- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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A few things I found interesting when updating college conference affiliations for NFL draft choices in the draft file I maintain:
Alex Smith was the only first-round quarterback from a current Mountain West team from 2000 to 2009.
His 49ers teammate, David Carr, was the only first-round quarterback from a current WAC team during the same period.
The Mountain West and WAC aren't the most acclaimed conferences for college football, but get this: The Big Ten produced no first-round quarterbacks during the first 10 drafts of the 2000s. Drew Brees came close, but he was the first pick of the second round.
Sixteen of the 26 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2000 came from teams currently affiliated with the SEC (six), Pac-10 (six) or Conference-USA (four).
Eight of the 26 have been named to a Pro Bowl: two from the ACC (Philip Rivers, Michael Vick), two from the Pac-10 (Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers), two from the SEC (Jay Cutler, Eli Manning), one from the Big 12 (Vince Young) and one from the MAC (Ben Roethlisberger). The ACC list could grow in the near future thanks to Matt Ryan.
A quick look at NFC West quarterbacks, regardless of draft status, and which conferences their college teams call home:
Great Northwest (Division II): Mike Reilly
Lone Star (Division II): Keith Null
MAC: Nate Davis
Missouri Valley (Division I-AA): Kurt Warner (retiring but still on roster)
Mountain West: Smith
The chart below breaks down first-round picks from 2000 through 2009 by position and current conference affiliation. Some defensive linemen turned into outside linebackers in the NFL (Calvin Pace, for example). I've left college positions in place.
NFL teams made 317 first-round selections from 2000 to 2009. This includes 32 every year except for 2000 and 2001, when the league had 31 teams, and 2008, when the Patriots forfeited their first-round choice.
First-round picks: 2000-2009