The first round of the NFL Draft kicks off tonight, and a number of SEC players will be making appearances. I went through 12 mock drafts put out by major publications to come up with what the NFL pundits' hive mind is thinking about for this conference's products.
Will we see a record?
One little draft nugget to get you going: SEC record for 1st round draft picks is 11 in 2007. Seen one mock with 14 and another with 13.— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) April 25, 2013
We very well could see this record matched or broken. Of the dozen mocks I looked at, only one had as many as 14. Three projected 10 SEC players taken, two guessed 12, and the rest had 11. You can thank conference expansion for the high number, as Texas A&M and Missouri each have a first round lock. Speaking of...
First Round Locks
While everyone seems to agree that at least 10 SEC players will hear their names called tonight, they don't all agree on which 10. Only eight players made it into all 12 mock first rounds. They are as follows:
|Luke Joeckel||Texas A&M||2.3|
That's four consensus top 10 picks with another four as consensus top 20 selections.
First Round Candidates
The next closest thing to a first round lock is Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson. The pundits put the wideout in nine of 12 first rounds, with an average selection of 23.4 in the mocks in which he appeared in the first round.
Ten more players found their way into at least one predicted first round. They are: Eric Reid, LSU (7 mock first rounds); Justin Hunter, Tennessee (5); Jesse Williams, Alabama (4); Matt Elam, Florida (3); Eddie Lacy, Alabama (3); Kevin Minter, LSU (2); Alec Ogletree, Georgia (2); Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (1); Darius Slay, Mississippi State (1); and John Jenkins, Georgia (1).
Conventional Wisdom Watch
Some players ended up in particular draft slots in at least half of the mock drafts. This is what they were:
- Luke Joeckel, first overall to Kansas City (6 mock drafts)
- Sharrif Floyd, third overall to Oakland (9)
- Dee Milliner, sixth overall to Arizona (6)
- Barkevious Mingo, either ninth or 13th overall to the N.Y. Jets (10)
- Jarvis Jones, either 15th overall to New Orleans or 17th overall to Pittsburgh (10)
Here are some other things to look for. Only one mock did not have either of the Tennessee receivers going in the first round, so expect to see at least one of Patterson and Hunter go tonight. Jesse Williams only appeared in four first rounds, but in all four cases he is headed to San Francisco with the 31st pick. Six of the seven first rounds with Reid had him going either 21st to Cincinnati or 22nd to St. Louis. If Reid falls past the Rams at 22, you shouldn't expect to see him go tonight.
Two of the three first rounds with Lacy had him going 21st to Cincinnati, and both first rounds with Minter had him going 32nd Baltimore to replace Ray Lewis.