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Big Ten Football: Top 100 NFL Draft Picks

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It's the offseason. Enjoy tables of arbitrary statistics sandwiched between unfiltered conjecture.

Movin' in the right direction
Movin' in the right direction
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Great players make great coaches.  The more good players you put on the field, the better coach you become.  It's science.

NFL coaches know this maxim, too.  That's why, with a few exceptions - usually the Jets and Bills and Browns - pro franchises choose players who share a common trait - collegiate production.    A top 100 pick is a gifted athlete who, typically, showed that he was better than everyone he faced in college.  By extension, then, the more top 100 picks you have on your college team, the better your college team ought to be - and the smarter you are proven to be as a coach.

The NFL Draft as we now know it began in 1969 - the first "common" draft following the merger of the AFL with the NFL.  Let's take a look at a few Big Ten schools over the decades to see how many top 100 selections each produced.

(It's the off season.  What else are you going to do?)

Top 100 NFL Draft Picks By Decade

Penn State
DB 
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 0 1 3 9 8 0 5 2 1 29
1980 - 1989 2 0 2 6 6 1 7 2 3 29
1990 - 1999 1 0 1 4 4 2 4 3 4 23
2000 - 2009 5 3
4 3 2 0 2 0 4 23
2006 - 2015 0 2 4 4 3 0 1 0 4 18

You already know the tale - things ain't what they used to be.   And they used to be great.  The biggest difference, in terms of top 100 selections, can be found in the rush offense.  In the 1970s, 80's, and 90's, Penn State produced 15, 15, and 11 top 100 picks from its offensive line, tight ends, and running backs.  In the most recent 10 drafts, Penn State's given the pros just four - Donovan Smith, Stefan Wisniewski ('11), Levi Brown ('07), and Tony Hunt ('07).

Encouragement?  The recent recruiting classes appear capable of reversing that trend.

Michigan

Michigan DB 
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 3 2 0 4 5 0 4 3 4 25
1980 - 1989 5 2 1 1 6 1 4 2 1 23
1990 - 1999 2 0 0 0 7 2 5 1 5 22
2000 - 2009 3 1 1 4 5 1 3 1 4 23
2006 - 2015 1 3 2 4 2 1 0 0 2 15

Penn State's not the only Big Ten squad that's seen better days, for much of the same reason.  The Fighting Schembechlers sent 12, 12, and 13 top 100 offensive linemen, running backs, and tight ends to the NFL in the 70's, 80's, and 90's.  In the last ten drafts, they've produced just two.

Nebraska

Nebraska DB
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 1 2 2 6 7 1 6 0 1 26
1980 - 1989 3 3 2 2 5 0 7 2 2 26
1990 - 1999 7 4 1 4 4 0 3 1 0 24
2000 - 2009 4 3 1 2 3 0 1 0 1 15
2006 - 2015 2 1 1 3 1 0 2 0 0 10

Hello, darkness, my old friend.

Was:

dean

Is:

nice

(Also, the answer to your question is Vince Ferragamo).

Michigan State

Sparty DB DE DT LB OL QB RB TE WR Total
1970 - 1979 2 1 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 8
1980 - 1989 1 0 0 2 3 0 1 1 3 11
1990 - 1999 0 1 3 4 4 1 0 0 3 16
2000 - 2009 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 4 9
2006 - 2015 3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 7

Sometimes things don't make sense.  Within the Big Ten, those sometimes are called Sparty.  "I drove to the store to pick up milk and bread, but Sparty.  And now I don't have any pants."

Mark Dantonio, though, has at least two top 100 players on his roster in 2015, at two critical positions - QB and DE.  Expect Sparty's total to climb into double digits before too long.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin DB 
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 3
1980 - 1989 2 1 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 9
1990 - 1999 1 2 0 0 5 0 1 0 1 10
2000 - 2009 2 2 1 1 5 0 3 2 3 19
2006 - 2015 1 2 0 2 8 1 3 3 1 21

Irritating, isn't it?   Bucky the Badger Blew Bovines.  Boisterously.  Most recently, they've put 14 OL, RB, and TE into the top 100 selections in April.  Fortunately, the defense still sucks, which is why they play like garbage on the road, and choke in nearly every bowl game.

Ohio State

Ohio State DB 
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 6 0 1 5 7 0 5 1 2 27
1980 - 1989 3 0 0 5 3 1 1 2 1 16
1990 - 1999 7 1 1 6 2 1 4 1 5 28
2000 - 2009 9 3 4 6 3 0 2 1 5 33
2006 - 2015 4 3 2 4 3 0 2 1 6 25

How we all long for the days of Earle Bruce.  Or even John Cooper, who disproved the maxim that great players make smart coaches.

Ohio State's 33 top 100 selections in the 2000's was tops for any Big Ten squad in any decade, and is nearly double Penn State's most recent 10 years (18).  Tressel, whether Buckeye fans are smart enough to realize it or not, set the standard for Columbus (even if they got stomped twice in title games).  Curiously, it was less about the trenches, and more about the little, fast guys - DBs and WRs.  Ted Ginn, Chris Gamble, Santonio Holmes, Michael Jenkins, Donte Whitner, Mike Doss - the dudes catching Terrell Pryor arm punts, returning kicks, and - in our case - making pick sixes.

Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers

BTPR DB 
DE 
DT 
LB 
OL 
QB 
RB 
TE 
WR 
Total
1970 - 1979 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1980 - 1989 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
1990 - 1999 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2
2000 - 2009 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 1 5
2006 - 2015 3 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 2 10

This is here so we can all finish this with a laugh.  Imagine "10" being the glory days, and proceed to the comments with a smile.