- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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In the last two NFL drafts, the SEC has produced a staggering 23 first-round selections. This past draft, 10 of the first 23 picks were SEC players.
Already, we're seeing mock drafts for 2015, and the SEC is sure to be well represented again.
Who will be the top SEC player selected next year?
That's your job, so go vote in our SportsNation poll and tell us who will emerge in 2015 as the SEC's highest-drafted player.
That can be a tricky assignment at this point in the year and with so much that can happen between now and the next draft. Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was thought to be one of the SEC's marquee draft prospects heading into last season and didn't even go in the first round. By contrast, did anybody have Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson going with the No. 2 overall pick this time a year ago? I'm not even sure that thought crept into Robinson's mind last May.
The five candidates we've come up with all made Todd McShay's first mock draft for 2015, and I'm sure there are a handful of players we didn't consider putting on this list who will emerge as legitimate first-round picks.
The five we went with are all poised to have huge 2014 seasons.
Two of them are from Alabama -- safety Landon Collins and receiver Amari Cooper. If Collins does indeed go in the first round, that would mark the fifth time in the last six years that an Alabama defensive back will have gone in the first round. Cooper was slowed by injuries a year ago, but here's betting he returns to his freshman form that made him one of the most dangerous receivers in college football.
If healthy, Georgia's Todd Gurley is the total package at running back, even if running backs don't seem to be going in the first round a whole lot anymore.
Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi has a chance to be the third straight top-10 pick at offensive tackle for the Aggies, while Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. returns as one of the top big-play defensive threats in the league.
Go cast your vote, and we'll go over the results in the coming days.
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf