NFL Draft history: When was the last time every SEC team produced a top-10 pick?
Every SEC team has produced multiple first-round picks in the NFL Draft since 2000.
Even the juggernaut baseball school in Nashville.
So that’s not wildly notable. Drill down a bit farther, however, and the real talent producers begin to separate.
Here, then, is the most recent year that each SEC team produced a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Alabama: Take your pick (2021)
Technically, based entirely on the clock, DeVonta Smith is Alabama’s most recent top-10 pick. He was selected No. 10 overall last year — about 10 or so minutes after teammate Patrick Surtain went No. 9 and 40 or so minutes after Jaylen Waddle was taken with the No. 6 pick.
That trio is expected to get company Thursday night. Tackle Evan Neal is widely projected to go within the top-10 picks, perhaps the top 5.
Alabama has produced a top-10 pick 10 times in the past 13 drafts.
Arkansas: Darren McFadden (2008)
How fitting that the face of Arkansas football is also its most recent top-10 pick?
Hogs fans are still insisting that Run DMC should have won the 2007 Heisman.
Oakland took McFadden with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Auburn: Derrick Brown (2020)
Six Tigers have been taken in the top 10 this century, led by Cam Newton, the No. 1 pick in 2011.
Brown is the latest. He went No. 7 overall to Carolina in 2020. He promptly made the All-Rookie team and has become a fixture in the middle of the Panthers’ d-line.
Florida: Kyle Pitts (2021)
The Gators have produced 7 top-10 picks this century.
Pitts, the scheme-changing tight end, is the most recent and just missed being the highest. Atlanta took Pitts with the No. 4 pick. Two other Gators were taken at No. 3 — Dante Fowler in 2015 and Gerard Warren in 2001.
Georgia: Andrew Thomas (2020)
Eight Dawgs have been top-10 picks this century, including Matthew Stafford, who went No. 1 overall in 2009.
Will the Dawgs produce another No. 1 pick on Thursday? Time will tell, but many mocks are projecting the Jacksonville Jaguars to select Travon Walker.
Whether Walker goes No. 1 or a few spots later, he’ll add to Kirby Smart’s growing haul and become the Dawgs’ first top-10 pick since tackle Andrew Thomas went No. 4 overall in 2020.
Kentucky: Josh Allen (2019)
Tim Couch went No. 1 overall in 1999, so he just missed the cut for inclusion on this list.
The ‘Cats have produced 2 other top-10 picks since Couch.
Dewayne Robertson was selected No. 4 overall in 2003, and Josh Allen was taken with the 7th pick of the 2019 draft. Allen was a star from the jump, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2019. The Jaguars have until May 5 to determine whether to pick up his 5th-year option.
LSU: Ja’Marr Chase (2021)
The Tigers have produced 12 top-10 picks this century — including 2 QBs who went No. 1: JaMarcus Russell in 2007 and Joe Burrow in 2020.
Chase is the most recent to join the top-10 club. Cincinnati grabbed him with the No. 5 overall pick last year — and he and Burrow picked up where they left off, leading the Bengals to a spot in the Super Bowl.
Mississippi State: Turn back the clock …
In the history of Mississippi State football, only 5 Bulldog has been taken in the top 10.
The most recent: DT Jimmy Webb, whom Philadelphia selected at No. 10 in 1975.
Fletcher Cox (No. 12 in 2012) and Jeffery Simmons (No. 19 in 2019) have played like top-10 picks. Cox has made 6 Pro Bowls, and Simmons was just selected to his 1st in 2021.
Missouri: Blaine Gabbert (2011)
Here’s another one where the clock determines the winner.
Jacksonville traded up to grab Gabbert with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft. Teammate Aldon Smith went a bit earlier, to San Francisco at No. 7. Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and eventually ran into some serious off-field issues. He returned to the NFL in 2020. Gabbert struggled with the Jaguars (and elsewhere) but won a Super Bowl ring as Tom Brady’s backup in Tampa Bay.
Ole Miss: Eli Manning (2004)
Manning not only is the Rebels’ most recent top-10 pick, he’s also the only player in program history to be selected No. 1 overall.
(Patrick Willis, a 7-time Pro Bowler, was selected No. 11 overall in 2007. Clearly, several of the 10 teams above San Francisco would like a do-over on that one.)
South Carolina: Jaycee Horn (2021)
The Gamecocks have produced 5 top-10 picks this century, including Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.
Last year, Horn (No. 8 overall) became the 3rd SC DB taken in the top 10 this century, joining Stephon Gilmore (2012) and Dunta Robinson (2004).
Tennessee: Eric Berry (2010)
Tennessee’s fight to get back on top of the SEC mirrors its relative lack of top-10 draft picks.
The Vols have only produced 4 top-10 picks since Peyton Manning went No. 1 overall in 1998. One of those was Manning’s teammate, Jamal Lewis, who went No. 5 overall in 2000.
That means only 2 Vols who played in the 2000s have gone on to become top-10 picks — and none since Berry was taken No. 5 overall in 2010.
Texas A&M: Myles Garrett (2017)
Myles Garrett went No. 1 overall in 2017, the only Aggie to hold that honor.
Jimbo Fisher has yet to produce a top-10 pick, though he certainly is recruiting at a level that suggests Garrett won’t hold the “most recent” title too much longer.
The bigger issue is Garrett also represents the Aggies’ most recent 1st-round pick.
Vanderbilt: Turn back the clock …
Vanderbilt has produced 4 top-10 picks, but none since DB Leonard Coleman went No. 8 overall in 1984.
Jay Cutler came close, though. Denver drafted Cutler with the No. 11 pick in 2006. The Broncos gave up on Cutler too soon, trading him to Chicago after just 3 seasons. Cutler remained unafraid to throw into triple coverage, but he led the Bears to an NFC Championship Game appearance.