The NFL draft through the college lens: SEC dominance, Nebraska's dubious distinction and more

Among Power 5 conferences, the SEC continued to dominate the NFL draft. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Now that the 84th NFL draft is complete, it's time to take a look back at the three days that were, but through the college lens.

Every major conference had at least one player drafted this year, with the American Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference being the only Group of 5 leagues to have double-digit draftees, with 11 and 10 selections, respectively.

SEC dominance ... again

Stop me if you've read or heard this before: The Southeastern Conference dominated the NFL draft. For the 13th straight year, SEC had the most selections of any conference. But this time, the SEC outdid even itself by watching a record 64 players be drafted, the most by a conference since the common-draft era began in 1967.

Alabama, which had a school-record 12 players drafted in 2018, led all schools nationally with 10 draftees this year. Thirteen of the SEC's 14 schools had at least one player drafted; Tennessee was the only school left out. The SEC was the only conference to record double-digit draftees in any round this year, getting 10 or more players drafted in the second (13), fifth (10) and sixth (10) rounds.

It has become the conference's yearly April flex, and although plenty of people around the country are probably soooo tired of hearing about it, you just can't ignore the fact that the SEC continuously recruits the best prospects in the country and then develops the best NFL talent. We see it every national signing day, and it has been thrown right back in our faces each draft weekend. The last time the SEC didn't top the conference draft list was in 2006, when the ACC had 52 selections, the Big Ten had 41 and the SEC had 37.

The SEC had nine first-rounders this year -- the eighth time the conference led the nation in first-round picks in the past nine years. The conference also had 22 picks in the first two rounds this year, breaking its own record of 21. And with 28 players drafted in the first three rounds, this was the third consecutive year the SEC saw 25 or more players selected through the first three rounds of the draft.

This also marked the fifth straight year the SEC had 50 or more players taken in the NFL draft. Only once in the past 25 years has another conference had 50 or more players drafted (ACC, 2006).

Ninety-six SEC players have been drafted in the first round of the NFL draft over the past 10 years, and the conference has averaged more than nine opening-round picks per year during the past 13 years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been especially keen on drafting SEC players of late, as all six picks that they've had in the first and second round of the last three years have been SEC players, including drafting Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen at No. 7 and Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor at No. 35 in this year's draft.

Nick Saban still shining

With three Alabama players selected in the opening round -- No. 3 Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), No. 11 Jonah Williams (Cincinnati Bengals) and No. 24 Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders) -- Nick Saban has now seen 34 of his players taken in the first round of the NFL draft. That's the most for any coach in the common-draft era, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno is second with 33 and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is third with 32. Alabama also extended its streak of having a first-round selection to 11 straight years. That trails only Miami, which had at least one first-round pick for 14 straight years from 1995 to 2008.

Dabo earned that contract

Outside of having just won his second national title at Clemson and recording an astounding 116-30 record with the Tigers heading into the 2019 season, Dabo Swinney helped earn his absurd, new 10-year, $93 million deal by developing a hell of a lot of talent at Clemson. It really showed during the first round of the NFL draft, in which he saw three of his former players taken -- DE Clelin Ferrell (No. 4), DT Christian Wilkins (No. 13) and DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17). That gives him 11 first-round picks at Clemson, which, according to ESPN Stats & Information, equals the number of Clemson first-round picks from 1985 to 2009. Swinney now has the second-most first-round draft picks of any ACC head coach in conference history, behind Bowden's 25.

Oklahoma continues to be No. 1

While the Sooners tied Washington for third among schools for players drafted this year, with eight (Ohio State was second with nine), quarterback Kyler Murray became the second straight OU player to be drafted No. 1 overall. Baker Mayfield -- who also won the Heisman Trophy, like Murray -- was taken first by the Cleveland Browns last year before the Arizona Cardinals grabbed Murray on Thursday. Oklahoma has now produced five No. 1 picks, tied with USC for most in the common-draft era. Oklahoma has also produced three QBs as No. 1 picks, tied with Stanford for most in the common-draft era.

Three is the magic number

Three schools had three players drafted in the first round last Thursday: Alabama, Clemson and -- wait for it -- Mississippi State. Alabama and Clemson combined to lose one game all of last season and competed for the College Football Playoff, and Mississippi State underwent a coaching change, went 8-5 and lost 27-22 to Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

The 2018 season didn't exactly go to plan for the Bulldogs, but there was no denying the pure talent former coach Dan Mullen and his staff brought in -- and that Joe Moorhead and his new staff continued to develop NFL talent.

The Bulldogs watched as DT Jeffery Simmons was drafted 19th by the Tennessee Titans before DE Montez Sweat was taken 26th by Washington and safety Johnathan Abram was taken 27th by the Oakland Raiders.

The three first-round selections for Mississippi State were its most in the first round in the common-draft era.

Big 12 continues to slide

For the eighth straight year, the Big 12 tied for or had outright the least amount of draft picks by a Power 5 conference. A year after having just 20 players drafted, the Big 12 had only 26 come off the board this year. Although the conference celebrated having the No. 1 back for the second straight year, it had just 10 more players come off the board before the fourth round started.

Oklahoma had an impressive showing with eight draftees, but the next-closest was West Virginia with five, and the three Texas schools -- Texas, Texas Tech and TCU -- accounted for just six total selections. A year after having four players taken in the 2018 draft, Texas had only DE Charles Omenihu go in the fifth round to the Houston Texans and DB Kris Boyd go in the seventh round to the Minnesota Vikings. Texas has had just eight players drafted in the past four years.

Nebraska a no-show

Nebraska failed to have a player drafted for the first time in the common-draft era, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

Entering the draft, Nebraska was one of five schools -- along with USC, Michigan, Michigan State and Florida -- to have a player drafted every year. Virginia Tech also failed to have a player drafted, after having at least one player taken every year since 1993.

Other Power 5 schools without a selection include Tennessee, Purdue, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oregon State and Cal.

One county to rule them all

Broward County in southeastern Florida had four players drafted in the first round (out of a total of five players from Florida) from high schools in the county: Devin Bush Jr., Brian Burns, Nick Bosa and Marquise Brown. Deandre Baker is the fifth Floridian first-rounder; he attended high school in Miami-Dade County.