Who's Got More Balanced NFL Talent: Big Ten or SEC?

By Chris Lauderback on January 9, 2008 at 10:03a
0 Comments

For some background, I compiled the data below from DraftHistory.com. Over the last 5 years the SEC (12 teams) has had 200 players drafted compared to 183 for the Big Ten. Pretty much a dead heat on that front.

The recent argument we've heard is not only does the SEC have more talent but it's more evenly spread out creating a balanced conference were virtually every SEC squad has their share of NFL caliber players. This supposedly increases the competitive edge of SEC teams, especially when they venture out of conference to play foes from conferences featuring less overall NFL talent and/or teams in conferences that feature less balance with regard to NFL talent.

That doesn't appear to be totally accurate according to the numbers. Over the 5 years, both conferences had 5 teams record at least 20 draft picks and both feature 8 teams with at least 10 picks. As for the bottom feeders, each conference had exactly 3 teams with less than 10 NFL picks. Among those, the Big Ten doormats had 19 combined picks while the SEC's had 15.

To me, the biggest overall difference is the number of top tier prospects produced in each conference. The Big Ten had 51 players selected in the 1st or 2nd round compared to 66 for the SEC. That difference is further magnified when you look at the spread of those top tier performers. The SEC had 6 teams record at least seven 1st/2nd round selections compared to only 4 teams in the Big Ten. Worse yet, the Big Ten had 6 teams with 2 or less 1st/2nd rounders compared to only 3 for the SEC.

Of course, numbers can be looked at 1,000 different ways. What sticks out to you?

NFL Draft Picks: BigTen vs. SEC Last 5 Years
BIG TEN TOTAL 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 1st/2nd
Rd Picks
Percent in
1st/2nd Rd
Ohio State 39 8 9 3 14 5 12 31%
Michigan 23 7 3 3 4 6 10 43%
Penn State 21 5 6 0 4 6 9 43%
Iowa 20 3 2 5 5 5 8 40%
Wisconsin 20 1 5 7 3 4 4 20%
Purdue 18 3 4 1 9 1 2 11%
Michigan State 13 3 3 4 2 1 2 15%
Illinois 10 1 0 2 2 5 2 20%
Minnesota 8 1 4 1 1 1 1 13%
Northwestern 7 0 3 3 0 1 1 14%
Indiana 4 0 2 1 0 1 0 0%
Total 183 32 41 30 44 36 51 28%
SEC TOTAL 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 1st/2nd
Rd Picks
Percent in
1st/2nd Rd
Florida 28 9 3 3 5 8 7 25%
Georgia 28 4 7 6 4 7 11 39%
LSU 26 5 7 3 7 4 11 42%
Tennessee 26 6 5 3 4 8 7 27%
Alabama 21 3 5 4 4 5 4 19%
Auburn 18 5 4 5 4 0 9 50%
Arkansas 14 4 1 2 6 1 7 50%
South Carolina 13 2 2 3 3 3 4 31%
Kentucky 4 0 0 1 1 2 1 25%
Vanderbilt 4 0 1 2 0 1 1 25%
Mississippi 11 2 1 3 4 1 4 36%
Mississippi St. 7 1 1 2 0 3 0 0%
Total 200 41 37 37 42 43 66 33%
0 Comments