We've already shown you which college football programs were the most successful on the field in the BCS era. Now, we're going to show you which college football programs were the best at generating first-round NFL talent.
We've gone through every NFL draft since the dawn of the Bowl Championship Series (1998-1999) and tallied which schools pumped out the most first-round picks. While you may not be surprised to see which team checks in at No. 1, you may be shocked to see how far it's fallen.
First, we've listed out programs ranked 30 through 13. The top 12 begins on the next page.
T-22. Arkansas - 6 Players
T-22. Iowa - 6 Players
T-22. Ole Miss - 6 Players
T-22. South Carolina - 6 Players
T-22. Clemson - 6 Players
T-22. Notre Dame - 6 Players
T-22. NC State - 6 Players
T-22. Oregon - 6 Players
T-22. Syracuse - 6 Players
T-19. Virginia - 7 Players
T-19. Missouri - 7 Players
T-19. Oklahoma State - 7 Players
18. Auburn - 8 Players
T-16. Michigan - 9 Players
T-16. North Carolina - 9 Players
T-13. Boston College - 10 Players
T-13. Penn State - 10 Players
T-13. California - 10 Players
T-11. Oklahoma - 13 Players
Last month, we declared Oklahoma as the best team of the BCS era. The Sooners aren’t too shabby when it comes to getting players drafted in the first round either. Running back Adrian Peterson, the seventh pick in the 2007 draft, headlines a group that also includes tackle Jammal Brown, defensive back Roy Williams, and defensive lineman Tommie Harris.
The Sooners owned the 2010 draft—quarterback Sam Bradford was the first overall pick by the Rams, Gerald McCoy went third to Tampa Bay, followed by Trent Williams to Washington fourth. Jermaine Gresham was also picked in the first round, going 21st to Cincinnati.
T-11. Wisconsin - 13 Players
Wisconsin has been one of the most consistent programs in the Big Ten, so it’s no surprise that the Badgers come in near the top of this list. Two Badger alumni, JJ Watt and Joe Thomas, are among the best linemen on either side of the ball in the NFL. Thomas was drafted by Cleveland with the third pick in the 2007 draft, while Watt went 11th to Houston in 2011.
10. Tennessee - 14 Players
The Volunteers have struggled in the SEC the last few seasons, but they were one of the nation’s premier programs in the country. Tennessee had six players drafted in the first round from 1999-2002, with three going in the first 15 picks of 2002. Great Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was taken fifth overall in 2000, and was instrumental in Baltimore’s Super Bowl win during his rookie season.
Last spring, Cordarelle Patterson became the first Volunteer drafted in the opening round since 2010, and made an instant impact for the Minnesota Vikings, totalling nine touchdowns as a receiver, rusher, and kick returner.
T-8. LSU - 15 Players
The Tigers have had a dominant defense for years, and the NFL draft backs up that notion. Ten LSU defenders have gone in the first round in the BCS era. Perhaps more impressively, LSU has had a first round pick in every draft dating back to 2004, except for 2010.
No LSU offensive player has been taken in the first round since 2007, when quarterback Jamarcus Russell and receivers Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis were all selected, but that very well may change this year with top talents like Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham, and quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Hill and Mettenberger may be reaches, but Beckham should be a good bet as a first rounder.
T-8. Georgia - 15 Players
Georgia's alums have seen a great deal of success in the NFL. Champ Bailey (1999) plays an integral role in the Denver Broncos secondary, not to mention he’s got more interceptions than any other Broncos player in history. The Patriots drafted seven-time Pro Bowler Richard Seymour in 2001. UGA also pumped out Lions QB Matthew Stafford in 2009, Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno (who had a breakout year in 2013) in 2009, and Bengals WR A.J. Green in 2011.
Jarvis Jones is expected to take on a hefty role in the Steelers defense, and Alec Ogletree had an outstanding rookie season with the Rams. There’s no denying that UGA has been good to the NFL.
7. Texas - 17 Players
The first guy who jumps out at you in Texas’ first rounders is Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams. Drafted by the Saints in 1999, Williams made a name for himself with the Miami Dolphins. But Texas has actually had more defensive players drafted - 10 of its 16 first round players lined up on that side of the ball.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, other than former Pittsburgh Steeler Casey Hampton and current Kansas City Chief Derrick Johnson, none of these guys have made many waves in the NFL. Brian Orakpo is another exception, though he's more known for being in Geico commercials...
T-5. Alabama: 17 Players
Alabama might be tied with Florida, but its list of guys seems significantly less impressive. In regards to NFL success, the only names that pop out of Alabama’s first round contributions are Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and Trent Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, Richardson’s stock went up, then down after he was traded away from the Browns this past season, and Jones has been plagued with injuries.
Heisman winner Mark Ingram went to the Saints in 2011 with high hopes but has a career season high of just 602 rushing yards in 2012 and finished last year with 382 yards on the ground. It’s also important to note that despite its success in the BCS era, Alabama had a first round draft pick drought from 2001-2008.
T-5. Florida: 17 Players
As mentioned, Florida’s program seems to have been much more successful in the NFL in the long run as opposed to Alabama. Names like Jevon Kearse (1999), Percy Harvin (2009), and Maurkice Pouncey (2010) are just a few of the solid contributors to come out of Florida.
Although UF's players failed to impress any NFL teams in the first round from 2004-2006, the Gators have managed to have at least one player go in the first round every other year in the BCS era.
4. Florida State - 18 Players
FSU was one of the more stable programs throughout, but its best years bookend the BCS era. The highest overall selection belongs to Peter Warrick (No. 4) in 2000, though Corey Simon was chosen just two spots behind him. The Seminoles were also the only team to have a kicker (Sebastian Janikowski) drafted in the first round.
Recently, FSU has had two quarterbacks drafted in the first round - Minnesota's Christian Ponder and Buffalo's E.J. Manuel. They're both still competing to the be the No. 1 guy on their respective teams.
3. USC - 19 Players
Despite a mini-down period the past few seasons, USC was still a juggernaut for most of the BCS era. And while most people remember how prolific the Trojans' offenses were in the 2000s, they actually had more first-round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. Surprising, I know.
Of the three quarterbacks drafted in the first round, only Carson Palmer was able to hang onto a starting job for more than a few seasons. Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez had some flashes of brilliance, but never developed into sure-fire NFL starters.
2. Ohio State - 20 Players
Ohio State's first-round NFL production was easily the most consistent in the country. The positions drafted, well that's another story. The Buckeyes have seen five wide receivers and six defensive backs selected - meaning over 50% from just those two position groups. The highest player drafted, however, was A.J. Hawk, a linebacker, at No. 5 in the 2006 NFL Draft.
The Bucks also had zero quarterbacks taken and just one running back - Beanie Wells. If Carlos Hyde can impress at the NFL Combine, perhaps he can sneak in as one of the final picks of this year's first round.
1. Miami (FL) - 27 Players
Oh how quickly we forget. The Hurricanes were an absolutely dominant football program for the first half of the BCS era, pumping out numerous NFL first-rounders seemingly every year. And these weren't NFL picks who fizzled out - a solid portion of them were or still are NFL stars. Edgerrin James, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, etc - the list goes on and on.
Miami (FL) had seven more first-rounders than the next highest program despite failing to notch any since 2008 - a five-year gap. Amazing, to say the least.