The SEC has long dominated the top of the NFL Draft and NFL Draft boards in general.
It is the best conference in college football, after all. Those national championships are not won by poor players. But translating from a good college player to a good NFL player is not always a straight line.
Some coaches, it could be said, are better at preparing their players for the NFL more than being super successful in college. And some coaches are better at coaching a college team than preparing NFL talent.
Chase Goodbeard of College Football 24/7 and NFL.com has been raking various aspects of college football in relation to the NFL. He devised a list of the top 16 coaches at developing NFL players.
Only two SEC coaches made the list. One of them was the No. 1 guy, Nick Saban.
“Saban’s combination of recruiting skills, NFL experience and a pro-style offense make him predictably hard to beat on draft day,” Goodbeard wrote. “He’s placed at least one first-round pick in the draft for eight consecutive years, and produced multiple first-rounders over five straight drafts from 2010-2014. He’s had 39 draft picks over the last five years, the most of any coach listed here. As for an example of his ability to develop talent, he switched former walk-on Rashad Johnson from running back to safety when he arrived at Alabama in 2007, and Johnson is entering his eighth NFL season as a defensive back.”
LSU’s Les Miles came in at No. 8. Former SEC coaches Urban Meyere (No. 2) and Mark Richt (No. 6) also made the top 10.
This does seem relatively small for the SEC. Maybe it is all the turnover in coaches at some of the top programs that has caused so many to fall off. Hugh Freeze is still establishing his NFL bona fides at Ole Miss.
Saban and Miles are certainly the class of the SEC as it stands. And Alabama and LSU among its premiere programs.