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Who produces the most NFL Draft picks? We charted every college producing pros in the modern era

Here’s a full breakdown of every college producing NFL draft picks since 2011.

University of Georgia vs University of Alabama, 2021 SEC Championship Set Number: X163878 TK1

It’s draft week. If you’re a chronic fan, you’ve probably visited the famous “Jimmy Johnson draft-pick value chart” at some point this week to see what it would cost for your NFL team to trade up for your favorite prospect or see how much your team could bring in with a trade back in the draft. The method to create that Johnson Chart, though, was market-based, not results-based. As The Washington Post recently put it, Mike McCoy “plotted on logarithmic paper every trade involving a draft pick over the previous four years” to find the value of a draft pick.

Thirty years have passed since that day and we now have better tools to analyze the draft from a results-based standpoint. For example, the Fitzgerald-Spielberger NFL draft trade value chart frames draft slots based on what the players picked in those slots are paid after their rookie contracts instead of how much teams are willing to give up on draft day. That’s a results-based chart, not the market-based chart that McCoy built.

Using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart, I thought it would be interesting to look at where NFL prospects are coming from, using a modern perspective, in recent years. So I attached the Fitzgerald-Spielberger value to every draft pick since 2011, the first year in which rookie contracts essentially had slated salaries with the signing of the collective bargaining agreement signed that offseason, and cleaned the data so that UCF and Central Florida or NIU and Northern Illinois were not indexed as different schools. Thanks, Wikipedia!

The table below is what 2,803 NFL draft picks look like, by school, from the perspective of the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart. In total, 237 college programs (and two draft picks who never played college football) combined for 1,938,664 “draft value points” in just over a decade. This is where NFL draft picks come from.

NFL Draft Value (2011-2021)

