Your mock draft is scrambled, and it was a great night for everyone who roots against them. The NFL Draft’s first round delivered some surprises.
Here are a few takeaways of note:
One short of the record: The SEC’s first-round record was 12 set last year. The conference fell one pick shy of it, but 11 picks were more than many had in their mock drafts. Of the SEC’s 11 different picks, the SEC West had eight of them, but the East had the first overall pick in Jadeveon Clowney.
Here’s a look at all the SEC picks:
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (Houston Texans)
2. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (St. Louis Rams)
6. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (Atlanta Falcons)
7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
12. Odell Beckham, WR, LSU (New York Giants)
17. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (Baltimore Ravens)
19. Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee (Miami Dolphins)
21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (Green Bay Packers)
22. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (Cleveland Browns)
23. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn (Kansas City Chiefs)
29. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida (New England Patriots)
Passing league: As if you needed more evidence, the passing game rules the NFL. Of the 32 first-round picks, 18 of them were associated with the passing game with three quarterbacks, five wide receivers, one tight end and nine defensive backs. For dynamic athletes in high school who have a decision to play either corner, safety or running back, which way do you think they’ll lean in the future? The life of an NFL running back is so short, but the lifespan of corners and safeties is much longer. The NFL game rules tilt toward the passing game, and that ultimately affects how teams draft and could help affect prospects focussing on positions that will keep them in the league the longest.
Breakdown by conference: The SEC had more first-round picks than any conference again, and the next closest was the ACC with five. After producing top 10 picks from 2003-08, the Big Ten hasn’t had a top 10 pick for six straight years. That’s an amazing stat. Here’s a breakdown by conference, with the aforementioned SEC West having eight of the 11:
- SEC (11)
- ACC (5)
- AAC (4)
- Big Ten (4)
- Pac-12 (3)
- Big 12 (2)
- MAC (2)
- Independent (1)
No running backs: For the second straight year, no running back was taken in the first round. Several thought LSU running back Jeremy Hill had a chance to sneak into the bottom of the first round, as did Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde; however, it didn’t happen, and the game is a big passing league. Jeremy Hill or Tre Mason: Who comes off the board first tonight?
Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt: That’s a scary duo for quarterbacks to contend with and a nightmare for offensive coordinators to worry about. Houston announced Clowney would wear No. 90.
Johnny Cleveland: A few teams put out smoke screens surrounding Johnny Manziel. St. Louis is the one, and they had a chance to take him at No. 13, but they just weren’t interested. In fact, the Rams passed on him twice. So, Cleveland traded up to get him at No 22. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio said the Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam drafted Manziel because a homeless person told him to. Fake story? Maybe, but it makes for a hell of a headline. For the first time, I have an excuse to watch the Cleveland Browns.
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Southern States: Eight of the 32 first-round picks are Florida natives. Texas, California and Georgia were all tied with four picks each. Alabama had three and Louisiana had two picks. Do you think high school football in the south is the real deal? The first-round numbers don’t lie.
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports