talent in four consecutive seasons. Kiper has four Florida State players rated among his top 300 prospects.
The ACC team that should end up dominating the draft headlines is Clemson, which has eight players listed among Kiper’s top 300. If Clemson does end up having eight players drafted, it would be its largest draft class since 1991.
Unlike Florida State, Clemson has a real shot at getting two players into the first round: defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander and/or safety T.J. Green also may be able to sneak in there. Clemson has never had three first-round picks in the same draft. (McShay has Lawson and Dodd as the only Clemson first-rounders.)
No matter who gets picked first, Clemson also would extend its first-round streak to four consecutive seasons. The Tigers had six underclassmen declare for the NFL draft (also highest among ACC teams), so they should end up with the biggest class.
But there is no doubt this draft falls right in line with what we have seen in the ACC: The two teams that lead the league in the standings end up leading the league in the draft.