Every year, a new slate of SEC stars gets chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft. This year was no exception with a dozen SEC first-round picks entering the league. Doubtlessly, some will boom and others will bust. If you doubt either point, then we’re going to show a best and worst first-rounder from each SEC squad’s last 20 years.
Alabama (25 first-round picks in last 20 years)
Best: Julio Jones (6th overall, 2011). Jones has already been chosen first-team all-pro twice and figures to be back more often. This gets him the nod over Shaun Alexander or Chris Samuels (both 2000 first-round picks).
Worst: Dee Milliner (9th overall, 2013). Milliner started only 14 games and lasted just three seasons in the league despite being a top 10 pick.
Best: Shawn Andrews (16th overall, 2004). Andrews made two Pro Bowls as a lineman with the Eagles, which earns him the nod. No other first-round Hog over the past two decades has made a Pro Bowl appearance — and Arkansas hasn’t had a first-round pick since 2008.
Worst: Matt Jones (21st overall, 2005). A combine warrior who was a QB at Arkansas, Jones was an underwhelming NFL wide receiver who never panned out.
Best: Cam Newton (1st overall, 2011). Newton has already been first-team all-pro and selected for three Pro Bowls. LB Takeo Spikes (1998) was a close second choice.
Worst: Nick Fairley (13th overall, 2011). Fairley hasn’t been a terrible NFL defensive tackle and is still active (Saints), but he has failed to shine as a pro. RB Cadillac Williams had a disappointing career after breaking 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie.
Best: Maurkice Pouncey (18th overall, 2010). Pouncey has been a two-time first-team all-pro and has been chosen for five Pro Bowl appearances as an offensive lineman. A solid second was DE Jevon Kearse (1999).
Worst: Reggie McGrew (24th overall, 1999). McGrew’s career totals include just nine tackles and one sack. That even surpasses Jarvis Moss (2007) and Tim Tebow (2010) on the bottom of the list.
Best: Champ Bailey (7th overall, 1999). Bailey not only was a three-time first-team all-pro pick, he also was chosen for a dozen Pro Bowls. He’s a future Hall of Famer, which is the only way he was picked over Richard Seymour (2001), who was almost as good for almost as long.
Worst: David Pollack (17th overall, 2005). It wasn’t really Pollack’s fault, as injuries limited him to 16 games played in the NFL, with a career total of 22 tackles.
Best: Tim Couch (1st overall, 1999). Couch passed for over 11,000 yards and 64 touchdowns for some morbid Cleveland teams that got his career ended quickly. Dewayne Robertson (2003) was a similarly solid, if uninspiring NFL player.
Worst: Bud Dupree (22nd overall, 2015). No offense to Dupree, who could easily end up best on this list. But he missed much of the 2016 season, and hasn’t yet equaled the other two picks.
Best: Alan Faneca (26th overall, 1998). Faneca isn’t a glamorous pick, but the big lineman was a six-time first-team all-pro selection and made nine Pro Bowls. CB Patrick Peterson (2011) is another Tigers’ NFL standout.
Worst: Craig Davis (30th overall, 2007). Davis caught 51 passes in four NFL seasons, production so minimal that he bypassed JaMarcus Russell (2007) on this list.
Best: Patrick Willis (11th overall, 2007). Sorry, Eli, Willis and his five first-team all-pro selections makes him the best. Pretty good QB from 2004 in the second spot — much like in his family tree.
Worst: John Avery (29th overall, 1998). Some of the recent Rebels might end up here, but they’re young and still active. Avery rushed for 524 yards in his NFL career, with 503 of those coming in his rookie season.
Mississippi State (2)
Best: Fletcher Cox (12th overall, 2012). Cox has been a five-year starter who earned two Pro Bowl appearances, which gets him the nod.
Worst: Derrick Sherrod (32nd overall, 2011). On the other hand, Sherrod only started one NFL game and is already out of the league.
Best: Justin Smith (4th overall, 2001). Smith had 87 career sacks and made the Pro Bowl five times, which makes him the best Tiger on this list by a decent margin.
Worst: Sean Weatherspoon (19th overall, 2010). Weatherspoon is still active as a linebacker for the Falcons, but his best days look to be behind him, and he only had two full seasons as a starter.
South Carolina (7)
Best: John Abraham (13th overall, 2000). Jadeveon Clowney may eventually hold this spot, but for now, Abraham, with his five Pro Bowl selections and 133.5 career sacks, gets the nod.
Worst: Troy Williamson (7th overall, 2005). Williamson ended up with 87 career catches, a poor number for a top 10 choice.
Best: Peyton Manning (1st overall, 1998). Possibly the GOAT, definitely the GOTLTDFUTWWCITFR (Greatest of The Last Two Decades From UT Who Was Chosen in the First Round). Career totals include over 70,000 yards, over 500 touchdowns, two rings. Next stop, Canton.
Worst: Marcus Nash (30th overall, 1998). He caught a grand total of four NFL passes. Otherwise, Justin Harrell (2007) and his 18 career tackles would get this spot.
Texas A&M (11)
Best: Von Miller (2nd overall, 2011). Miller already has 73.5 career sacks and five Pro Bowl appearances. He’s the leader in the clubhouse by a solid mile, and Myles Garrett has his work cut out.
Worst: Johnny Manziel (above) (22nd overall, 2014). Eight starts, seven career touchdowns, and a ton of headlines for horrid off-field behavior. What a train wreck.
Best: Jay Cutler (11th overall, 2006). He did make a Pro Bowl once, and has somehow passed for over 30,000 yards and 200 touchdowns.
Worst: Chris Williams (14th overall, 2008). A competent player, but the offensive lineman had a much shorter career than Cutler and not a particularly distinguished one.