It is not a new development that the SEC finishes as the top conference in NFL Draft picks, but never before has there been such an overwhelming amount of southern flavor in the first round as what we saw on Thursday night at the 2020 NFL Draft. The SEC not only broke its own record but — with 15 of the first 32 picks — set a new mark for most first-round picks by a single conference in the history of the NFL Draft.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow got things started at No. 1 overall with Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa joining the Heisman Trophy winner in the top five. The run continued with Auburn, Florida and Alabama (again) represented to give the SEC six of the top 10 and — by the end of the night — the conference had shattered the NFL Draft record with 15 picks in the first round.
The 2020 SEC class broke the previous first-round record — set by the SEC (twice, in 2017 and 2013) and the ACC (2006) — by three picks. The overwhelming dominance was powered by the reigning national champion LSU, which set a new program record with five first-round picks, topping the previous record of four from 2007.
Alabama had four first-round picks for the fourth time under Nick Saban and third time in four years. The Crimson Tide also joined rare company after both Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy went in the top 15, joining Ohio State (2007), LSU (2007), Miami (2001) and Florida (1997) as the only schools with multiple first round wide receivers.
Saban also became the first coach in college football history to see a player drafted in the first round at every non-specialist position.
With center Cesar Ruiz selected at No. 24 overall, Michigan registered first-round picks in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08. Additionally, when quarterback Jordan Love was picked by at No. 26 overall, Utah State saw a player picked in the first round for the first time since 1970.
Check out the full breakdown by conference and school below.
SEC (15)LSU — 5Alabama — 4Georgia — 2Auburn — 2Florida — 1South Carolina — 1Big Ten (5)Ohio State – 3 Iowa — 1Michigan — 1Big 12 (5)ACC (3)Pac-12 (3)Mountain West (1)