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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 30, 2007 at 9:29 AM

Do draft numbers mean anything?

A post by one reader who wondered what it meant that UW had just two players selected in this year’s draft got me thinking, so I did a little research to see how UW and the Pac-10 have fared in recent years.
That the Huskies had relatively few players taken fits right in with the rest of the conference as the Pac-10 had just 28 players selected this season, the fewest since the 2001 draft when only 24 were taken.
That struck me as a little odd considering the 2000 season has often been viewed as a high point for the conference — it was the year both UW and Oregon State won BCS games, the only time the Pac-10 has won two BCS games in the same season, while Oregon beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl with all three teams finishing in the Top 10. But while UW, Oregon and OSU had a combined 10 players taken that year, the rest of the conference had just 14.
Here are the number of Pac-10 players drafted since 2001, a year I chose mostly because it was the info I had readily at hand, but also to show the most recent trends:
2001 — 24
2002 — 32
2003 — 32
2004 — 30
2005 — 33
2006 — 32
2007 — 28
Here are the number of players taken from each Pac-10 team during that time:
USC — 35
Stanford — 28
Oregon — 23
Cal — 20
Oregon State — 19
Arizona State — 18
UCLA — 17
Washington — 17
Washington State — 14
Arizona — 10
The two really surprising numbers there are Stanford having so many during a time when it’s mostly been a disaster on the field, and UCLA having so few since the perception almost always seems to be that the Bruins have as much talent as anyone.
Obviously, that Stanford ranks that high on the list could be taken as a real heartening sign for Husky fans of Tyrone Willingham’s recruiting ability, and certainly that’s likely a substantial part of it.
To play the devil’s advocate on that topic, however, recruiting experts will also tell you that Stanford tends to recruit so differently from the rest of the conference due to the unique nature of its academics that it’s hard sometimes to really judge the Cardinal’s classes to everyone else in the Pac-10.
But certainly, Willingham did a solid job during his tenure there of identifying players who could both fit Stanford’s profile and turn into NFL prospects.
Here, also, are the draft numbers for this year:
USC — 5
Cal — 4
Arizona — 4
Oregon — 3
Stanford — 3
Arizona State — 2
Oregon State — 2
Washington — 2
Washington State — 2
UCLA — 1
The amazing number there may be Oregon State going 10-4 with a senior class that yielded just two draftable players.
I think what it also means is that many teams in the Pac-10 were quite young a year ago, in particular the two LA schools. USC could double that number of drafted players next year and UCLA is certain to increase that number, as well. ASU also has probably double that number of players who could get drafted next season.
Do the Huskies? I talked to a draft expect recently about top Pac-10 prospects for the 2008 draft and he didn’t mention any UW players. But a few could certainly develop — Marcel Reece and Greyson Gunheim come most readily to mind.
Overall, I would expect that the total number of Pac-10 drafted players gets back into the 30’s next year.
As for what the past numbers say about Washington, I don’t know how they can be read in any other way other than to say the talent hasn’t been to normal standards over the last few years, something that has been glaringly obvious on the field, as well.
I know some might argue that UW coaches haven’t properly developed the talent on hand, and certainly there is merit to that.
But I also think NFL teams draft largely on pure ability — if you can run at a certain level, meet certain physical requirements, etc., they’ll take a chance. Those scouts obviously haven’t found much to their liking at UW the last few years.



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