Right before the Eagles NFL Draft, I heard an interesting suggestion on the radio.
“The Eagles should just draft SEC players.”
I’m not sure if the comment was made in jest but given the dominance of the Southeastern Conference, it sounded like not just a good idea but a plan.
The SEC has dominated college football in the 2000s like no other conference. Since 2006, SEC teams won 12 of 16 national championships. Alabama won six of them.
With such success, it’s not surprising that SEC players are being drafted as an astonishing rate.
In the 2022 draft, a record-tying 65 SEC players were drafted, led by a record 15 from national champion Georgia. The Eagles joined the party by selecting two from Georgia: No. 1 pick Jordan Davis (13th overall) and third-rounder Nakobe Dean.
“It’s rare that you get two guys from the same team on a team, just because there’s so many teams picking, 32 teams,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said at a news conference after the draft. “We’re definitely excited, in many different ways. You go to a new place and you have a familiar face to be able to talk to.”
Six SEC players were taken in the top 13 selections — nearly half.
The Big Ten had the second-most number of players picked in the 2022 draft with 48. The Big 12 and Pac-12 each had 25. The fifth Power 5 conference, the ACC, had 21, followed by the AAC with 19.
Alabama Draft Domination For More Than A Decade
Alabama has had a first-round selection in a record-tying 14 consecutive years. That tied Miami, which once was known as a football powerhouse and was an actual football powerhouse.
The SEC has led all conferences in total draft picks for 16 consecutive years.
On the Eagles’ current 90-man roster, there are 15 SEC players, including many starters and impact players:
- Derek Barnett, Tennessee
- A.J. Brown, Mississippi
- Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
- Jordan Davis, Georgia
- Nakobe Dean, Georgia
- Landon Dickerson, Alabama
- Jack Driscoll, Auburn
- Josh Hammond, Florida
- Josh Jobe, Alabama
- Jared Mayden, Alabama
- Arryn Siposs, Auburn
- Darius Slay, Mississippi State
- DeVonta Smith, Alabama
- JaCoby Stevens, LSU
- Kary Vincent Jr., LSU
Of course, starting quarterback Jalen Hurts played three seasons at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma for his final year.
The Eagles have 11 players from the Pac-12 and 11 from the Big 12 on the roster. The roster will be cut to 53 players before the regular season with a maximum of 16 players permitted on the practice squad.
Here’s more evidence about the SEC’s football dominance: There were 109 more SEC players in the NFL than runner-up Big Ten players at the beginning of the 2021 season.
Here is the breakdown by conference of the 53-man rosters at the start of the 2021 season:
- SEC: 335
- Big Ten: 226
- ACC: 208
- Pac-12: 159
- Big 12: 138
- American: 84
- Conference USA: 53
- Mountain West: 52
- Independent: 52
Here are the top 11, by school, on 53-man rosters at the beginning of the 2021 season:
- Alabama: 53
- Ohio State: 47
- LSU: 46
- Georgia: 35
- Notre Dame: 34
- Clemson: 33
- Iowa: 33
- Florida: 32
- Michigan: 32
- Oklahoma: 31
- Penn State: 31
The SEC had the most players in February’s Super Bowl between the Rams and Bengals. Here is the breakdown by Power Five conferences:
- SEC: 25
- Big Ten: 21
- ACC: 14
- Pac-12: 12
- Big 12: 11
Florida and LSU had the most players with five each. Georgia had four and Alabama had three.
Both starting quarterbacks were from SEC schools — the Rams’ Matthew Stafford (Georgia) and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow (LSU).
With all this star power, there was an interesting detail about the Super Bowl. Two University of Delaware players played in the game. Rams linebacker Troy Reeder had two tackles and played 34 percent of the defensive snaps. Bengals nose tackle Zach Kerr played 22 percent of the defensive snaps.
Delaware was the only FBS school with two players on Super Bowl rosters.
The SEC can’t have *every* roster slot.