Alabama Has Become The NFL’s Pipeline, But The League’s Highest-Paid Come From Elsewhere

Quinnen Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide smiles before taking on Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)


The Southeastern Conference, as usual, dominated this year’s NFL Draft. The SEC produced a record 64 draft picks, breaking its own record of 63 from 2013. That’s slightly more than one-fourth of this year’s draft class.

Alabama led the way with 10 players selected, giving it three consecutive years atop the school leaderboard.

According to Spotrac, Alabama has 73 players under NFL contracts. That’s by far the most for any school, ahead of LSU (63), Ohio State (61), USC (53), Miami (51), Florida (50), Florida State (49), Clemson (48), Georgia (46), Notre Dame (46), Penn State (45), Michigan (42), Auburn (42), Oklahoma (41), Tennessee (40) and Texas A&M (39). Of those 16 schools, seven reside in the SEC.

For all of Alabama’s dominance, it is not even close to No. 1 in terms of 2019 salary-cap hit. Among schools with at least 15 players under contract, Purdue is first at $4.13 million, followed by Georgia ($3.90 million), Colorado ($3.83 million), California ($3.46 million), South Carolina ($3.36 million), Stanford ($3.25 million), Wisconsin ($3.17 million), Florida State ($3.08 million), Kentucky ($3.03 million) and Florida ($3.0 million). That’s four SEC schools in the top 10. Alabama is way down the list with an average 2019 cap hit of $2.15 million.

In terms of total contract, five of the top 12 schools reside in the SEC. Georgia is No. 1 with $788.3 million, followed by Cal ($719.0 million), USC ($681.7 million), LSU ($654.9 million), Alabama ($651.1 million), Miami ($577.3 million), Florida ($494.4 million), Oklahoma ($483.3 million), Ohio State ($445 million), Michigan ($443.9 million), Florida State ($418.1 million) and Mississippi ($402.7 million).

The SEC continues to dominate the football landscape. It has produced the most draft picks in each of the last 13 drafts. The league cranked out nine first-round picks – including three of the top seven picks – plus 13 more in the second and six more in the third. That gave the SEC a whopping 28 picks in the first three rounds.

The Big Ten was next with 40 picks, followed by the Pac-12 with 33, ACC with 28 and Big 12 with 26. No other conference produced more than the AAC’s 11.


2019 draft by conference

SEC: 64

Big Ten: 40

Pac-12: 33

ACC: 28

Big 12: 26

AAC: 11

Mountain West: 10

MAC: 9

Independent: 8

FCS: 7

C-USA: 6

Division II: 5



Big Sky: 1

Ohio Valley: 1

Sun Belt: 1

2019 draft by school

Alabama: 10

Ohio State: 9

Oklahoma: 8

Washington: 8

Georgia: 7

Texas A&M: 7

Auburn: 6

Clemson: 6

Notre Dame: 6

Ole Miss: 6

Penn State: 6

Florida: 5

Kentucky: 5

Miami: 5

Michigan: 5

Mississippi State: 5

Stanford: 5

Utah: 5

West Virginia: 5

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