May 2, 2007

The NFL Draft from a Rivals.com perspective

So, I'm looking at the data Rivals.com recruiting editor Chad Carson and the team compiled surrounding the NFL Draft.

One of the things they tracked was which high schools the draftees called home.

I'm a longtime follower of the NFL Draft, but more than anything I've been a longtime follower of recruiting and the talent pipeline from high schools to the pros.

First-Round Picks by State
1t. Florida 4
1t. Texas 4
3t. Alabama 3
3t. Ohio 3
5t. Louisiana 2
5t. California 2
5t. South Carolina 2
5t. Tennessee 2
*-Ten states tied with one each
A couple of things stand out to me.

The Midwest

Illinois with four players drafted is not exactly a stellar showing. All of those came from Chicagoland. That means a pretty solid football state was blanked out everywhere else. So much for "depth" in the state of Illinois.

Ohio and Michigan both fared better than anticipated four or five years ago when we were ranking these players as high school prospects.

Ohio had the best draft of any state in the country in my mind. A total of 18 players selected. Sure, Ohio State accounted for a lot of those guys, but the MAC schools also were well-represented.

Michigan had eight players drafted, doubling Illinois' output. The old adage that the Michigan prep ranks are strictly a basketball haven no longer applies. Surely, Magic Johnson is crying foul somewhere in the distance.

NFL Draft Picks by State
1. California 36
2t. Florida 26
2t. Texas 26
4. Ohio 18
5t. Georgia 11
5t. Louisiana 11
5t. Virginia 11
8. Alabama 10
9. S. Carolina 9
10. Michigan 8
11t. New York 7
11t. N. Carolina 7
13. Maryland 6
14. New Jersey 5
15t. Arkansas 4
15t. Illinois 4
15t. Mississippi 4
15t. Oregon 4
15t. Tennessee 4
15t. Washington 4
21t. Arizona 3
21t. Indiana 3
21t. Iowa 3
21t. Pennsylvania 3
21t. Wisconsin 3
26t. Connecticut 2
26t. Hawaii 2
26t. Idaho 2
26t. Minnesota 2
26t. Oklahoma 2
26t. Utah 2
26t. Wyoming 2
33t. Colorado 1
33t. Kansas 1
33t. Kentucky 1
33t. Massachusetts 1
33t. Missouri 1
33t. Nebraska 1
33t. Nevada 1
33t. New Mexico 1
Note: There were also three players selected from American Samoa. Ten states had no players selected: Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hamspshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.
The East
Pennsylvania with three players drafted? Johnny Unitas would roll over in his grave. Western Pa. alone used to put out five or six NFL players every year.

Wouldn't you think New Jersey would produce more NFL talent than New York? Not true, at least not this year.

New Jersey always seems to get a lot of attention from fans and recruiting analysts alike, but maybe we should all be paying more attention to New York.

To be fair to New Jersey, the Garden State did have four of its five draftees selected among the top 100 players, while New York only had one.

Maybe it's quality vs. quantity when debating New Jersey-New York talent production.

Miami-Norland
It's a good year to be a grad of Miami (Fla.) Norland High School.

First, alum Randy Shannon was named coach at the University of Miami. Then came the draft-day deluge.

Fourteen schools had two alums taken in the NFL draft, but Norland High School in Miami was one of two to have three.

Straddling the county line between Dade and Broward, not far from Dolphins Stadium, Norland hasn't been the talent hotbed some of its neighbors have been. But on this draft weekend, it was No. 1.

LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (drafted 23rd overall by the Kansas City Chiefs), Miami defensive lineman Kareem Brown (drafted 127th overall by the New England Patriots) and Florida International linebacker Antwan Barnes (drafted 134th overall by the Baltimore Ravens) were all Norland graduates selected on draft day.

The Norland grads helped create their own collegiate legacy. Bowe was one of a school-record four first-rounders out of LSU, and Barnes was the first player in FIU history to be drafted.

Evangel Christian in Shreveport, La., is no stranger to football success with quarterbacks Josh Booty, Brock Berlin and John David Booty among recent graduates.

Evangel Christian also had three alums taken in the draft -- Tennessee defensive back Jonathan Wade (84th to St. Louis), LSU defensive lineman Chase Pittman (213th to Cleveland) and Texas Tech defensive lineman Keyunta Dawson (242nd to Indianapolis

State-by-state production
California far and away had the most players selected in this draft with 36. To put that in perspective, Los Angeles/Orange County alone had 14 players selected.

That number would make the metro area the fifth largest "state" in production. Want to find a future NFL player? Book a trip to L.A.

Top Metro Areas
1. Los Angeles/Orange Co. 14
2t. Dallas 9
2t. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale 9
4. San Fran./Bay Area 8
5. Houston 7
6. Atlanta 6
7. Washington, D.C. metro 5
*-Seven areas had four each.
How did Rivals.com compare?
We were going to take an exhaustive look at how our recruiting rankings stacked up against where players ended up being picked in the NFL Draft.

But a savvy message board member beat us to it.

Here's a link that gives some pretty good insight on the first-round picks and where they were ranked by Rivals.com coming out of high school.

Louisiana
One parting thought. Louisiana had 11 players drafted. That ties them for the fifth-most of any state.

But in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which experts say has still displaced hundreds of thousands of people from the Pelican State, will those numbers and that national ranking be the case four years from now?

TigerBait.com's Mike Scarborough says this year the class of 2008 for high schoolers is the worst he's seen on record in Louisiana. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we'll be back again next year with more data on the NFL Draft from a Rivals.com perspective.

Bobby Burton is editor-in-chief of Rivals.com. He can be reached at bobby@rivals.com.




 

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