Four SEC Storylines to Watch During The 2020 NFL Draft

Joe Burrow is expected to be the ninth SEC quarterback in history to be taken as the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.Brett Davis/USA Today

Tony Barnhart

I’ve never been a big NFL Draft guy but man, after this dry spell from sports, am I looking forward to this one.

It ain’t football but it’s ABOUT football and that is the closest we’re going to get for a while. And if you’re an SEC football fan you are probably going to see some history in tonight’s first round.

Here are four SEC storylines to watch in the 2020 NFL Draft.

TWO FIRST-ROUND QBs FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1952

All of mock drafts I’ve seen have LSU quarterback Joe Burrow going No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals. Then at No. 5—or at least somewhere in the first round-- quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be chosen.

That’s two SEC quarterbacks in the first round and maybe two chosen in the top five of the draft. Why is that a big deal? Because, my friend, it hasn’t happened in almost in almost 70 years.

In the 1952 NFL Draft the No. 1 pick overall was quarterback Bill Wade from Vanderbilt, who played seven seasons for the Rams and six seasons for the Bears.

At the No. 4 pick in the first round of 1951 was Vito “Babe” Parilli, who won an SEC championship playing for Paul “Bear” Bryant at Kentucky as a junior in 1950. He played 17 years of pro ball in the NFL, AFL, and Canadian Football League.

Just to show you how the world—and the game—have changed since then: In 1951 Wade (1,609 yards) and Parilli (1,643) combined to throw for 3,252 yards and 32 touchdowns. Last season Burrow (5,761) and Tagovailoa (2,941) combined for 8,511 yards passing and 93 touchdowns!

BURROW BECOMES THE NINTH SEC QB TO BE TAKEN NO. 1

The NFL Draft has taken place every year since 1936. Burrow could become the ninth SEC quarterback to be taken No. 1 overall. Here are the previous eight:

2011…………….Cam Newton, Auburn

2009………………Matthew Stafford, Georgia

2007……………….JaMarcus Russell, LSU

2004……………….Eli Manning, Ole Miss

1999……………….Tim Couch, Kentucky

1998………………..Peyton Manning, Tennessee

1952………………..Bill Wade, Vanderbilt

1948……………….Harry Gilmer, Alabama

WILL SEC POST ITS BEST EVER FIRST-ROUND?

And here’s the big SEC record that has a very good chance to fall tonight. The SEC record for most players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft is 12, which happened in 2013 and then again in 2017.

But several of the mock drafts I studied have as many as 15 players from the SEC going in the first round.

Here is a list of the SEC’s top first-round performances in the NFL Draft:

Year……………..First round picks

2017………………………...12

2013………………………....12

2014………………………….11

2007……………………….…11

2018…………………………..10

2011……………………………10

2005…………………………...10

1998…………………………...10

WILL ALABAMA TIE MIAMI’S FIRST-ROUND RECORD?

In the 11 NFL Drafts since 2009 Nick Saban’s Alabama teams have produced 29 first-round draft choices. Four times in those 11 years Alabama has had four players take in the first round: 2018, 2017, 2012 and 2011. Saban has never had five first-round picks.

Well, keep your eye out for this: Two of the four mock drafts I’ve been watching (Charles Davis, NFL Network and Todd McShay of ESPN) have as many as SIX Alabama players going in the first round:

QB Tua Tagovailoa

OT Jedrick Wills

WR Jerry Jeudy

WR Henry Ruggs III

S Xavier McKinney

CB Trevon Diggs

The record for first-round draft picks by a single school is six, which Miami had in the 2004 draft.

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