Fifty-four schools produced multiple draft picks in last weekend's NFL Draft. Alabama led the way with 12. Seven picks landed a school in a tie for second place, which somehow included North Carolina State in the same breath as Ohio State. (Aside: If you're a Wolfpack fan, isn't this somewhat infuriating? NCSU went 23-16 over the last three seasons.) Central Florida had four players selected, good enough for a tie for 14th.
In a nice bit of symmetry, 54 schools had just one player selected. That's Nebraska's group, of course, the same place you'll find such schools as Maine, Humboldt State, Ferris State, Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, Penn, Yale and the nation of Australia.
Is this a problem for Nebraska?
Well, it ain't great. Especially when you consider the Huskers lone pick was a transfer who probably could've been picked––might've been better off––had he never played a season in Lincoln. As I noted in our draft roundtable, however, if everything goes according to plan for cornerback Chris Jones last season he probably gets drafted and the Huskers have at least one true draft pick that came all the way through the "program."
But it still would've just been the one pick Nebraska could claim without qualification. And that's probably not enough, even if you, like me, try to separate draftability from college success. Wisconsin, which hasn't had a recruiting class ranked in the top 25 in the last five years (average rating: 36th), had five players selected. Iowa, average 5-year recruiting class ranking of 41st, had three players selected. Based on the best approximations of talent we have, those schools aren't working with better raw materials than the Huskers, but they're winning on the field and they're winning in the draft.
In this case, Nebraska's recent draft performance feels pretty true. The Huskers were a .500 team (18-19) the last three years, but you don't need the draft to tell you that. Just look at the conference awards, a measure only of college production.
Nebraska didn't have a first-team all-conference selection on offense or defense during the Mike Riley era. (Sam Foltz was first-team All-Big Ten in 2015.) The last non-special teams players to earn that honor were Kenny Bell (coaches only) and Randy Gregory (media and coaches) in 2014.
From that perspective, the past couple of drafts have probably gone exactly as they should've for Nebraska and it might take a while to change that.
You can call your shot for how many Huskers will be selected in 2019 in our latest poll.
It's about time for additional college football win totals to start rolling out, and a new set showed up on Twitter Monday morning.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) April 30, 2018
5.5 is the early number for Nebraska, though it feels more like a conversation starter than anything. If you want to take the over, you'll have to spend $105 to win $100. Those are slightly better odds than the under––$125 to win $100––which is a small indication of how this particular book expects the market to move, but I'm guessing you'll see similar totals with different money lines a little later in the offseason.
The Grab Bag
- Clemson had a relatively quiet draft given the Tigers' recent success, but that'll change in 2019.
- Hesitant to link this because the information almost always gets misused, but here's how the first-round picks ranked as high school recruits.
- Here's a new story from Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com on how Scott Frost is remaking Nebraska.
- ICYMI: We published Derek Peteson's excellent feature on Stanley Morgan Jr. from the April issue online yesterday. Give it a read if you haven't already.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.