Rough draft

Terry Bowden
Yahoo! Sports

The NFL draft is over, and it's time to determine which college football teams had the best day in the draft. On first thought, that would be quite easy simply looking to see which teams had the most players drafted. However, we must give each draft choice a value based on the round in which they were drafted to get a more realistic picture of who actually had the best draft class.

Because having a player drafted in the first round is more valuable than having a player drafted in the seventh round, I have given each round a relative value. A first-rounder gets a value of seven, a second-rounder six, all the way down to a seventh-rounder, which gets one. I call these power points. When they are added together they should give us a more realistic picture of which team had the best draft class based on the quality of those players drafted.

So, let's take a look at the top 10 teams in college football based on the NFL draft:

Team AP rank Record Draft picks Power points
1. Ohio St. #4 10-2 9 53
2. USC #2 12-1 11 52
3. Miami, Fla. #17 9-3 9 46
4. Florida St. #23 8-5 8 43
5t. N.C. State NR 7-5 6 29
5t. Texas #1 13-0 6 29
7. LSU #6 11-2 7 28
8. Virginia Tech #7 11-2 9 26
9t. Georgia #10 10-3 7 24
9t. Oklahoma #22 8-4 5 24

Everybody likes to brag about which teams and which conferences have the best players. We spend countless hours following high school recruiting to determine who has the best players. However, this is based too much on the potential of high school seniors and not on how talented they actually become in college. It is much more realistic to look at which players ultimately get drafted into the NFL. Most coaches will tell you that you win with talent – more specifically, veteran talent. Well, because the NFL only drafts only juniors and seniors, the draft should tell us which teams had the most talented and experienced players.

Now, we can make some interesting observations about the most talented teams in college football and what that means – or should mean.

First of all, when you look at the championship game between USC and Texas and you compare the NFL talent on both sides of the ball, the Trojans should have been able to win that game. They had 11 players drafted by the NFL compared to six for Texas, and more importantly they outscored Texas 52 to 29 in power points. Throw in the fact that they have not one but two Heisman Trophy winners in their backfield, and Mack Brown and his Longhorns deserve even more credit.

Ohio State, USC, Texas, LSU, Virginia Tech and Georgia all had the kind of years that you would expect with the veteran talent that they had. They all had top-10 finishes in the NFL draft and top-10 finishes in the final AP college football poll.

However, what happened to Miami, Florida State and Oklahoma? It appears that each of these teams greatly underachieved last year. I have heard people say that FSU and Miami aren't getting the great players like they used to, but this obviously isn't true. Regardless, most fans will agree that all three powerhouses had disappointing years.

Then there is the enigma that is North Carolina State. The Wolfpack had the fifth-best year in the NFL draft and didn't even end the season in the AP top 25. I have studied the draft for the past several years, and let me say that it is quite unusual for NC State to be in the NFL draft top 10. If you look at every other team that made it you will see that they are all perennially top-10 football teams, and year in and year out have the most players drafted in the NFL.

So as good as Chuck Amato is at recruiting, and yes, the old defensive line coach did have three defensive linemen drafted in the first round, I don't think this will be an every-year occurrence for the Wolfpack. If State is going to continue to have such great days in the draft, it needs to win more than seven games.

Other interesting observations from the NFL draft:

  • Penn State and Alabama finished in the AP top 10 and just barely failed to make the NFL draft top 10, finishing No. 12 and No. 11, respectively.
  • Notre Dame finished the season ranked No. 9 but failed to make the top 25 in the draft, with only three players drafted. Charlie Weis has proved he can coach 'em up, now he has to prove he can recruit 'em up.
  • Is there any doubt Rich Rodriquez of West by God' Virginia did the best job of coaching in the country last year? He went 11-1, beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and had only one player taken in the NFL draft (in the sixth round).
  • Not to alarm anyone, but shouldn't it concern someone that Michigan had no players drafted on the first day of the NFL draft and Ohio State had five taken in the first round?

Incidentally, which Michigan team did have the best day in the NFL draft? That would be Western Michigan with two second-round picks and 12 power points.

  • Man, have things changed in the talent department at Washington. Only one Husky player was drafted, in the fifth round. I bet Rick Neuheisel would not have let that happen if he was still there. Did I say bet? Never mind.
  • The state of Mississippi has some of the best football players in the country. However, only two players were drafted from the three state universities, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Where are Billy Brewer and Jackie Sherrill when you need them?
  • Finally, special recognition goes out to Division I-AA Hofstra, which had two players drafted into the NFL.

Stay tuned, as we next take a look at which conferences did the best in the NFL draft.