NFL Draft’s 1st Round:
Miami, FSU, Clemson, Boston College, UNC
Among ACC Programs In Modern-Day “Top 25”

By David Glenn

North Carolina Sports Network

Although the first round of the National Football League’s annual player draft often has been dominated by selections from the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference, seven Atlantic Coast Conference programs also rank among the nation’s top 25 in recent decades when it comes to producing first-round NFL picks.

Since 2000, Miami (with 32 first-round selections), Florida State (25) and Clemson (20) all have ranked among the top 10 producers of first-round NFL talent. Boston College (12), Louisville (10), North Carolina (10) and Virginia Tech (10) also have placed in the national top 25 during that period.

The Seminoles (defensive end Jared Verse), Tigers (cornerback Nate Wiggins) and Tar Heels (quarterback Drake Maye) are likely to add to their impressive totals in this year’s draft, which begins Thursday in Detroit and is expected to draw more than 10 million viewers for its opening-night, first-round coverage.

Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton is likely to be picked in this year’s first round, too. If that happens, he will become the Blue Devils’ ninth first-round pick ever and just the third since the turn of the century.

Here’s the full list of the 28 college programs that have had 10 or more first-round NFL draft picks since 2000.

School, Conference—”Recent” 1st-Round NFL Picks
(Since 2000)

1. Alabama, SEC—46
2. Ohio State, Big Ten—40
3. Miami, ACC—32
4. Georgia, SEC—30
5. Florida, SEC—27
6. LSU, SEC—26
6. Southern California, Pac-12—26 (moving to Big Ten)
8. Florida State, ACC—25
9. Clemson, ACC—20
10. Michigan, Big Ten—19
10. Oklahoma, Big 12—19 (moving to SEC)
12. Texas, Big 12—17 (moving to SEC)
13. Tennessee, SEC—16
14. Wisconsin, Big Ten—15
15. Penn State, Big Ten—14
16. Iowa, Big Ten—13
17. Auburn, SEC—12
17. Boston College, ACC—12
17. Notre Dame, independent—12
17. Oregon, Pac-12—12 (moving to Big Ten)
17. Texas A&M, SEC—12
17. Washington, Pac-12—12 (moving to Big Ten)
23. California, Pac-12—11 (moving to ACC)
24. Louisville, ACC—10
24. North Carolina, ACC—10
24. Mississippi, SEC—10
24. South Carolina, SEC—10
24. Virginia Tech, ACC—10

This year’s NFL draft is expected to continue the above-mentioned themes, with a large majority of the first-round picks coming from programs that are current — or soon-to-be — members of the SEC, Big Ten or ACC.

The top-ranked quarterbacks in the Class of 2024 are from Southern Cal (Caleb Williams), LSU (Jayden Daniels), UNC (Maye), Michigan (JJ McCarthy) and Oregon (Bo Nix).

The top-ranked wide receivers this year are from Ohio State (Marvin Harrison Jr.), LSU (Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr.), Washington (Rome Odunze), Texas (Adonai Mitchell) and Georgia (Ladd McConkey).

The most highly regarded offensive linemen are from Notre Dame (Joe Alt), Penn State (Olu Fashanu) and Alabama (JC Latham). The top-rated defensive linemen are from Alabama (Dallas Turner), Florida State (Verse), Texas (Byron Murphy II) and UCLA (Laiatu Latu).

In many 2024 mock drafts, 30 of this year’s 32 first-round selections are projected to come from current and soon-to-be members of the SEC, Big Ten and ACC.

Here’s the full list of 17 college conferences — again, with the SEC, Big Ten and ACC leading the way — that have produced one or more first-round NFL draft picks since 2000.

Conference—”Recent” 1st-Round NFL Picks
(Since 2000)

1. Southeastern Conference (SEC)—209
2. Big Ten Conference (B1G)—129
3. Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)—116
4. Pac-12—97
5. Big 12—86
6. Big East—46
7. American Athletic Conference (AAC)—15
(Independents; mainly Notre Dame—14)
8. Mid-American Conference (MAC)—11
8. Mountain West Conference (MWC)—11
10. Conference USA (CUSA)—10
11. Western Athletic Conference (WAC)—8
12. Missouri Valley Conference (MVC)—3
12. Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)—3
14. Sun Belt Conference (SBC)—2
15. Coastal Athletic Association (CAA)—1
15. Ohio Valley Conference (OVC)—1
15. Southern Conference (SoCon)—1