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The 2013 NFL Draft And The Pac-12: Breaking Down Numbers

CGB looks at a few numbers from the NFL draft. Does it mean anything? PROBABLY NOT! But we look anyway, because why not?

I can't say I had Dion Jordan at the top of my Pac-12 draft board a year ago.
I can't say I had Dion Jordan at the top of my Pac-12 draft board a year ago.
Al Bello

The NFL Draft is over, and in case you were curious, here's how the Pac-12 fared:

Total draft picks: 28

Arizona: No picks
Arizona State: No picks
California: 4 picks (3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th)
Colorado: 2 picks (4th, 6th)
Oregon: 5 picks (1st, 1st, 2nd, 6th, 6th)
Oregon State: 2 picks (3rd, 7th)
Stanford: 3 picks (2nd, 4th, 5th)
UCLA: 4 picks (1st, 4th, 5th, 6th)
>USC: 4 picks (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th)
Utah: 2 picks (1st, 7th)
Washington: 1 pick (1st)
Washington State: 1 pick (7th)

Now is the time to laugh at all of those pathetic teams that had fewer players drafted than Cal. Utah, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State? Lame teams, and Cal beat them all when it mattered!

But Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon State all ranged from solid to pretty good last year. Perhaps their lack of draft picks indicates that most of their talent is returning this fall? Well, Ted Miller took a stab at it and found that Cal, UCLA and Utah are a bit below the rest of the conference, who all are returning between 15 and 18 of the 22 starters on offense or defense. Make of that what you will.

What did we learn? Probably a bunch of stuff that we learn most years. The high end talent is typically stays in the state of California (or, at least lately, heads to Eugene) and everybody else can struggle to recruit the type of talent that frequently results in NFL interest. Of the 28 players from Pac-12 schools selected in the draft, 20 came from Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, or Oregon.

Ah, but does NFL talent correlate with team success at the collegiate level? Obviously it does to some degree. Stanford, Oregon and UCLA were by far the three best teams in the conference last year, and USC would likely have joined them if the impacts of scholarship restrictions and the impacts of Lane Kiffin's coaching hadn't handicapped them.

But what about our Bears? Many teams would be thrilled with four draft picks, but 2013 was the worst showing since 2006 when you evaluate by looking at both the amount of players drafted and how highly they were picked:

2013: 4
2012: 6
2011: 4 (1 first round)
2010: 3 (2 first round)
2009: 3 (1 first round)
2008: 6
2007: 4 (1 first round)
2006: 3
2005: 5 (1 first round)
2004: 2
2003: 4 (2 first round)

Broken record department: The Tedford era sure was great at producing pro talent. If Keenan Allen hadn't sprained his knee, Cal very likely might have had a player drafted in the 1st round for a 5th straight year would have had the 9th first round pick of the Tedford era. But you might be surprised to learn that the Holmoe era wasn't so bad at producing NFL talent either:

2002: 2
2001: 2 (1 first round)
2000: 4 (1 first round)
1999: 4
1998: 4

The lesson? Thanks to reputation and location, Cal will ALWAYS have at least some NFL level talent on the roster. Just look: in the last 16 years, Cal has always had at least two players drafted, something that four Pac-12 teams couldn't even manage this year. I have no doubt that Sonny Dykes will be able to continue that trend. The more important question: Can he either up the volume of NFL-type talents or combine what he has into a cohesive, well coached unit?