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2016 NFL draft superlatives in the SEC

Georgia's Leonard Floyd was the first of eight first-round picks from the SEC. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Another year, another great relationship between the NFL and the SEC. Despite having zero top-5 picks and just one top-10 pick (Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd to the Chicago Bears at No. 9) in last week's NFL draft, the SEC led the nation with eight first-round picks and 51 total selections. It was the 10th straight year the SEC led the nation in draft picks and the fifth time in the last six years that the SEC had the most players selected in the first round.

The SEC was obviously one of the biggest winners of the NFL draft, but who were some of the winning draft picks? Who surprised us? Who went too high? Too low?

Biggest team winner(s): Alabama and Florida led all SEC schools with seven draft selections apiece. Florida actually beat Alabama in first-round draft picks (2-1). Alabama went from one first-round pick (C Ryan Kelly) to having five taken in the second round. At least one Florida player has been selected in every NFL draft since 1952, the longest streak in SEC history. Florida has had seven first-round picks in the last four NFL drafts and at least one in nine of the last 10 drafts.

Better luck next year: Tennessee was the only SEC team without a single player drafted this year. No Curt Maggit, no Brian Randolph and no Marquez North. That should certainly change next year, but that had to be a tough few days for the Vols.

Biggest surprise: Not seeing Alabama defensive behemoths Reggie Ragland, Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson drafted in the first round was perplexing. Three of the SEC's best defensive players in 2015 -- and who were essentially locks for the first round -- didn't hear their names called until the second round, with Ragland, viewed by many as the top linebacker in the draft, going first at No. 41 to the Buffalo Bills.

Best/Worst night ever: It was a first round of epic proportions for Ole Miss. Star left tackle Laremy Tunsil stole headlines when he fell out of the top five, then out of the top 10 after a photo surfaced on his Twitter of him smoking out of a bong gas mask. Tunsil slid to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13, but more controversy followed when photos of an alleged text conversation between Tunsil and an Ole Miss staff member showed up on his Instagram with Tunsil allegedly asking for money. Moments later, Tunsil publicly admitted taking money from an Ole Miss staffer. Oh, and Laquon Treadwell was later selected 23rd by the Minnesota Vikings and Robert Nkemdiche was taken 29th by the Arizona Cardinals. Three first-round picks led the SEC and were the most in school history.

Best value pick: Tunsil, a franchise left tackle, was once considered the top player in the draft, and the Dolphins got away with theft by getting him at 13.

Next-best value pick: Somehow, Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard fell to the third round. The versatile lineman, who can play both inside and out, had 17.5 tackles and 6.5 sacks last year. He was viewed as a late first-round prospect, but the Bears robbed folks by getting him in the third round at No. 72.

Biggest sleeper: We all knew that Arkansas running back Alex Collins had a few things to work on to become a more complete back for the NFL. However, the Seattle Seahawks, who are saying goodbye to Marshawn Lynch, could get a solid player for the future in Collins. He's a tough runner with a little wiggle. He doesn't have top-end speed and had fumbling issues, but he was also one of three SEC backs to ever rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.

That felt high: Florida safety Keanu Neal was one of the draft's biggest risers heading into the draft, but the Atlanta Falcons taking him at 17 just felt a little too high. Neal was one of the SEC's most exciting safeties to watch with his huge hits and run-stopping abilities. He's an underrated blitzer, but he still needs work in coverage. Late first round or early second was the early thought on Neal.

Still too high: There was a lot of pre-draft chatter about Leonard Floyd slipping into the middle of the first round. Well, he went ninth. Physically, Floyd has all the tools, but his motor ran hot and cold too much at Georgia. He's a first-round talent, but top-10? Might be a reach.

Good for him: Georgia running back Keith Marshall went from tag-team star with Todd Gurley as a true freshman to battling health issues for the majority of his last three years on campus. After a limited role in 2015, Marshall declared for the draft and was taken in the seventh round (242) by Washington.

Undrafted free agents to watch:

  • Trae Elston, S, Ole Miss: Big hitter, can play in the box and has good hands. Has to improve reaction and overall coverage skills.

  • Denver Kirkland, OL, Arkansas: The NFL combine and his pro day hurt him, but Kirkland was Arkansas' most talented and athletic offensive lineman in 2015.

  • De'Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State: Big, physical receiver who can cause issues in traffic, but overall speed is a question.