Stephen Vilardo’s 2022 Statistical NFL Draft Preview

Conference and national selection notes, trends, streaks, and other milestones

Posted on April 28, 2022

  By Stephen Vilardo, SportsPac12

The NFL Draft begins on Today with the opening round and continues through Saturday with the second and third rounds Friday and the final three rounds on Saturday.

Pac-12The Pac-12 will be well represented throughout the Draft, as several players from the conference should hear their names on Day One.

Oregon’s edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux should be selected in the first five picks while WR Drake London of USC, Utah LB Devin Lloyd, and CB Trent McDuffie of Washington are all projected as First-Rounders.

Another Husky, Kyler Gordon, could join them in the opening round.

Thibodeaux will certainly hear his name called in the first 10 selections and when he does, he will give Oregon top-10 selections in three consecutive drafts as Penei Sewell went seventh to Detroit last April and Justin Herbert was sixth in 2020.

Thibodeaux will be the sixth Oregon player to go in the top-10 since 2013, joining Dion Jordan, Marcus Mariota, and DeForest Buckner as well as Herbert and Sewell.

A Look Back at Recent Drafts

Sewell was the first of four Pac-12 players selected by Detroit alone last season. His selection also continued a trend of offensive linemen in the first third of the opening round.

Since 2006, 13 of the past 15 NFL Drafts have seen at least one offensive lineman selected with a top-10 pick. Since 2015, eight offensive linemen have been chosen in the top-10.

Sewell |

Last year 28 players from the Pac-12 heard their names get called during the NFL Draft. It marked the first time since 2015 that the conference did not have at least 30 players selected in the draft.

Leading the way last season was Penei Sewell going to the Lions with the seventh pick. The Oregon lineman was joined by USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker and Washington’s Joe Tyron in the first round.

Pac-12 vs. Other Power 5 Conferences

That makes 11 years in a row that at least three Pac-12 players have been taken in the opening round. In fact, the Pac-12 saw at least three players selected in all seven rounds last year.

The 28 draftees from the Pac-12 a year ago were the fourth-most from any conference.

The SEC had 65 and the Big Ten had 44 while the ACC had 42. Each of those conferences also has 14 teams compared to the 12 of the Pac-12.

Over the past three years, the Pac-12 has had 93 players selected in the NFL Draft, 2.58 per school in the 12-team league.

Averaged by school, 2.58 is the third-most of any Power 5 conference over the last three years, trailing the 14-team SEC (192/4.57) and Big Ten (132/3.14) conferences.

Last season Oregon had four defensive backs selected in the draft, tied with Georgia for the most in the nation. Prior to last season, four defensive backs selected from one school occurred only 11 times ever and just three times in the last 20 years.

USC and first round offensive linemen 

usc logoThe selection of Alijah Vera-Tucker in the opening round last year added to an impressive list of USC offensive linemen to go in the first round.

Since 1967, USC has had 24 offensive linemen selected in the first round, more than any other school. Ohio State has the next most, with 13. The Trojans are unlikely to add to that list this year.

A breakdown of the 2021 Pac-12 Draft by Phase

• Offensive players: 12
• Defensive:  16

Breakdown by Position
OL 5 S 3 RB 3 TE 0 DE 2
WR 3 QB 1 LB 1 DT 3 CB 7

Breakdown by School 
SchoolTotal Picks
Current Pac-12 schools have produced 17 No. 1 overall draft picks, the second most of any conference in the nation.

NFL No. 1 Selections by Current Conference Members
ConferenceOverall No. 1 Picks
Big 1015
Big 1211
Conference USA4
Mountain West2
Ivy League1

Most all-time No. 1 Overall Selections by College
Notre Dame5

Only 20 schools have had more than one player selected No. 1 overall, three of those 20 schools are in Pac-12 schools.

In addition to the five from USC and four from Stanford, California has had two players go first overall.

