33 from SEC were plucked in NFL draft

Four of top 10 selections came from league - most in country

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Photo with no caption

Another NFL draft came and went, and another crop of SEC players went off to the professional ranks.

And when it comes to producing future pros, the SEC is again near the top of the heap.

The SEC had 33 players among the 252 selected this weekend, tied with the ACC for second behind the Pac-10's 34.

The ACC had seven first-round picks, ahead of the SEC and Pac-10, which each had six.

And that qualifies as a pretty average year for the SEC, which had 11 first-round selections a year ago.

Still, the SEC led the way with four picks in the top 10 - double the Pac-10, Big Ten and ACC's total - including Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo. Add Vanderbilt offensive lineman Chris Williams at No. 14 overall, and one third of the first 15 picks played in the SEC.

It's no surprise to Mayo, who went 10th overall to the New England Patriots.

"That's pretty much the minor leagues for the NFL," Mayo said of the SEC.

The same can be said for most of the six BCS conferences, which combined to produce 174 of the 252 picks and 26 of 31 first-round players.

Level of competition was a major factor for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in selecting Mayo, the first time he's drafted a linebacker higher than the fifth round since becoming New England's head coach in 2000.

"That is a top conference and it's against a lot of good players," Belichick said Saturday. "The (Darren) McFaddens, the Georgias and the Floridas. They play a lot of good football teams, and I don't think you have a problem finding him (Mayo) in any of those years in any of those games. He was there for all of them."

LSU is the league's gold standard of late when it comes to producing pros.

The Tigers have had a player selected in the first round for each of the last five years, and had four players picked in the first round of last year's draft, including No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.

Pedigree was important as well for the Kansas City Chiefs, which took LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the fifth overall pick, the second year they've taken an LSU player in the first round.

"All those things, with the fact that he comes out of a program that knows how to win, are important too," Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said. "(Former LSU receiver) Dwayne Bowe came out of the same program and they know how to win. You want to get players like that. He played in big games and won a national championship, so I think those things factor in, too, to the type of players you are trying to bring in."

Of the 12 SEC schools, Arkansas and LSU led the way with six players picked, and the Razorbacks had two first-rounders in Darren McFadden (4th overall to Oakland) and Felix Jones (22nd to Dallas).

Auburn had the second-most players picked with five, followed by Georgia (4), Kentucky (4), Tennessee (3), Vanderbilt (3), Florida (2) and South Carolina (1). Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State did not have a player selected.

Free Agent Signings: In addition to the three players drafted, at least five UT players signed free-agent contracts following this weekend's NFL draft.

Defensive back Jonathan Hefney signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and offensive lineman Eric Young signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Both will attend rookie mini-camps this weekend, however Young will not be able to participate because of continuing rehab on his knee.

The 5-foot-9 Hefney was projected by many as a second-day pick in the draft, however size concerns likely kept him from being among the 252 players selected.

Also signing free-agent deals following the draft were tight end Chris Brown (Jacksonville), defensive end Antonio Reynolds (New York Giants) and defensive end Xavier Mitchell (Cleveland).

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 10

48orangenation48 writes:

Mayo, i feel sorry for you. Hopefully New England will trade you to a team that is a better fit. You just aren't the type that cheats.

BluetickBlues writes:

Gotta be happy for Mayo. He will win championships and learn from the best linebackers and coaches in the game.

bobo_the_vol writes:

I am going to go ahead and toot the horn of my school, Appalachian State.

Appy State got 2 more players drafted than Alabama. Hellz yeah!!

Though I was surprised Corey Lynch (SS) got drafted. He did win the D1-AA Defensive Player of the Year two years ago but he's kind of like the Tyler Hansboro of App's Defense. A great college player but never expected to do as much in the pros. Still, it's good to have God on your side, isn't it? He's dating the granddaughter of Billy Graham!!

You guys might remember Corey Lynch from the REAL gamechanging play of the year (no matter what ESPN says, the fools), his blocked kick to seal the 34-32 victory over Michigan. In games which Corey Lynch got an interception, App State was 22-0.

The other App State player taken was Dexter Jackson in the second round by Tampa Bay. Jackson was officially recorded as running a 4.33 40 yard at the NFL combine.

Oh, and we are still l-o-a-d-e-d. 4peat!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

VolnDothan 8:50, you're a better man than I am. I'd be afraid they'd simply say 41-17.

Know how you feel though, lived in Ga for many years. If I never hear - Woof-woof, again, it'll be fine.

iowavol writes:

The thing that surprised me was the number of players from both Georgia and Florida (as well as LSU) available for the draft. Both of them lost a lot of players. Starters or not, they were at least good practice fodder.

TommyJack writes:

bobo_vol: Y'all got any spare D linemen?

TommyJack writes:

IndianaVol: And they WAXED us unmercifully anyway...What does that mean? Just curious.

Vol13 writes:

I wouldn't be laughing too much at Bama. Get a good glance at LSU's current roster because in 4-5 years that is what Bama's is going to look like. Saban didn't recruit all of the Bama players that failed to get drafted.

Plus, they beat the living phooey out of us this year with a bunch of nobody's for the most part. That was probably the worst Bama team we'll face in the Saban era.

Vol13 writes:

UTfan4life:

I can't say that I agree with you on Bama. Saban can take a backup QB and TB and beat a UT team that lost 1 game all year (up to that point) by double digits in the SECC game. He can also suspend 4 starters the morning of the game and beat our once-again superior team by three TD's plus.

Not picking on you, but that seems to be the battle cry for Vol fans regarding coaches who are superior to Fulmer/UT. I remember when Spurrier was at Florida, every year UT fans were wishing that he'd go to the NFL and he finally did. All I have heard about Richt for several years is that he would bolt for FSU when Bowden retires. We won't beat Meyer as long as he is at UF with his scheme and all the talent to maximize it. Yet, I hear UT fans weekly try to convince themselves that he wants to give the NFL a try. And now the mantra is that Saban will never stay at Bama long. It's comical for non-biased observers and makes us look scared to play people when they are at their best. It seems like we are always looking for easy street as a fanbase. You know some people (and coaches) like pressure and thrive when the heat is on.

philfan writes:

The title of this article should be, 35 from SEC were plucked in NFL draft. The number of players from each team were LSU 7, Arkansas 6, Auburn 5, Georgia 4, Kentucky 4, Tennessee 3, Vandy 3, Florida 2, and South Carolina 1. This would make the SEC # 1, the PAC-10 #2 at 34, and the ACC #3 with 33 (assuming the PAC-10 and ACC data are correct). Drew Edwards writes good articles, but he made a big mistake this time. Someone help me with by going to:
http://www.secsports.com/index.php?s=...

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