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A Decade of Dominance: The NFL Draft's First Round During The 2010s

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Matt Gutridge's picture
April 26, 2019 at 12:36pm
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NFL Draft

Hard to believe, but last night was the final first round of this decade. Damn, time slows down for nobody. That makes this a good time to see which programs have produced the most first round players in a tidy 10-year span.

No. 1 Alabama
There is a reason Saban and the Crimson Tide have won so many championships, they've had a lot of talent. Combine that talent with good coaching, a winning culture and you get five championships between the 2009* and 2018 seasons.

Alabama's Profile
Total Picks: 28
Highest Pick: No. 3
Average Pick: No. 15.2

Surprisingly, Alabama has not had a player drafted as the No. 1 overall pick during this decade. Trent Richardson and Marcell Dareus are the Tide's highest selected players during this time frame. Both were picked third in their respective drafts.

Alabama had four players selected in the first round four times during the decade (2018, 2017, 2012 and 2011). Possibly more impressive is that at least two Tide players were selected in every draft between 2010 and 2019.

*The 2009 championship is included because the first draft after that season was 2010.

No. 2 Ohio State
The Buckeyes had a first round pick in six of the ten drafts this decade. Years without Ohio State players getting selected in the first round were 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The program has had at least one player called in the first round for four-straight drafts. 

Ohio State's Profile
Total Picks: 15
Highest Pick: No. 2
Average Pick: No. 14.8

Last night, Nick Bosa became the highest drafted Ohio State player for the decade. He edged out his brother, Joey, who was the third overall pick of the 2016 draft. Denzel Ward (2018) and Ezekiel Elliott (2016) were both selected fourth.

Of Ohio State's 15 first round selections, 11 were defensive players. Six defensive backs, three defensive ends and two linebackers.

No. 3 Florida
The Gators maintained the third spot, despite not having a player get drafted in the first round last night. Florida had most of its first round success between 2010 and 2015. During that six-year stretch, nine Gators were drafted in round one. Only four were selected in the last four years. 

Florida's Profile
Total Picks: 13
Highest Pick: No. 3
Average Pick: No. 19.5

LB Dante Fowler was drafted by the Jaguars with the third pick of the 2015 NFL Draft and is the highest selected Gator during the 2010s. DB Joe Haden is the only other Florida player to get drafted during the first 10 picks.

Keeping it in the Sunshine State. The Jaguars, Dolphins and Buccaneers drafted Gators. However, Jacksonville was the only NFL team to select two Florida players in the first round during the decade. 

No. 4 Clemson 
Last night, the Tigers became the first team to have three defensive linemen selected in the first round of an NFL Draft. The three picks also bumped Clemson to a tie for fourth place this decade. 

Clemson's Profile
Total Picks: 11
Highest Pick: No. 4
Average Pick: No. 13.7

When the Raiders selected DE Clelin Ferrell with the fourth pick, he became the second Tiger to go in the fourth spot this decade. The first? Sammy Watkins was drafted fourth by the Bills in 2014. 

Four of Clemson's 11 first round draft picks were top 10 selections. That's pretty impressive. Also impressive is that the 2012, 2013 and 2018 were the only drafts this decade in which Clemson did not have a first round selection.

No. 4 Florida State
The Seminoles are the only school in the top 5 with a player selected as the No. 1 overall pick. In 2015, the Buccaneers picked Jameis Winston with the first.

Florida State's Profile
Total Picks: 11
Highest Pick: No. 1
Average Pick: No. 17.7

Despite the program going through a few rough years on the field, the school produced a first round pick every year except for 2012 and 2017. However, 2013 and 2015 were the only drafts with multiple Seminoles going in the first round.

Did you know that between 2010-2019, Florida State had three quarterbacks selected in the first round? No? Don't worry, I didn't either. The Vikings took Christian Ponder 12th in 2011, Xavier Rhodes went 25th to the Vikings in 2013 and as mentioned above, Tampa Bay took Winston.

The Rest of the Top 10
LSU (10), Georgia (9), Notre Dame (9), Texas A&M (9), Oklahoma (8) and Washington (8) round out the top 10.

Notice something missing with the teams above? That's right, Ohio State is the only team representing the Big Ten.

How does that happen? Because when you combine the first round picks of Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State you still come up two short of the Buckeyes' 15. What's worse, is that Illinois (3) had more first round picks than Nebraska (2) and Penn State (2).

Here's to Ohio State continuing its dominance of the Big Ten in the 2020s and beyond.

More NFL Draft Material
NFL Draft: Ohio State Players Selected in the Top 10
Mailbag/Remy's Research: 2019 NFL Draft
Too Slow And White, Was John Cooper Right?
Highest Selected: Ohio State's Quarterbacks and the NFL Draft
Highest Selected: Ohio State's Defensive Ends and the NFL Draft

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