The SEC is the best conference in college football, I’m not here to dispute that. However, college success doesn’t always translate to the NFL.
In this year’s draft class the top two receivers are both from the SEC – A.J. Green and Julio Jones.
They appear in the top 10-15 picks in nearly every mock draft and are among the top 10 on most draft boards around the internet. As much as draftniks love to disagree, almost no one disputes the fact that Green and Jones are elite talents with bright futures.
But maybe we should be more skeptical.
Since 1998 there have been 10 SEC wide receivers selected in the 1st round and collectively they have made only one Pro Bowl appearance (Dwayne Bowe, this past season). Additionally, they’ve had just three 1,000-yard seasons (two by Bowe, one by Michael Clayton – both former LSU Tigers).
In general SEC receivers haven’t just fallen short of expectations, they’ve completely flopped in the NFL.
Just how bad has it been?
According to Pro-Football-Reference’s career approximate value (basically the NFL’s version of WAR), the best SEC receiver drafted in the past 10 years has been Donte’ Stallworth, followed by Jabar Gaffney. Yikes.
Now I’m not about to adjust my grades on Green or Jones because past SEC receivers have failed. However, I do believe the lack of success something to consider. If this trend continues, I think we need to start wondering if there is something about the style of football in the SEC that hinders the development of receivers, at least from the standpoint of their future NFL success.