The NFL draft has come and gone. So how did the Big East fare?
The Big East only had 12 players drafted -- the lowest total since 11 were selected in 2006. USF and Pitt did not have a player selected, breaking some pretty long streaks. At least one Pitt player had been selected in each of the last 12 NFL drafts headed into this year; USF had at least one player taken in five straight drafts.
In compiling the numbers, I did count West Virginia because the three players drafted -- Bruce Irvin, Najee Goode and Keith Tandy -- spent their entire careers playing in the Big East. Since Temple now lives in this blog, many of you will probably be happy to hear that the Owls also had three players drafted -- Bernard Pierce, Evan Rodriguez and Tahir Whitehead -- tying a school record.
For those interested in the new members entering the league in 2013 and how they stacked up against those leaving -- Boise State had a school-record six players drafted. SMU (four) and San Diego State (four) ended up with the same number of picks as Cincinnati, which led the Big East.
Here is the breakdown of players selected by school:
West Virginia (3)
Here are the players that were selected:
West Virginia DE/LB Bruce Irvin, Seattle
Syracuse DE/LB Chandler Jones, New England
Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe, Denver
UConn DT Kendall Reyes, San Diego
Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead, St. Louis
Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati
Cincinnati DT John Hughes, Cleveland
West Virginia LB Najee Goode, Tampa Bay
West Virginia CB Keith Tandy, Tampa Bay
Syracuse OG Andrew Tiller, New Orleans
Louisville DE Greg Scruggs, Seattle
Here are a few of my thoughts:
Eleven Big East players invited to the NFL combine went undrafted, which seems like a pretty large number to me. Generally, those invited to the combine have a decent shot of being drafted. Keep in mind only 20 total Big East players snagged invites to the combine. So the percentage of players drafted who attended the combine in February was less than 50 percent.
USF running back Darrell Scott decided to leave school early to enter the draft. But he never got picked. Scott ended up signing as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. He was one of 18 underclassmen who entered the draft but was not selected. Syracuse safety Phillip Thomas and receiver Dorian Graham also are underclassmen.
Speaking of Thomas, I was surprised he went undrafted. I thought he was one of the most valuable players on the Syracuse defense last season before he ended up getting suspended for the final few games of the season for a violation of team rules. He obviously had some baggage because of that, but not any more than other players who have gotten into trouble. At one point, Mel Kiper had him listed as one of the top five safeties available in the draft.
Other surprise undrafted players? I thought for sure Pitt offensive lineman Lucas Nix would get picked. NFL teams are always in the market for stocking up on quality offensive linemen, particularly ones listed as 6-foot-5 and 317 pounds. I would say he and Thomas were two players that went undrafted that I had penciled in as getting drafted. Nobody expected a Louisville player to go, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Scruggs come off the board.
I watched the third round Friday night waiting and waiting for Sanu to come off the board. You guys know I guaranteed he would be picked in the first three rounds. What surprised me, though, were some of the receivers who were drafted ahead of him. I thought Houston might take him as a complementary receiver to Andre Johnson with the fifth pick in the round. But instead the Texans went with DeVier Posey of Ohio State, who was suspended for accepting cash and tattoos from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner. Posey played in three games all of last season. NC State receiver T.J. Graham was next to come off the board to the Bills. Sanu had a higher draft grade than those two players.