Most All-Time NFL Draft Picks by College (any round)
Notre Dame520
Ohio State473

USC is one of just three schools to have had at least one player selected in each NFL Draft since 1967. The Trojans are joined on that list by Florida and Michigan.

That will most certainly continue this year—and we may not have to wait awfully long for it to happen—as Drake London should hear his name called in the First Round.

Colleges with the Most First Round Picks since 1967
Ohio State72
Florida State45
Notre Dame44
Penn State36
Texas A&M30
Michigan State25
North Carolina23

In the Pac-12 era, since 2012, 2,547 players have been selected in the NFL Draft. Of those, 322 have come from the Pac-12 (12.6%). The Pac-12 makes up the fourth-most selections from any conference.

It is worth noting the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC all have 14 schools to the 12 of the Pac-12. Below is a chart showing the draft picks from each FBS conference since 2012 (current conference membership schools).

ConferenceTotal Picks
Big 10386
Big 12221
Mountain West104
Conference USA75
Sun Belt59

Of the 320 players selected from the conference since the addition of Colorado and Utah, Stanford has had the most selections with 42, USC has had 40 while UCLA has seen 36 players drafted.

Players Drafted During Pac-12 Era

NFL Family Connections

A pair of Pac-12 players with family connections to the NFL could be selected in this year’s Draft.

Quentin Lake followed his father’s footsteps to UCLA as a DB and will be hoping to follow Carnell Lake’s path to the NFL.

The elder Lake enjoyed a 12-year NFL career, most notably with the Steelers.

Utah LB Nephi Sewell, of course, is the brother of Penei Sewell, but also has a pair of uncles with NFL ties.

Isaac Sopoaga spent 11 years in the NFL, mostly with San Francisco, and Richard Brown spent eight seasons in the NFL from 1987-96.

A Few General Draft Notes

Since 2006, 14 of the past 16 NFL Drafts have seen at least one offensive lineman selected with a top-10 pick.

Since 2015, nine offensive linemen have been chosen in the top-10. Penei Sewell of Oregon was the only offensive lineman taken in the Top 10 last year as the Pac-12 continued that trend.

This season will be the first time since 2017 that a QB has not been selected with the Number One overall pick.

The four straight seasons with a QB going first overall was tied for the second-longest in NFL history, equaling the four-year run of 2009-12, and trailing only the five-year streak from 2001-05.

While a QB will not go first overall, two have a good chance of going in the First Round (Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis).

If they both go in the opening round, it will be the ninth consecutive season multiple QBs have gone in the first round, the second-longest streak ever.

During the streak, which began in 2014, five Pac-12 QBs have been drafted in the first round:

• Marcus Mariota, 2015
• Jared Goff, 2016
• Josh Rosen & Sam Darnold, 2018
• Justin Herbert, 2020

Drake London is projected to be selected in the opening round. The former USC standout could be one of up to potentially seven WRs to go in the First Round.

USC’s Drake London runs after a catch vs OSU. | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This would be the 14th consecutive season that multiple WRs have been selected in the first round, which would be the longest streak ever, surpassing 13 years in a row from 1993-2005.

Should seven go in Round One, it would equal the most WRs taken in the opening round since 2004, and the second time since 1967.

This current streak began in 2009, and during that time, five Pac-12 pass-catchers have gone in the First Round:

• Brandin Cooks 2014
• Nelson Agholor 2015
• John Ross 2017
• N’Keal Harry 2018
• Brandon Aiyuk 2020

Kayvon Thibodeaux is one of three defensive linemen that should hear their names early on Thursday, along with Aiden Hutchinson of Michigan and Georgia’s Travon Walker.

Should the trio all go in the first three picks it would be the first time in the common draft era (1967) that defensive linemen were taken with overall picks one, two, and three.

Devin Lloyd should go in the First Round and if he, or a linebacker from another school, goes in the Top 15, it would be the ninth consecutive season a LB has been taken that high.

Nakobe Dean of Georgia is another top LB prospect, and should the two of them both go in the opening round, then it would mark the 19th consecutive year that at least two LB’s have gone in round one.

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