*** All draft pick numbers are total, historical picks ***
There is more parity in college football because the good players can go to more schools and still make it to the NFL.
For years, top high school football recruits would insist on only attending Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, USC, Penn State, Ohio State, and a few other big-time football schools. Why?
Because they hoped to be drafted and end up in the NFL. Back then you needed to go to this group of schools to be noticed by the NFL scouts and coaches. Now you can be drafted and make the NFL after playing for virtually any school.
Technology has allowed scouts to find that left guard from Albany State (16 draft picks), the nose tackle from St. Ambrose (7 draft picks), or the running back from Willamette (7 draft picks).
Now an agent, school administrator, parent, friend, or anyone has the means of creating a video, posting it on YouTube, and sending an email to the NFL. Or better yet, this person can pass it around the school and friends, and create an on-line buzz for that person. If that player truly has any of the professional caliber characteristics, he can count on getting at least come consideration.
Let’s not forget ESPN and the other sports cable networks. There are cameras and videos everywhere in our society. (A great example is how often you see a great or bizarre High School Sports play ending up in the SportCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day.)
Obviously there are many other factors involved such as the quality of the competition. But if that Division III lineman (for example) is 6′ 3″, 280 lbs, and can bench 225 lbs 25 times, some team(s) will take a peek at him.
A good example was Wayne Chrebet. Wayne was this little possession receiver from Hoftstra. Hofstra was this insignificant school on the collegiate football scene. He was discovered, and went on to have a solid professional career with the NJ Jets.
Take a peek at this chart of the history of NFL draft. Two things to notice: (1) There are over 100 schools with over 50 draft picks, and (2) Scroll to the bottom of the list and notice some of the schools… ELON, Lamar, Howard Payne…. (Of course that chart does not tell us how many of them “made it”. It does show you can be found anywhere.)
So let’s hear it for last year’s Appalachian State and many more going forward.
*** I was reading Ivan Maisel’s book, The Maisel Report. It spurred a lot of thought and this post on college football. It’s a great book for the college football fan. Ivan, a Senior Writer for ESPN, shows he has “big balls” the way he pulls no punches talking about coaches and players who he will have to interview in the coming weeks. I recommend picking up the book. (I have no financial stake in this book. Ivan is a friend of a friend.)***
(photo pictures.gi.zimbio.com allthingsfootball.files.wordpress.com)