Rank School Draft Value Conference
Rank School Draft Value Conference
1 Alabama 102,415 SEC
2 Ohio State 72,765 B10
3 LSU 68,356 SEC
4 Clemson 54,324 ACC
5 Florida 51,758 SEC
6 Georgia 48,315 SEC
7 Florida State 45,351 ACC
8 Notre Dame 43,723 IND
9 Oklahoma 41,648 B12
10 USC 40,730 P12
11 Stanford 36,873 P12
12 Texas A&M 35,838 SEC
13 Michigan 35,139 B10
14 Miami 34,287 ACC
15 Washington 33,663 P12
16 Auburn 31,329 SEC
17 North Carolina 30,574 ACC
18 Penn State 30,567 B10
19 Wisconsin 29,692 B10
20 Iowa 29,407 B10
21 Oregon 28,887 P12
22 UCLA 28,612 P12
23 South Carolina 26,163 SEC
24 Mississippi State 24,911 SEC
25 Missouri 23,344 SEC
26 West Virginia 22,583 B12
27 Louisville 22,535 ACC
28 Utah 21,047 P12
29 TCU 20,358 B12
30 North Carolina State 19,915 ACC
31 Texas 19,861 B12
32 Baylor 19,696 B12
33 Michigan State 19,205 B10
34 Virginia Tech 19,198 ACC
35 California 18,826 P12
36 Boise State 18,349 MW
37 Arkansas 18,307 SEC
38 Ole Miss 17,982 SEC
39 Tennessee 16,058 SEC
40 Boston College 15,479 ACC
41 UCF 15,475 AAC
42 Nebraska 15,418 B10
43 Pittsburgh 15,345 ACC
44 Kentucky 14,885 SEC
45 Oklahoma State 14,719 B12
46 Illinois 14,242 B10
47 Temple 12,732 AAC
48 Colorado 12,731 P12
49 Arizona State 12,714 P12
50 Oregon State 11,915 P12
51 San Diego State 11,413 MW
52 Houston 11,191 AAC
53 Maryland 10,729 B10
54 Minnesota 10,616 B10
55 BYU 10,390 Indy
56 UConn 10,165 Indy
57 Syracuse 9,762 ACC
58 Vanderbilt 9,241 SEC
59 Memphis 9,202 AAC
60 Cincinnati 8,922 AAC
61 Texas Tech 8,640 B12
62 Kansas State 8,638 B12
63 North Dakota State 8,447 FCS
64 Purdue 8,442 B10
65 Louisiana Tech 8,345 CUSA
66 Wake Forest 8,306 ACC
67 Indiana 8,128 B10
68 Virginia 8,112 ACC
69 Utah State 8,103 MW
70 Rutgers 7,695 B10
71 Nevada 7,415 MW
72 Western Michigan 7,020 MAC
73 SMU 6,856 AAC
74 Northwestern 6,831 B10
75 Washington State 6,751 P12
76 Duke 6,613 ACC
77 Georgia Tech 6,586 ACC
78 Fresno State 6,472 MW
79 Arizona 6,187 P12
80 South Florida 6,065 AAC
81 Wyoming 6,021 MW
82 Appalachian State 5,623 SBC
83 Central Michigan 5,512 MAC
84 Louisiana 5,315 SBC
85 Colorado State 5,213 MW
86 Florida Atlantic 5,115 CUSA
87 Southern Miss 5,080 CUSA
88 Western Kentucky 5,050 CUSA
89 Buffalo 4,407 MAC
90 FIU 4,320 CUSA
91 Iowa State 4,105 B12
92 Marshall 3,975 CUSA
93 Northern Illinois 3,949 MAC
94 Hawaii 3,940 MW
95 Tulane 3,820 AAC
96 San Jose State 3,434 MW
97 Georgia Southern 3,189 SBC
98 South Carolina State 3,112 FCS
99 Northern Iowa 3,013 FCS
100 Tulsa 2,986 AAC
101 Toledo 2,937 MAC
102 Rice 2,898 CUSA
103 Charlotte 2,845 CUSA
104 Eastern Washington 2,729 FCS
105 East Carolina 2,681 AAC
106 Samford 2,651 FCS
107 Miami (OH) 2,580 MAC
108 Delaware 2,473 FCS
109 Kansas 2,452 B12
110 UMass 2,375 Indy
111 Ohio 2,322 MAC
112 Villanova 2,193 FCS
113 Montana 2,140 FCS
114 New Mexico State 2,066 Indy
115 UTSA 2,009 CUSA
116 Middle Tennessee State 1,977 CUSA
117 Coastal Carolina 1,974 SBC
118 Troy 1,926 SBC
119 Idaho 1,797 FCS
120 North Carolina A&T 1,718 FCS
121 Arkansas State 1,694 SBC
122 Central Arkansas 1,676 FCS
123 Southern Illinois 1,675 FCS
124 Alabama State 1,653 FCS
125 UAB 1,596 CUSA
126 Tennessee State 1,589 FCS
127 UTEP 1,576 CUSA
128 Midwestern State 1,537 D2
129 Kent State 1,515 MAC
130 Chattanooga 1,465 FCS
131 Maine 1,440 FCS
132 Illinois State 1,411 FCS
133 Richmond 1,381 FCS
134 Ashland 1,320 D2
135 Southern Utah 1,315 FCS
136 South Dakota State 1,288 FCS
137 South Alabama 1,274 SBC
138 Princeton 1,235 FCS
139 Southeastern Louisiana 1,227 FCS
140 Eastern Illinois 1,204 FCS
141 Ball State 1,203 MAC
142 Sam Houston State 1,184 FCS
143 Lenoir–Rhyne 1,170 D2
144 Youngstown State 1,167 FCS
145 William & Mary 1,166 FCS
146 Eastern Kentucky 1,143 FCS
147 North Alabama 1,143 FCS
148 Towson 1,095 FCS
149 James Madison 1,084 FCS
150 Murray State 1,001 FCS
151 Harvard 930 FCS
152 Hobart 917 D3
153 Valdosta State 854 D2
154 Fort Hays State 833 D2
155 Arkansas–Pine Bluff 812 FCS
156 Abilene Christian 811 FCS
157 Lehigh 805 FCS
158 Portland State 790 FCS
159 Tarleton State 776 FCS
160 Jacksonville State 775 FCS
161 Stephen F. Austin 763 FCS
162 Charleston (WV) 760 D2
163 Western Illinois 755 FCS
164 Grand Valley State 750 D2
165 Regina 725 U Sports
166 Pittsburg State (KS) 714 D2
167 Sioux Falls 714 D2
168 West Georgia 702 D2
169 Humboldt State 698 D2
170 Missouri Southern State 698 D2
171 Hampton 698 FCS
172 Wisconsin–Whitewater 676 D3
173 Grambling State 676 FCS
174 Lamar 661 FCS
175 Northwestern State 651 FCS
176 Dayton 642 FCS
177 Missouri Western 632 D2
178 North Carolina Central 627 FCS
179 Missouri State 618 FCS
180 No College 606 N/A
181 Mount Union 600 D3
182 California (PA) 597 D2
183 Saint John's (MN) 591 D3
184 Delaware State 591 FCS
185 Yale 575 FCS
186 Manitoba 574 U Sports
187 Weber State 570 FCS
188 Cornell 565 FCS
189 Washburn 564 D2
190 Elon 560 FCS
191 Southeast Missouri State 550 FCS
192 Lindenwood 545 D2
193 The Citadel 541 FCS
194 Bucknell 533 FCS
195 East Central 527 D2
196 South Dakota 525 FCS
197 Concordia (St. Paul) 518 D2
198 Fordham 518 FCS
199 Bloomsburg 510 D2
200 Texas Southern 510 FCS
201 Furman 507 FCS
202 UT Martin 499 FCS
203 Albany State 481 D2
204 Penn 481 FCS
205 Kutztown 471 D2
206 Albion 468 D3
207 Montana State 423 FCS
208 Florida A&M 414 FCS
209 West Alabama 412 D2
210 San Diego 412 FCS
211 Central Missouri 403 D2
212 Cal Poly 400 FCS
213 Rhode Island 394 FCS
214 Slippery Rock 391 D2
215 Drake 386 FCS
216 Presbyterian 377 FCS
217 Northwest Missouri State 328 D2
218 Western Oregon 318 D2
219 McGill 315 U Sports
220 CSU–Pueblo 307 D2
221 Virginia State 305 D2
222 Wagner 285 FCS
223 Monmouth 267 FCS
224 Chadron State 251 D2
225 Prairie View A&M 244 FCS
226 Harding 242 D2
227 Alabama A&M 242 FCS
228 Newberry 240 D2
229 Marist 235 FCS
230 Saginaw Valley State 231 D2
231 West Texas A&M 231 D2
232 Ferris State 227 D2
233 New Hampshire 220 FCS
234 Northeastern State 218 D2
235 Western Carolina 216 FCS
236 Bethel (TN) 212 NAIA
237 Morgan State 206 FCS
238 Mars Hill 192 D2

