Missouri and Kansas were the surprises of college football last season; they finished Nos. 4 and 7, respectively, in the final AP poll for 2007. But they had only one player (Kansas CB Aqib Talib) combined selected in the top 100. Three possible reasons: A.) good coaching; B.) weak league; or C.) they're young and their best talent is returning.
The only team other than Missouri that finished in the AP top 10 that didn't have a top-100 pick is Georgia. The Bulldogs seemingly have everyone back and many are picking them to win it all in 2008.
College coaches always have told me they'll go anywhere for a quality defensive linemen. Well, the pro guys proved it. Six of the top 10 picks in the draft were defensive linemen (four ends, two tackles). Of the top-100 picks, 22 were defensive linemen (or more than one-fifth).
It's clear pro teams focus on positions early in the draft where players of "good value" are harder to come by than in the free-agency market. Five of the top six positions drafted among the top 100 are considered "pricey" relative to other positions in free agency. Running backs can be relatively cheap in free agency, but defensive ends, defensive tackles, offensive tackles, cornerbacks and wide receivers demand a premium. So are teams picking the best available player or are they picking the best value?
The state of Texas had only one native picked in the first round (Kansas CB Aqib Talib), but had five in each of the second and third rounds. The states of Florida and California, meanwhile, dominated the first round with five picks each. With three picks, the state of Virginia fared extremely well in the first round (Chris Long, Jerod Mayo and Duane Brown).
The first Ohio player taken was at No. 48 (USC TE Fred Davis, originally from Toledo). But the state finished strong, with five taken in the top 100.
There was either a lack of respect for inside linebackers or the quality was down in this draft. Only two were selected among the top 100 – Keith Rivers and Curtis Lofton.
No high school produced two picks in the top 100. The first high school to have two players taken in the draft was Tustin (Calif.) High. USC OT Sam Baker (No. 21) and UNLV LB Beau Bell (No. 104) played high school football together. NFL running back DeShaun Foster and defensive end Frostee Rucker also played for the Tillers (yes, that's their nickname). Several other high schools had multiple picks and we'll discuss those Tuesday.