SEC looks to extend streak of having most NFL Draft picks

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Like many other categories of college football, the SEC is on track to lead the sport next month with the most NFL draftees for the 11th consecutive year.

While the ACC popped up two years ago to come within seven of the SEC, and conference nemesis Ohio State had a strong showing last year, the conference as a whole has held its own through all seven rounds and 256 picks.

Last year, the conference led the country with 51 picks, and in 2015, the SEC had 54 players drafted.

This year, projections suggest that the SEC will have at least 50 players drafted, as CBSSports.com lists 52 SEC players among the top 256 prospects.

The league also has a chance to break the record of 12 first-round picks from a conference, set by the ACC in 2006 and tied by the SEC in 2013. Several mock drafts have the SEC with nearly half the picks in the first round.

The easiest projections are first-rounders, especially near the top with Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Others near the top include Florida cornerback Jalen Tabor, LSU safety Jamal Adams, Alabama linebackers Tim Williams and Reuben Foster, Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

But after that group of 10 players is where depth kicks in, as CBS lists 18 players from the SEC from No. 31 through 100, including the likes of Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard and Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson.

Beyond that, NFL.com lists three more SEC players in the top five of their position, including Caleb Brantley, a Florida defensive tackle, Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson and Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis.

In the next tier, look for the likes of Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson and Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.

Injury questions will no doubt enter into decisions late in the draft for Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly and Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

There are several players on the bubble who may be coveted free agents, or wild card additions late, including Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, Georgia return specialist Isaiah McKenzie and Mississippi State receiver Fred Ross.

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