Let’s digest some of these numbers:

Top Schools

  1. Alabama: 102,415 draft value points
  2. Ohio State: 72,765
  3. LSU: 68,356
  4. Clemson: 54,324
  5. Florida: 51,758
  6. Georgia: 48,315
  7. Florida State: 45,351
  8. Notre Dame: 43,723
  9. Oklahoma: 41,648
  10. USC: 40,730

If you’re any sort of college football fan, the list of top teams putting out NFL talent shouldn’t come as anything close to surprising. Of the college football playoff’s 24 wins, 23 of them are represented in the top-10 talent-producing programs. To put it simply: The good teams in college football have the better players, at least in the eyes of NFL evaluators.

In total, roughly half of the draft capital since 2011 has been spent on players from the top-23 college football programs. Over a quarter of the draft capital is spent on players from the top eight schools on this list.

The top dog is Alabama, a program only four others can claim they have produced half of the draft value of over the last 11 classes. After the 2022 draft, Georgia could be the fifth team added to the list, if Florida can keep up.

Top Group of 5 Schools

  1. Boise State: 18,349 draft value points
  2. UCF: 15,475
  3. Temple: 12,732
  4. San Diego State: 11,413
  5. Houston: 11,191
  6. BYU: 10,390
  7. UConn: 10,165
  8. Memphis: 9,202
  9. Cincinnati: 8,922
  10. Louisiana Tech: 8,345

When you split out the top Group of 5 programs in talent production, there are a lot of familiar faces, too. The top-10 is made up of teams who are talked about as dark horses to make New Year’s Six bowl games or are frequently mentioned in conference realignment. For reference, four of the teams above will be making the jump to the Big 12, a Power 5 conference, in the near future.

Boise State, the top Group of 5 program in terms of pushing talent into the NFL, actually ranks higher on this list than some Southeastern Conference programs like Ole Miss or Tennessee. Plenty of these G5 teams produce more talent than the low end of the Power 5, too. For example, 38 G5 programs rank higher than the Big 12’s Kansas, 26 rank higher than the Big 12’s Iowa State and 15 rank higher than the Pac 12’s Arizona.

