Not sound like a broken record, but for the 11th year in a row, the SEC led all conferences with 53 players selected at the 2017 draft. That’s actually up a couple of picks from last year when the conference led the way with 51 picks. In fact, it wasn’t all that close this year with the ACC trailing in second place with 43 picks, while the Pac-12 had 36 and the BIG-10 35. As well, one of the big stories of the 2017 draft was the fact that the Big XII almost disappeared with just 14 players selected. That was actually less than non-power 5 American Athletic Conference which had 15, and just a couple more than the MAC which had 12. Meanwhile, Conference-USA had 9 players selected, while the Mountain West had 8 and the Sun Belt 5. There were also 3 picks from the independents including two from Notre Dame and one from BYU.
The SEC’s run to the top of the conference again this year was led by Alabama which had a record 10 players selected including 4 in the opening round. In fact, it was a record setting weekend for the Tide which also had more players selected in both the first 55 picks (7) and the first 80 picks (9) than any school in the draft’s long history. If there was a downer for Alabama at this year’s draft, though, it may have been that the fact that Alabama had 3 players rated as legitimate top ten prospects but none went in the top half of the opening round. And while, Alabama was setting all sorts of records, it was actually Michigan that snuck up in the later rounds and actually had the most players selected of any school with 11. Meanwhile, Miami was something of a surprise third-place finisher with 9 picks, followed by Florida, LSU and Utah with 8 each, Ohio State with 7, and national champion Clemson, Tennessee and North Carolina with 6 each. Here is the full list of picks by school at this year’s draft.
One notable program not on the list this year is Oregon which did not have a player taken at the draft for the first time in 40 years. That from a program that three players taken in the past two drafts and 5 in the past four years. Meanwhile, other big-time programs that pretty much had the weekend off included Texas, Georgia, Penn State, and Nebraska each of which had just one player selected this year.
Despite the down years from several of those big-name football factories, the overall draft was still pretty much dominated by FBS schools. Indeed, 92% of all players selected at this year’s were from FBS programs. In fact, the Power 5 conferences (plus Notre Dame) accounting for just over 70% of all picks this year. At the same time, though, the lower levels weren’t totally shut out. Indeed, 21 players – close to 10% of the total – from lower-level divisions were selected this past weekend.And while that was four less than in 2016, players from outside the ranks of FBS schools made up a bigger share of premium picks than in previous years. In fact, in most recent years, FBS players made up just about all players taken with top 100 picks. This year, though, a half dozen non-FBS players were selected within the first three years.
The first non-FBS player taken this year was Ashland TE Adam Shaheen who was selected 45th overall by Chicago, while Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon was taken in later in the second round by Kansas City. Villanova actually had a second player selected this year when Tennessee took OT Brad Seaton in the 7th r7th round. Meanwhile, other non-FBS programs with multiple picks (and by definition more than Texas, Georgia, Penn State, Nebraska and Oregon) included West Georgia, Eastern Washington and Youngstown State.