SEC should dominate in NFL Draft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2000

The Southeastern Conference should be mentioned more than the name Elian on a morning news show when the National Football League Draft takes place Saturday and Sunday in New York City.

There are seven rounds to the NFL draft and a total of 254 players will be selected. The Cleveland Browns have the most selections in the draft this season, selecting 14 players.

Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN, who some consider a draft expert, expects seven SEC players to be selected in the first round.

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Kiper predicts the Washington Redskins will select Alabama offensive lineman Chris Samuels in the first round.

Two picks later, Tennessee running back Jamal Lewis is expected to be taken by Baltimore.

Lewis had a great showing in the NFL Combine and saw his stock rise a great deal before NFL scouts.

Florida wide receiver Travis Taylor is projected by Kiper to go to Denver with the 10th pick of the draft.

The New York Giants, following Denver, are expected to take Alabama running back Shaun Alexander.

Personally I like Alexander over Lewis.

There’s one thing for sure about both running backs, though. Don’t expect either of these guys to be in Sports Illustrated next year talking about how bad their offensive line was or how much they hate the city or the fans they end up performing before.

Kiper said Detroit, with pick No. 20, are set to take Tennessee offensive lineman Cosey Colman.

South Carolina linebacker/defensive end John Abraham is picked to go to Carolina at No. 23.

The Buffalo Bills select the third Tennessee player with the No. 26 pick in defensive lineman Shaun Ellis.

Joel Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly expects eight SEC players to be selected in the first round, starting with Samuels going to Cincinnati with the fourth pick.

Buchsbaum goes with some of the same people as Kiper, but believes Tennessee safety Deon Grant will go to Oakland at No. 17.

He expects Ole Miss offensive lineman Todd Wade to be a Buccaneer after being taken at No. 27.

Tennessee linebacker Raynock Thompson is not expected to go far when the Titans take him with No. 30. Frank Coyle of the Draft Insiders’ Digest expects eight SEC players to be selected in the first round. Coyle sees Seattle taking Wade with pick No. 22. expects seven SEC players to be selected in the first round, led by Samuels to Washington. CNN has Wade going to the St. Louis Rams at No. 31.

If these predictions come true, it will be the most SEC players selected since seven were taken in the 1989 draft. In that year, Alabama’s Derrick Thomas was the first SEC player selected, going fourth to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Overall, Notre Dame has had the most players selected in the first round with 58, followed by Southern Cal (56), Ohio State (50), Miami, Fla. (35), Michigan (35) and Florida (32). Alabama is eighth in first round picks overall with 30 and Tennessee ninth with 29. LSU comes in No. 13 with 25. Arkansas is No. 19 with 20, while Auburn is No. 20 with 19. Georgia comes in at No. 31 with 14; Kentucky is No. 37 with 11; Mississippi State is at No, 40 with 11, while Ole Miss is 41st with 10. South Carolina have 5 and 4, respectively. The SEC has had 210 players taken in the history of the first round in the NFL Draft. That is second most among all collegiate conferences. The Big Ten has had the most players selected with 233.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at