Big Ten Set to Kick Off 2008 NFL Draft With First Overall Pick
April 24, 2008
Park Ridge, Ill. - Michigan All-American Jake Long leads the Big Ten's contingent of top players set for another strong showing in the National Football League (NFL) Draft. Long will become the 13th Big Ten student-athlete to be selected first overall when the 2008 event takes place from April 26-27 in New York.
Miami holds the top pick in the draft and has already announced that the team has come to contractual terms with Long and will select him with the No. 1 pick. The two-time Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year becomes the first offensive lineman to go first overall since 1997, when St. Louis selected Ohio State's Orlando Pace. Long will be the 13th Big Ten standout to be chosen No. 1 and the first since Penn State's Courtney Brown in 2000. The complete list of overall top picks from the Big Ten appears below.
Over the last five years, an average of 36.6 Big Ten student-athletes has been chosen in the NFL Draft on an annual basis, including six first-round selections per year. The Big Ten and the SEC are the only two conferences to boast an average of at least 36 players and six first-rounders since 2003. At least 40 Big Ten players have been drafted on two occasions, including a high of 44 selections in 2004, a total that ranks second over the last five drafts to the ACC's 51 players chosen in 2006.
Among Big Ten teams, Ohio State ranks first nationally with 39 players chosen by NFL teams over the past five years, followed by Miami of Florida (36), Florida State (33) and Southern California (30). Fourteen Buckeyes were drafted in 2004, the highest single-season total for any school over the five-year span.
The Big Ten and SEC top all conferences with five different institutions boasting at least 20 NFL selections over the last five years, followed by the ACC (3), Big 12 (3) and Pac-10 (2). Other Big Ten programs to produce 20 or more NFL draft picks since 2003 include Michigan (23), Penn State (21), Iowa (20) and Wisconsin (20), while Purdue has recorded 18 NFL draftees during that time.
The Big Ten will hold the 2008 Football Media Days and 37th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 24-25, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, featuring all 11 head coaches and some of the conference's top returning players. The 113th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Saturday, August 30, with 10 of 11 schools in action.
*first ever NFL Draft
What the NFL is Saying
Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens Director of College Scouting
Herm Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach
Greg Gabriel, Chicago Bears Director of College Scouting
Jim Lippincott, Cincinnati Bengals Director of Football Operations and Lead Scout
Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts President
Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings Vice President for Player Personnel