Monday, May 2, 2011
Champs not well represented in draft
By Edward Aschoff
By hoisting the crystal football in January, Auburn cemented itself as the best team college football last fall. The Tigers went undefeated in the nation's toughest conference (the SEC) and brought home a national championship.
There was a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Cam Newton, a freak of a defensive tackle in Nick Fairley and four All-SEC selections from the 2010 team.
But after looking at how the Tigers did in the NFL draft this weekend, it's hard to argue that last year's team relied on Newton more than people thought. And that says a lot.
Despite having a senior-laden team (and returning only six starters this spring), the Tigers weren't well represented in this year's NFL draft. Outside of Newton going first overall to the Carolina Panthers and Fairley going 13th to the Detroit Lions, Auburn's only other two draft selections came in the seventh round. Defensive tackle Zach Clayton went to the Tennessee Titans with pick No. 212 and offensive tackle Lee Ziemba went 244th to the Panthers.
Auburn's BCS opponent, Oregon, produced just one draft selection this year: linebacker Casey Matthews, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Florida had just three players drafted -- wide receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy, and tight end Cornelius Ingram -- in the 2009 NFL draft following the Gators' Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma, but returned a majority of that team for the 2009 season.
Oklahoma had the lowest amount of draft selections for a defending champ since 2000, with just two draftees -- linebacker Torrance Marshall and quarterback Josh Heupel -- in 2001.
The SEC's seven national champions since 2000 have produced 37 draft picks, with LSU leading the way with 14 of those selections and Florida having a SEC-high nine selections in the 2007 draft.