Vilardo: 2021 Pac-12 NFL Draft Stats and Notes Preview

Posted on April 28, 2021


  By Stephen Vilardo, SportsPac12

The NFL Draft begins on Thursday with the opening round and continues through Saturday with the Second and Third rounds Friday and the final three rounds on Saturday.

The Pac-12 will be well represented throughout the draft. At least two players from the Conference should hear their names on Day One in Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Alijah Vera-Tucker of USC. 

Sewell

Sewell is expected to go in the first 10 picks, and he would become the fifth Oregon player to go in the Top 10 since 2013, joining Dion Jordan, Marcus Mariota, DeForest Buckner and Justin Herbert.

Sewell’s selection in the top-10 would also continue an overall trend for offensive linemen.

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.

Vera-Tucker

The selection of Vera-Tucker in the opening round would add to an impressive list of USC offensive linemen to go in the first round.

Since the beginning of the Super Bowl Era in 1967, USC has had 23 offensive linemen selected in the first round, more than any other school. Ohio State has the next most, with 13. 

Last year 32 players from the Pac-12 heard their names get called during the NFL Draft. It marked the sixth straight year the Conference has had at least 30 players selected in the Draft.

Leading the way last season was Justin Herbert, who was selected sixth overall by the Chargers. The former Duck would go onto earn NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Herbert was one of three Pac-12 players selected in the First Round of the 2020 Draft, being joined by Austin Jackson of USC and Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk.

That makes 10 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 32 draftees from the Pac-12 a year ago were the third-most from any conference. The SEC had 64 and the Big Ten had 48; both of those conferences also have 14 teams compared to the 12 of the Pac-12.

Utah led the way with selections for the conference in 2020 with seven, including four going in the first three rounds, which was an all-time best for the Utes in the opening three rounds of an NFL Draft.

Ten of the 12 conference teams had at least two players selected in 2020. 


A breakdown of the 2020 Pac-12 Draft

• Offensive players, 19

• Defensive, 13


Position Breakdown

PosPlayersPosPlayers
OL6RB3
TE2DE2
WR5QB 3
LB3DT2
CB2S4

Breakdown by School 

Player(s)Program(s)
7Utah
4Oregon
3California
Colorado
Oregon State
UCLA
2Arizona State
Stanford
USC
Washington
1Washington State
0Arizona

The Pac-12 has been well represented at the top of the NFL Draft. In 2016, Jared Goff was the 17th player from a current Pac-12 school to be selected first overall.  That total is the second most of any conference. 

ConferenceNo. 1 Picks
SEC22
Pac-1217
B1G15
Big 1211
ACC10
IND5
CUSA4
MWC2
MAC1
Ivy1
OVC1
SWAC1
N/A1

usc logoUSC has produced the most all-time No. 1 overall selections with five. The last Trojan to go first overall was Carson Palmer in 2003. 

Stanford has had four players selected with the top spot in the draft with Andrew Luck in 2012 being the most recent of the quartet of Cardinal QBs to go first.

USC and Stanford are joined by four other schools with at least four players going first overall.

ProgramPlayers
USC5
Oklahoma5
Auburn5
Notre Dame5
Stanford4
Georgia4

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.

Not only has USC produced top picks, but the Trojans have also delivered to most overall draftees to the NFL. The 511 all-time NFL Draft picks from USC is tied with Notre Dame for the most ever.    

Seventeen schools have produced at least 300 NFL draft picks all-time, and three of them are from the Pac-12. Joining the Trojans on that list are UCLA and Washington at 15th and 17th, respectively. 

ProgramTotal PicksProgramTotal Picks
USC511Alabama374
Notre Dame511Nebraska361
Ohio State463Penn State361
Oklahoma397Florida356
Michigan379LSU352
Miami350UCLA325
Tennessee348Michigan State315
Texas347Washington307
Georgia337

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

That will most certainly continue this year, and we may not have to wait very long for it to happen, as Offensive Tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker should hear his name called in the First Round and could be the second Pac-12 player selected following fellow OT Penei Sewell of Oregon, who should be a Top 10 selection. 

Colleges with the Most First Round Picks since 1967

ProgramNo. 1 PicksProgramNo. 1 Picks
USC71Clemson31
Ohio State71Texas A&M30
Miami62Nebraska28
Alabama59UCLA28
Florida51Michigan State25
Florida State45Arizona State25
Notre Dame44Cal24
Tennessee40Auburn 24
Michigan39North Carolina23
Oklahoma38Pitt23
LSU35Washington23
Penn State
34Wisconsin23
Texas33Colorado22
Georgia32Stanford20

In the Pac-12 era since 2012, 2,288 players have been selected in the NFL Draft: 294 have come from the Pac-12, amounting to 12.8%. 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).

ConferencePIcks
SEC494
B1G342
ACC328
Pac-12294
Big 12199
AAC106
MWC101
Independent74
CUSA61
Sun Belt55
MAC54

Of the 294 players selected from the conference since the addition of Colorado and Utah, Stanford has had the most selections with 37; USC has had 35; while UCLA has seen 34 players drafted. 

Players Drafted in Pac-12 Era

TeamTotal Players
Stanford37
USC35
UCLA34
Utah32
Washington31
Oregon30
Cal24
ASU19
OSU16
Colorado14
WSU12
Arizona10

NFL Family Connections

A pair of Stanford offensive linemen with NFL family ties could hear their names called at the draft.

Center Drew Dalman’s father, Chris, played seven seasons in the NFL earning a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.

Tackle Walker Little has a pair of family connections to the NFL in his grandfather Gene and great uncle Jack, both of whom played in the league in the 1950’s. 

USC also has a pair of potential draftees with NFL blood lines in WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, whose brother Equanimeous is a receiver for Green Bay, and DT Marlon Tuipulotu, whose cousin Fili Moala had a six-year career with the Colts. 

DT Osa Odighizuwa of UCLA looks to follow his brother’s lead, as Owa Odighizuwa played two seasons with the Giants. 


A Few General Draft Notes

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is expected to go first overall and would become the fourth-consecutive QB taken with the first selection. That would be the second longest consecutive streak in NFL history of a QB going first overall, equaling the four-year run of 2009-12 and trailing only the five-year streak from 2001-05.

Speaking of QB’s at the top, we could see as many as four go in the top six picks and should see three. If that happens, it would be just the fourth time ever that three QBs have been selected in the first six picks, joining 1971, 1999, and 2020.

Interestingly those prior three occurrences all included a Pac-12 signal caller: Jim Plunkett (1971), Akili Smith (1999), and Justin Herbert (2020). There has never been four QBs taken in the opening six picks.

Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenVilardo and his organization @SERCenter. Visit his website at sercstats.com.




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