There was quite a bit of uncertainly and intrigue surrounding the 2020 NFL Draft. From technical logistics surrounding hosting a virtual Draft, to the nation's unknown interest and reaction to a live event being held, there were plenty of questions regarding this year's event. One question on the other hand, was answered resoundingly, as for the 14th consecutive season, the SEC led the nation in selections in the NFL Draft. That, however, was both expected and unsurprising by most knowledgeable observers.
The SEC left a mark on the early rounds of the 2020 version of the NFL Draft that will be remembered for quite some time, beginning the event on Thursday night by shattering the record for First Round selections with 15 picks. The previous record was 12, reached in both 2013 and 2017.
The NFL Draft began as expected, with Joe Burrow of LSU becoming the SEC's seventh No. 1 overall selection since 2004. After Georgia's Andrew Thomas was chosen at No. 4, Tua Tagovailoa became a Miami Dolphin with the fifth pick. Not only did that give the SEC three of the first five picks but gave the SEC the distinct honor of being the only conference in the NFL Draft to have two quarterbacks chosen in the first five selections.
A historic opening night continued when the SEC claimed six of the Top 10 picks, marking the most by a single conference in the first 10 selections in NFL Draft history.
When Thursday night concluded, the SEC had accounted for nearly half of the opening-round selections. The SEC has 111 First Round Draft picks since 2010, more than double of any of its peers. The next closest conference during that same time period has 54.
At the conclusion of the third round, the SEC had accounted for 40 selections, which is 38 percent of the entire Draft up until that point. That was the record for selections in previous NFL Drafts after four rounds, which the SEC accomplished in just three rounds in 2020.
The SEC concluded the 2020 NFL Draft with 63 selections, one short of the record set by the SEC in 2019. This marks the sixth straight year for the SEC to see 50 or more players taken in the NFL Draft. Only once in the last 25 years has another conference other than the SEC even seen 50 or more players drafted.
The NFL Draft set television ratings records this year ESPN recently announced, breaking all-time records for each day and for the three days in its entirety. While the Draft will be unforgettable for many due to the uniqueness caused by current events, it will be quite memorable for additional reasons in the SEC.
NFL Draft Notes - SEC leads nation for 14th consecutive year
- The SEC led the nation's conferences in NFL Draft picks for the 14th consecutive year in 2020 with 63 selections. The last time the SEC did not top the conference draft list was in 2006.
- The nation-leading 63 NFL Draft picks is the second-most in SEC history.
- The SEC finished the first three rounds with 40 selections. That ties the all-time record for the most selections by a conference through the first FOUR rounds set by the SEC in 2013 (40).
- The SEC had 20 of the first 50 picks in the draft (40%).
- This marks the sixth straight year for the SEC to see 50 or more players taken in the NFL Draft. Only once in the last 25 years has another conference other than the SEC seen 50 or more players drafted.
- Thirteen SEC teams boasted selections in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.
- This is the fourth consecutive year the SEC has seen 25 or more players selected through the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.
- The SEC has averaged over 50 selections per draft since 2006.
- LSU set a school and SEC record with 14 total selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. This ties the all-time record for a single school in the NFL Draft.
- For the ninth time in the last 10 years, the SEC once again led the nation in First Round NFL Draft selections, as the league produced a record 15 opening-round draft picks.
- During the last 14 NFL Drafts, the SEC has a nation-leading 135 players taken in the opening round, an average of nearly 10 per season.
- LSU's Joe Burrow is the SEC's seventh No. 1 overall pick since 2004 and first since 2017.
- The SEC sets a NFL Draft record with six of the first 10 selections. The SEC's previous high was five Top-10 picks in 2011.
- The SEC became the first conference in the modern Draft era with two quarterbacks selected in the Top 5.
- The SEC now has an impressive 111 First Round NFL Draft selections since 2010.
- Since 2010, the SEC has over double (111) the total amount of First Round selections than the next closest conference (ACC - 54).
- Six different SEC teams (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina) had a player taken in the First Round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
- The SEC now has 40 Top-10 picks since 2009 and 46 since 2007.