Alabama Crimson Tide: Melvin Ingram
The oldest cliché in football is that you win up front.
The more I watch the sport, especially in this league, the more I’m convinced that it’s not just a cliché.
I went back and looked at which schools in the SEC had produced the most offensive and defensive linemen to be selected in the top three rounds of the NFL draft over the past five years.
Any guesses which school topped that list?
Not surprisingly, Alabama and Florida tied with six apiece.
The Gators have had three offensive linemen and three defensive linemen go in the top three rounds.
Right behind Alabama and Florida (surprise, surprise) was LSU with five.
In fourth place was Auburn with four.
And with those four schools, you have the past seven national champions.
Every SEC school but Texas A&M has had at least one offensive or defensive lineman go in the top three rounds dating to the 2008 draft. Von Miller went No. 2 overall in the 2011 draft, but he was an outside linebacker.
Not since Chris Ruhman went in the second round of the 1998 draft have the Aggies had an offensive or defensive lineman drafted in the first two rounds. That’s getting ready to change, because offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is being projected as a top 5 pick in the 2013 draft, and defensive end Damontre Moore could also go in the first round.
In addition to Texas A&M, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky are the only other schools in the league that haven’t produced a first-round selection in the offensive or defensive line over the past five years.
LSU leads the SEC with the most first-round defensive linemen over the past five years with three -- Michael Brockers in 2012, Tyson Jackson in 2009, and Glenn Dorsey in 2008.
South Carolina has put together its best run in school history despite producing very few premium draft selections up front. Defensive end Melvin Ingram went in the first round last year, and is the only offensive or defensive lineman for the Gamecocks to go in the top three rounds over the past five years.
South Carolina hasn’t had an offensive lineman go in the first or second round of the draft since Ernest Dye was taken in the first round in 1993.
LSU is the only school in the league to have produced an offensive or defensive lineman that was taken in the first four rounds each of the past five years.
Mississippi State had defensive tackle Fletcher Cox go in the first round last year, and offensive tackle Derek Sherrod go in the first round in 2011. Prior to that two-year run, the last offensive or defensive lineman from Mississippi State to go in the first round was defensive end Glen Collins in 1982.
Tennessee has gone five straight years without an offensive lineman being selected in the first three rounds of the draft. The Vols haven’t had an offensive lineman go in the first round since tackles Charles McRae and Antone Davis went Nos. 7 and 8 overall in the 1991 draft.
Below is a listing for each SEC school of the offensive and defensive linemen selected in the top three rounds of the draft over the past five years:
- Alabama: 6 (Four OL, Two DL. Three first-rounders)
- Florida: 6 (Three OL, Three DL. Three first-rounders)
- LSU: 5 (One OL, Four DL. Three first-rounders)
- Auburn: 4 (No OL, Four DL. One first-rounder)
- Ole Miss: 3 (Two OL, One DL. Two first-rounders)
- Arkansas: 2 (No OL, Two DL. No first-rounders)
- Georgia: 2 (One OL, One DL. No first-rounders)
- Kentucky: 2 (No OL, Two DL. No first-rounders)
- Mississippi State: 2 (One OL, One DL. Two first-rounders)
- Missouri: 2 (No OL, Two DL. Two first-rounders)
- Tennessee: 2 (No OL, Two DL. Two first-rounders)
- South Carolina: 1 (No OL, One DL. One first-rounder)
- Vanderbilt: 1 (One OL, no DL. One first-rounder)
Projecting Impact Teams in 2015 Recruiting
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35