For the 14th (yes, you read that correctly) year in a row, the SEC proved to the entire country why they are the gold standard for college football. At the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Southeastern Conference saw more players drafted than any other conference in the country – and it wasn’t close.
By the time Saturday evening came around and the last few picks were made, the SEC produced a total of 63 draft picks, 15 more than the next closest conference, the Big Ten. Through the first three rounds, the SEC’s dominance was even more clear. 40 of the first 106 picks came from the SEC, including one from Kentucky, Lynn Bowden Jr. (the ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten combined to produce just 37 picks in the first three rounds). 15 of the first 32 picks were also from SEC programs, setting an NFL record. 11 of the first 22 picks – that’s half of the draft! – were from SEC schools. LSU and Alabama, in particular, had enough players drafted to create their own All-Star team (18 of the first 87 picks were from those two programs).
Bowden was selected by the Las Vegas Raiders with the 80th pick of the third round, which meant that 13 of the 14 SEC schools (Ole Miss excluded) saw a player go in the first three rounds. Logan Stenberg went to the Detroit Lions in the fourth round with the 121st pick – the highest a former Wildcat offensive lineman has been drafted since Larry Warford went in the third round back in 2013.
The @SEC has now had the most draft picks in the following drafts in a row:
14 years in a row.
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) April 26, 2020
Most picks in 2020 NFL Draft by college & P5 conference:
Ohio State (10)
Big Ten (48)
Big 12 (21)
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) April 25, 2020
It’s not unusual to see the SEC dominate the NFL Draft. As previously mentioned, this was the 14th consecutive year the conference held the most draft picks. But without the usual pre-draft process, it felt like the SEC had an even higher advantage.
Our own Matt Jones said on KSR this past week that NFL franchises might be more willing to draft players from the SEC considering they could showcase recent film against the country’s top programs. Student-athletes from smaller, non-Power 5 programs didn’t have as much of an ability to stand out during the pre-draft process compared to past years. It would make sense that general managers elected to choose the player who dominated against the best college competition (the SEC) as opposed to going after a diamond in the rough.
While Kentucky only heard two former ‘Cats have their name called, three others signed undrafted free agent deals (Ahmad Wagner, Calvin Taylor Jr., and T.J. Carter). With so much talent on Mark Stoops’ current roster, it doesn’t feel like it will be long before Kentucky begins to bump up those overall SEC numbers. KSR’s Freddie Maggard believes we could see anywhere from 7-10 Wildcats taken in next year’s NFL Draft.
This Draft has been fun. Kentucky could have 7-10 players selected next year. #BBN
— Freddie Maggard (@FredMaggard606) April 25, 2020
There is going to be a year in the near future where the Kentucky football program produces more draft picks in one year than the basketball team. That alone should tell you all you need to know about what Mark Stoops and his staff have done in Lexington.