Monday, April 27, 2009
Weekend replay: ACC and the NFL draft
By Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Between a few spring games and the NFL draft, there is plenty of catching up to do. We'll start with how the ACC fared in the NFL draft -- very well, despite a few streaks being broken.
What's most interesting about this draft is that Wake Forest had four players selected, a true sign of how far the program has come under coach Jim Grobe. Yes, they can recruit NFL-caliber players to Winston-Salem. It marks the first time that four Deacons have been selected by NFL teams in the same draft since 1953.
Congrats to former Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who was chosen fourth overall in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. Curry was followed by Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was taken seventh by the Oakland Raiders; Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, taken eighth by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Boston College defensive lineman B.J. Raji, who was selected ninth by the Green Bay Packers.
For the second time in four years, the ACC was the only conference in the nation to have four players drafted among the first nine selections. (It also happened in 2006). It also marked the ninth time in the history of the NFL draft that a league has managed to have four picks among the first nine choices. The Big Ten set the record with five picks in the 1967 and 1996 drafts.
Here are a few more draft factoids, courtesy of the ACC:
- With five players selected in the first round overall -- North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks was the 29th pick on the first round by the New York Giants -- the ACC has had more first-round selections than any other conference with 30 players chosen since 2006, the first year the ACC became a 12-team league. The SEC is second with 29 first-round selections.
- Overall, the ACC had nine of the first 45 players selected in the draft, the most of any conference in the nation through the first 45 picks.
- The ACC did break its unprecedented streak of three consecutive years of supplying the first defensive player chosen in the draft when LSU defensive end Tyrone Jackson was chosen third overall, just ahead of Curry. No other league has ever gone more than two consecutive years with the top defensive player chosen. The ACC now has supplied the top defender in four of the past eight years of the draft.
- Overall, the ACC had 33 players drafted, trailing only the SEC (37).
- Maryland and North Carolina led all ACC schools with five players chosen each, followed by Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest with four each; Boston College and NC State with two as well as Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech with one each.
- Although Miami did have its impressive streak of 14 consecutive years with a first-round draft pick snapped, the Hurricanes continued their string of string of consecutive seasons with a player in the NFL draft to 35 straight years with outside linebacker Spencer Adkins drafted on the 6th round. Miami has now had a player taken in every NFL draft since 1974.
- Florida State continued its streak of 22 straight years with a player taken in the top three rounds when defensive end Everette Brown was chosen in the 2nd round by the Carolina Panthers.
I'll post a complete list of the ACC players who were drafted this weekend in a bit.