UConn is the one team that sticks out like a sore thumb. The Huskies have only won more than three games in a single season once since 2012 but do a pretty good job of getting defensive players in the NFL. For whatever reason, though, it hasn’t translated to wins for the program.

While the top end of the G5 competes well with the low end of the P5, all G5 teams are not equal. For example, UNLV and Army are the only two FBS programs since 2011 that have not produced a single draft pick in the NFL.

Top “Small Schools”

  1. North Dakota State: 8,447 draft value points
  2. South Carolina State: 3,112
  3. Northern Iowa: 3,013
  4. Eastern Washington: 2,729
  5. Samford: 2,651
  6. Delaware: 2,473
  7. Villanova: 2,193
  8. Montana: 2,140
  9. Idaho: 1,797
  10. North Carolina A&T: 1,718

Outside of the FBS, there is plenty of NFL talent to be found. Players like Darius Leonard, Cooper Kupp and David Johnson have all come from the FCS ranks, which is led, by far, by the North Dakota State Bison. In fact, North Dakota State would rank 10th among all programs outside of the Power 5, putting them on par with some of the top Group of 5 programs in terms of producing NFL talent.

Among the top-35 small school programs, which includes the FCS, Division II and Division III, 32 of those teams are FCS programs, the lower classification of Division I football.

Divisional Breakdown

  • Division I (FBS & FCS): 98.68%
  • FBS (Power 5 & Group of 5): 94.46%
  • Power 5: 79.93%
  • Group of 5: 14.53%
  • FCS: 4.22%
  • Division II: 1.03%
  • Division III: 0.17%
  • U Sports (Canada): 0.08%
  • No College: 0.03%
  • NAIA: 0.01%

Nearly 97 percent of the draft capital since 2011 has been spent on Division I football players with 94 percent going toward FBS selections. Lower divisions are represented, though, with non-NCAA organizations like U Sports, Canada’s college football governing body, and the NAIA, an American NCAA alternative, producing draft picks. Two draft picks, Moritz Böhringer of Germany and Jordan Mailata of Australia, never played college football before being selected late in the NFL draft.

FBS Conference Breakdown

  • SEC: 25.22%
  • Big 10: 15.42%
  • ACC: 15.29%
  • Pac 12: 13.36%
  • Big 12: 8.29%
  • AAC: 4.17%
  • Mountain West: 3.65%
  • Independent: 3.60%
  • Conference USA: 2.39%
  • MAC: 1.75%
  • Sun Belt: 1.22%

When the data is broken down by conference, it’s easy to see why most rational college football fans consider the SEC to be the top conference in college football. On draft day, they produce roughly two-thirds more talent than the next tier of schools, made up of the Big 10, ACC and Pac 12 conferences. It’s also easy to see that the Big 12 has lagged behind the other Power 5 conferences, as they’re split fairly evenly between those programs and the top Group of 5 conference, the AAC.

Conference Realignment?

All of these numbers were calculated by indexing teams into the conferences that they played in for the 2021 college football season. With all of the changes in realignment, specifically in the Big 12, SEC, AAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA, though, it’s worth taking a look at how the movement could impact prospect production for individual conferences once the dust is settled.

NFL Draft Value Post-Realignment

Conference After Realignment Before Realignment Change
Conference After Realignment Before Realignment Change
SEC 550,411 488,902 61,509
B10 298,876 298,876 0
ACC 296,387 296,387 0
P12 258,936 258,936 0
B12 147,169 162,700 -15,531
MW 70,808 70,808 0
AAC 60,324 80,912 -20,588
Indy 56,263 69,761 -13,498
SBC 36,875 23,728 13,147
MAC 33,856 33,856 0
CUSA 24,376 46,372 -21,996

The big winners from this wave of realignment, unsurprisingly, are the SEC, which is adding Oklahoma and Texas, and the Sun Belt, which poached the top end of Conference USA. What’s interesting, though, is that the Big 12, after adding Cincinnati, BYU, Houston and UCF, will actually lose less in realignment, from an NFL talent perspective, than the AAC and Conference USA, who are the big losers in the shifting college football landscape.