While it will be years before we know which NFL teams won and lost on this year's draft, we can hand out grades at the college level right away. The Wall Street Journal did just that, assessing each school's draft performance by awarding points for each of the 256 draftees (256 points for the No. 1 overall pick, 255 for No. 2 and so on).
Florida State was the clear winner from the ACC with a total of seven draft picks for a total of 1,251 points. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was the Seminoles top pick in the draft after getting selected 28th overall by the Carolina Panthers. FSU's 1,251 ranked third in the nation behind only LSU (9 picks, 1,268 points) and Notre Dame (8 picks, 1,255 points).
ACC newcomer Louisville (879 points), Clemson (748) and North Carolina (727) also cracked the WSJ's top 10. But what about the rest of the conference?
Here are the ACC schools that put the most talent in this year's NFL Draft, based on how high their players were chosen (256 points for the top pick, 1 for Mr. Irrelevant):
|1. Florida State / ACC||7||1,251||WR Kelvin Benjamin (28th, Panthers)|
|2. Louisville / American||4||879||FS Calvin Pryor (18th, Jets)|
|3. Clemson / ACC||5||748||WR Sammy Watkins (4th, Bills)|
|4. North Carolina / ACC||5||727||TE Eric Ebron (10th, Lions)|
|5. Pittsburgh / ACC||3||477||DT Aaron Donald (13th, Rams)|
|6. Virginia Tech / ACC||3||455||CB Kyle Fuller (14th, Bears)|
|7. Virginia / ACC||3||366||OT Morgan Moses (66th, Redskins)|
|8. Boston College / ACC||4||311||RB Andre Williams (113th, Giants)|
|9. Georgia Tech / ACC||3||292||LB Jeremiah Attaochu (50th, Chargers)|
|10. Syracuse / ACC||2||272||DT Jay Bromley (74th, Giants)|
|11. Miami / ACC||3||250||G Brandon Linder (93rd, Jaguars)|
|12. Maryland / ACC||1||177||CB Dexter McDougle (80th, Jets)|
|13. Duke / ACC||1||148||CB Ross Cockrell (109th, Bills)|
|14. North Carolina State / ACC||1||128||CB Dontae Johnson (129th, 49ers)|
|15. Wake Forest / ACC||1||39||WR Michael Campanaro (218th, Ravens)|
Boston College acquitted itself pretty well this year with four draft picks for a total of 311 points. That was good for seventh in the conference; eighth when including ACC newcomer Louisville. Not bad at all; especially when BC wasn't one of 11 ACC programs represented in the draft's first 100 selections.
It's interesting how these rankings closely resemble a typical year's recruiting class rankings in the ACC. Florida State and Clemson top the conference, with North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech not too far behind them. You can find Duke and Wake Foret at the other end of the table, as you can in most year's class rankings. Recruiting rankings matter?
The one real surprise here is Miami. After years of stockpiling talent and owning the NFL Draft, Miami hasn't had a first round pick since 2008 (and just barely, as safety Kenny Phillips went last in the 2008 draft's first round to the Giants). The Hurricanes 250 points were good for just 10th in the conference (11th when you include Louisville) and ahead of only Maryland, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest. It'll be interesting to see if Miami rebounds over the next few years as Al Golden continues to build down in Coral Gables, or whether the golden era of Hurricanes in the NFL Draft is now in our rear-view mirror. Pun intended.