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NFL draft's first round smiles on non-AQs

If you were looking for a sign that the nonautomatic qualifying conferences are catching up to everyone else, look no further than the first round of the NFL draft.

Four players from the nonautomatic qualifying conferences were picked in prime time last night matching the number of non-AQ players who were picked in 2005.

Six total players were picked from 2006 to 2009, including three in 2008.

Early Thursday via Twitter, I guessed that three players would go and maybe a fourth if certain positions and needs were up for grabs. I also thought that Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati would be the first non-AQ picked. Boise State fans rebuffed that claim and said cornerback Kyle Wilson would be the first non-AQ player taken.

Alas, we were both wrong.

So, if you were asleep, living in seclusion or in jail, here’s another look at the non-AQ players who were selected in the first round of the NFL draft:

No. 12: San Diego Chargers -- Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

No. 17: San Francisco 49ers -- Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho

No. 29: New York Jets -- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

No. 31: Indianapolis Colts -- Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU