- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tonight kicks off a weekend-long celebration of college players turning into professionals, as the NFL draft kicks off at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
There is a solid chance for several former Big East players to hear their names called in Round 1, but for now, we'll look back at how this conference has fared in the past 10 drafts, and especially in the first round.
Obviously, the conference has gone through change after change in the past two years alone, so to limit any confusion, we narrowed the pool of players to those whose college experience came on any of the 10 teams that will make up the American Athletic Conference in the 2013-14 season.
Some noteworthy items?
Four teams have not had a player taken in the first round in the last 10 years.
Rutgers leads the way in first-round picks during the past 10 years, with three, while Louisville leads in total picks, with 29. Again, given those teams' futures, you can look at that as a positive or a negative as a Big East fan, depending on your mood or point of view.
In total, current conference schools have had a total of 11 first-round picks in the past 10 years, and 150 players from these 10 schools have been drafted during that time.
Defensive back has been the strongest position among these schools, with 30 cornerbacks and safeties in total selected during this stretch.
FIRST-ROUND PICKS SINCE 2003:
TOTAL PICKS SINCE 2003:
Breakdown of Big East draft picks over the last 10 years by position:
Defensive backs: 30
Defensive linemen: 23
Offensive linemen: 19
Running backs: 16
Wide receivers: 15
Tight ends: 8
Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl, meanwhile, have a complete, seven-round mock draft here.
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
5dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney