SEC figures to dominate draft as usual

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When the 2019 NFL Draft culminates on Saturday, there is a distinct possibility that more than a quarter of the 254 players picked will have come from the Southeastern Conference.

There are 64 SEC players among the top 250 prospects listed by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.

If those predictions are accurate, the SEC will break its own modern-day draft record (63 in 2013) for players selected from one conference.

While last year the SEC didn’t get on the board until the eighth pick (Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith), it will be quicker out of the gate this week.

ESPN’s Todd McShay, one of the most reliable draft prognosticators, lists three SEC players — Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen and inside linebacker Devin White of LSU — among his top four prospects. Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa is McShay’s No. 1 overall prospect.

This dominance is nothing new. The SEC has finished with the most picks of any conference 12 years in a row. In its record 2013 draft, the SEC had more than twice as many players selected as the second-place conference (the ACC with 31). The ACC had 51 players picked in the 2006 draft, the last time the SEC didn’t hold the top spot — it was third with 37 that year.

The SEC (53 players selected) and ACC (46) were 1-2 in 2018, besting the Big Ten (32), Pac-12 (30) and Big 12 (20).

NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt includes five players from the SEC in his 2019 top 10. In addition to the three tabbed by McShay, Brandt has Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat (No. 5) and Alabama guard Jonah Williams (9) on his list.

On McShay’s list, the SEC has 12 of the top 25 prospects and 18 of the top 50. The Big Ten’s crop, led by Bosa, is second with nine top-50 selections. Eight different SEC schools could have players selected in Thursday’s first round.

Among the programs with multiple top-250 players, Alabama leads the nation with 11 draft prospects, followed by Ohio State with 10, Georgia with nine, Clemson with eight, and Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Boston College all with seven.

The Crimson Tide is a lock to have a player selected in the first round for the 11th straight year. Miami holds the record for consecutive drafts with a first-rounder with 14 from 1995-2008. Alabama this weekend will add to its all-time total of 60 players — including 26 in the past 10 years — taken in the first round.

Among the other Power 5 conferences heading into this weekend’s draft, the Big Ten is second with 41 players in Scouts’ top 250, followed by the ACC (36), Pac-12 (29) and Big 12 (25).

 

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About the Author

Ched Whitney

Ched Whitney has been a journalist in Las Vegas since 1994. He worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 18 years, where he was the paper’s art director for 12. Since becoming a freelancer in 2012, his work has appeared at ESPN.com, AOL, The Seattle Times and UNLV Magazine, among others. ​

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