The NFL draft represents a transition from the college ranks to the NFL, but make no mistake about it, college pride is a big deal among fans. Here are some college-related notes to keep in mind while watching this week.
There is little doubt that Alabama has ruled the NFL draft lately. From 2010 to 2014, the Crimson Tide had 15 first-round picks, more than double the next-closest school (Florida, seven).
But Florida State has challenged Alabama for draft supremacy lately -- and that makes sense, given the Seminoles won the 2013 national championship and reached the College Football Playoff this year. In the last two years, Florida State has a national-best eight picks in the first two rounds. From 2006 through 2012, Florida State had a total of nine.
Alabama’s draft success is a microcosm of the SEC’s as a whole. From 2009 to 2014, the SEC had 23 players selected in the top 10. In that span, the Big Ten didn't have one player selected in the top 10. The last time the Big Ten had a top-10 pick was 2008: Jake Long (No. 1) and Vernon Gholston (No. 6).
Miami has had a prolonged first-round drought. The Hurricanes' last first-round pick was in 2008. Since then, Illinois has had four first-round picks, Boise State and Rutgers three each, and Northern Illinois and Syracuse two each.
Remember, this was a Miami program that had at least one first-round pick every year from 1995 to 2008 and didn’t go three years without a first-round pick since the 1968-72 period before this six-year drought. Ereck Flowers, Denzel Perryman or Phillip Dorsett could end that drought Thursday night.
There is another Florida school, however, that has had a sneaky-good run in the draft lately. Central Florida has had a player selected for nine consecutive years -- a streak that began with wide receiver Brandon Marshall in 2006 (fourth round). And it’s a streak that is expected to reach 10 this year with Breshad Perriman.
Twenty-nine other schools have had at least one player selected in each of those nine drafts, but among those that haven't: Alabama (zero selections in 2008), Texas (zero in 2014) and Texas A&M (zero in 2007).
Looking back to the start of the common draft (since 1967), six schools have had a player drafted every year: Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Tennessee and USC. Tennessee’s streak appears to be in jeopardy. The Volunteers’ best prospect is defensive back Justin Coleman (No. 168, according to Scouts Inc.).
One of the main reasons Jim Harbaugh is coach at Michigan is because of the lack of talent the Wolverines have had lately. Michigan has not had a wide receiver or a running back taken in the first four rounds since receiver Mario Manningham was selected in the third round in 2008. From the 2007 through the 2014 drafts (eight years), Manningham was the only Michigan running back or wide receiver taken in the first four rounds. Devin Funchess should stop that slide.
Pac-12 champion Oregon will probably have two first-round picks this year and could have three. Oregon had two in 2013, meaning the Ducks probably will have had four first-round picks in the last three drafts. From 1997 to 2012 -- a span of 16 drafts -- Oregon had a total of four first-round picks.
Absent from any mention above is national champion Ohio State. And that’s bad news for the rest of the college football world in 2015. Wide receiver Devin Smith is expected to be the highest Buckeyes player selected this week.