The 21st century has seen plenty of college football's best grace the NFL with their talents, with some of college football's standout players earning the honor of being a first-round NFL draft pick each year. Here's a breakdown of where NFL first-round draft picks come from, via college and conference.
About the data
- All data is through the 2023 NFL draft.
- All players are listed in the conference their school was in during the season prior to their drafting. For example, a Miami player drafted in the 2004 NFL draft will count for the Big East, because the Hurricanes didn't join the ACC until the 2004 college football season. A Miami player drafted in the 2005 NFL draft will count for ACC because his final season was played in the ACC, even though the majority of his career was played in the Big East.
- Players are counted from the school they last played for. So if a player played for three years at Texas and graduated before transferring to Alabama for his final year, and then was drafted after the season at Alabama, said player counts as an Alabama draft pick.
That said, let's get into the numbers.
Conferences with the most NFL first-round picks
The SEC leads all conferences with 209 NFL first-round draft picks. No other conference has surpassed the 200 threshold.
|No. of Picks||Conference|
|11||MAC, Mountain West|
|1||CAA^, OVC^, SoCon^|
*Pac-12 also includes when the conference was called the Pac-10. Fifty-one players are from the Pac-12 era and 46 players are from the Pac-10 era.
^FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) Conference
Colleges with the most NFL first-round picks
Alabama leads all colleges with 46 NFL first-round picks, followed by Ohio State's 40 selections. Those numbers make sense when you consider the Crimson Tide made the most College Football Playoff appearances and the Buckeyes made the most BCS appearances.
|No. of Picks||School|
|26||LSU, Southern California|
|12||Auburn, Boston College, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas A&M, Washington|
|10||Louisville, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Virginia Tech|
|8||Arizona State, Arkansas, NC State, Oklahoma State, TCU|
|7||Michigan State, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Stanford|
|6||Illinois, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia|
|5||Baylor, Boise State, Northwestern, Syracuse|
|4||Colorado, Houston, Kentucky, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas Tech|
|3||BYU, Fresno State, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Minnesota,
Oregon State, Rutgers, UCF, Wake Forest, Washington State
|2||Arizona, Central Michigan, Duke, Jackson State, Marshall, North Dakota State,
Northern Illinois, South Florida, Temple, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB,
UConn, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan
|1||Alabama State, Buffalo, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Delaware, East Carolina,
Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Miami (OH), New Mexico,
Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Tennessee State, Utah State, UTSA, Wyoming