Friday, April 23, 2010
Seven SEC players go in first round
By Chris Low
The SEC's seven first-round NFL draft picks on Thursday night was second to the Big 12's nine.
The SEC has now had five picks in the top 20 of the first round four years in a row.
The first-round proceedings Thursday night reminded us all one more time that how decorated you are at the college level and how many awards you win aren't real important in the eyes of pro scouts.
Take Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, for instance. He played in the shadow of Javier Arenas all season a year ago. Arenas was a consensus All-American and one of the "stars" of the defense. It was all Jackson could do to earn honorable mention All-SEC status.
Still, he was solid all season as a shutdown cornerback, ran great times in the 40-yard dash and wound up being the fourth defender drafted from the league, going 20th overall to the Houston Texans.
Jackson is another one of those guys who wasn't highly recruited, either. He went to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy out of school even though he was qualified academically and was committed initially to Vanderbilt until Nick Saban and Alabama jumped on him.
Say this, too, for Jackson. He's supremely confident in his abilities. He turned pro this past season despite Saban telling him he needed another season of college ball.
As for guys who slipped, who would have thought at the end of the regular season last year that Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap wouldn't go in the first round?
At that point, he was being projected as a top 15 pick by all the analysts. But that next week, he was arrested on DUI charges, was suspended for the SEC championship game, and apparently some of his interviews with teams following the season didn't go well.
In Friday night's second and third rounds, one of the SEC guys to watch will be LSU defensive tackle Al Woods. After a so-so college career, Woods really shot up draft boards this offseason with solid workouts.
And who will be the first SEC player to get picked in the second round?
I'll go with Alabama's Terrence Cody, but my dark horse is Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster.
Here's the complete list of SEC first-rounders on Thursday:
- No. 5 -- S Eric Berry, Tennessee, Kansas City Chiefs
- No. 7 -- CB Joe Haden, Florida, Cleveland Browns
- No. 8 -- LB Rolando McClain, Alabama, Oakland Raiders
- No. 18 -- C/G Maurkice Pouncey, Florida, Pittsburgh Steelers
- No. 20 - CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama, Houston Texans
- No. 25 -- QB Tim Tebow, Florida, Denver Broncos
- No. 26 -- DT Dan Williams, Tennessee, Arizona Cardinals