football-fbs flag

Stan Becton | | September 15, 2023

Colleges and conferences with the most NFL first-round picks since 2000

The most successful walk-ons in recent college football history

The 21st century has seen plenty of college football's best grace the NFL with their talents, with some of college football's standout players earning the honor of being a first-round NFL draft pick each year. Here's a breakdown of where NFL first-round draft picks come from, via college and conference.

About the data

  • All data is through the 2023 NFL draft.
  • All players are listed in the conference their school was in during the season prior to their drafting. For example, a Miami player drafted in the 2004 NFL draft will count for the Big East, because the Hurricanes didn't join the ACC until the 2004 college football season. A Miami player drafted in the 2005 NFL draft will count for ACC because his final season was played in the ACC, even though the majority of his career was played in the Big East.
  • Players are counted from the school they last played for. So if a player played for three years at Texas and graduated before transferring to Alabama for his final year, and then was drafted after the season at Alabama, said player counts as an Alabama draft pick.

That said, let's get into the numbers. 

Conferences with the most NFL first-round picks

The SEC leads all conferences with 209 NFL first-round draft picks. No other conference has surpassed the 200 threshold.

No. of Picks Conference
209 SEC
129 Big Ten
116 ACC
97 Pac-12*
86 Big 12
46 Big East
15 American
14 Independent (FBS)
11 MAC, Mountain West
10 C-USA
2 Sun Belt
1 CAA^, OVC^, SoCon^

*Pac-12 also includes when the conference was called the Pac-10. Fifty-one players are from the Pac-12 era and 46 players are from the Pac-10 era.

^FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) Conference

Colleges with the most NFL first-round picks

Alabama leads all colleges with 46 NFL first-round picks, followed by Ohio State's 40 selections. Those numbers make sense when you consider the Crimson Tide made the most College Football Playoff appearances and the Buckeyes made the most BCS appearances.

No. of Picks School
46 Alabama
40 Ohio State
32 Miami (FL)
30 Georgia
27 Florida
26 LSU, Southern California
25 Florida State
20 Clemson
19 Oklahoma, Michigan
17 Texas
16 Tennessee
15 Wisconsin
14 Penn State
13 Iowa
12 Auburn, Boston College, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas A&M, Washington
11 California
10 Louisville, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Virginia Tech
9 Missouri, UCLA
8 Arizona State, Arkansas, NC State, Oklahoma State, TCU
7 Michigan State, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Stanford
6 Illinois, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia
5 Baylor, Boise State, Northwestern, Syracuse
4 Colorado, Houston, Kentucky, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas Tech
3 BYU, Fresno State, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Minnesota,
Oregon State, Rutgers, UCF, Wake Forest, Washington State
2 Arizona, Central Michigan, Duke, Jackson State, Marshall, North Dakota State,
Northern Illinois, South Florida, Temple, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB,
UConn, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan
1 Alabama State, Buffalo, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Delaware, East Carolina,
Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Miami (OH), New Mexico,
Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Tennessee State, Utah State, UTSA, Wyoming

Washington wins Pac-12 Championship, defeats Oregon and secures CFP hopes

WashingNo. 3 Washington is the 2023 Pac-12 champion, defeating No. 5 Oregon 34-31 and moving to a perfect 13-0 record — in prime position for a berth into the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Undefeated college football teams in 2023

We're following all the action as we track all the remaining undefeated college football teams in the FBS level in the 2023 season.

College football scores: Top 25 rankings, schedule, results for Week 14

Get college football scores for Week 14, including TV schedules and stats for the top 25 games.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners