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How the State of Florida Got Shut Out of the NFL Draft First Round

Not pictured: anyone from a college in the state of Florida.
Not pictured: anyone from a college in the state of Florida.

For the first time since 1980, no players from a college in the state of Florida got picked in the NFL Draft's first round last night. Any time that long of a streak ends, it's worth a look to see why it happened. I don't think I can paint the entire picture, but here is some information that helps fill in the gaps.

Janoris Jenkins smoked himself off of the Florida team.

This is the big, obvious reason. Had Jenkins not gotten busted for pot twice in Will Muschamp's first few months, he likely would have stayed on the team through the 2011 season and been drafted in the first round. If that happened, the state's streak would have continued.

Coaching turnover.

Within the past four years, the coaching staffs of all three major schools in the state have turned over. When that happens, you can end up with square pegs in round holes, slower player development, and attrition. It's impossible to know for sure, but had the coaching among the state's three powers been better and more stable, the streak might not have ended.

Out-of-state raiders are taking many of the state's best players.

The Florida schools still take home the lion's share of top prospects from their home state. In 2008, 10 of the 16 Floridians in the Rivals 100 stayed in state. In 2009, 11 of the 18 Floridians in the Rivals 100 stayed in state. However, if you look at who has actually turned out to be the best players, many of them have gone elsewhere.

Three players from Florida across the 2008 and 2009 Rivals 100 have ended up first round draft picks so far. They are Patrick Peterson (LSU), Corey Liuget (Illinois), and Trent Richardson (Alabama). In last night's first round, another player from Florida's 2008 high school class was taken, A.J. Jenkins (Illinois). As it turns out, Ron Zook did a better job of turning Sunshine State talent into first rounders than the state's Big Three did.

Looking over who's left from those lists, the guy who's likely to be taken the highest in the 2013 draft (should he declare) is Tampa's Aaron Murray. He, of course, went to Georgia.

The schools took some small recruiting classes.

Florida signed 22 players in 2008 and 17 players in 2009. Those classes would go on to experience high rates of attrition. In 2009, Florida State signed just 21 players, and Miami only took 19 that same year. A really good recruiting class will produce one or two first rounders, but that's harder to do when you don't sign that many players.

I can't speak to why Miami's 33-member class or FSU's 32-member class from 2008 didn't produce any first rounders this year as I don't know the specifics of those players. If you're looking to why the state got shut out of the top round this year, many of the answers are probably in there. Well that, and also in Janoris Jenkins's weed stash.

It's just a one-year quirk.

Mock drafts a year out are generally useless, but any 2013 mock draft you can find regardless of the quality of the source has at least one player from a Florida school on it. The previous streak lasted for over 30 years for a reason. The state produces tons of talent, that talent often stays at home, and the biggest programs in it are attractive enough to pull top players from other states. It's impossible to say how long the streak that begins next year will go, but another 30 year run wouldn't surprise me at all.