A post below by tb-sb coupled with the Steelers' projected selections in the NFL.com mock drafts got me thinking, and I came up with some interesting stuff. At least, I think it's interesting, but then I'm a bit of a freak for this stuff. The Steelers are picking 17th overall, and five of the six analysts at NFL.com's "Mock Draft Central" had them taking a different SEC player in that spot. The five projected picks were one WR and four DL. I thought that was interesting because I feel like Pittsburgh hasn't drafted many SEC guys, and intuitively I tend to think a northern non-dome team would be leery of SEC guys who haven't played football outside the South in their entire lives.
Sure enough, after a little investigation it turns out Pittsburgh has only selected an SEC player in the first round three times since '92, and all three were offensive linemen (Florida C Maurkice Pouncey '10, Auburn G Kendall Simmons '02, LSU G Alan Faneca '98). Which got me wondering about how many SEC players they've selected compared to other conferences... And here you go. Since 2005's draft, here's the conference breakdown of the Steelers's picks using the school's conference at the time of the pick. I chose 2005 because for some reason their interest in the SEC seemed to tail off a bit at that point versus previous years; I have some guesses as to why but I don't have anything solid, so I'm more inclined to say I don't why right now.
- 67 total picks
- 14 Big Ten picks
- 10 ACC picks
- 9 Big 12 picks
- 9 Pac 12 picks
- 7 SEC picks
- 4 Big East picks
- 14 other picks (MAC, Conf USA, WAC, etc.)
That's pretty stark, in my opinion. I'd again be curious to see what other teams' recent draft history is, although I don't have the time to compile that myself. The SEC has arguably the most physical talent of any conference; if the Steelers' history is more the rule than the exception it might make one wonder about SEC schools' efficacy of preparing that talent for the next level. Which isn't and shouldn't be their concern, of course, but it should be a concern for recruits.