In the wake of NFL Draft week, it's always fascinating to see where touted guys end up their college careers from a pro perspective. No doubt it's a different type of game. Just because the NFL personnel folks weren't sold on Kellen Moore, Case Keenum and Chris Polk doesn't mean those guys weren't outstanding college players. They were.
An intriguing subplot is the production vs. potential dynamic. I went back and looked at the 2009 recruiting class -- guys who would fall into the vaunted Three-and-Out category. That term is often used by coaches in regard to elite talent who on first glance when they go through a training camp have the physical “Wow!” factor. Of course, players can end up Three-and-Outs also because of some character issues or bad judgment, too. The results of this weekend should've hammered that point home quite well.
The 2009 signing class produced seven Three-and-Outs: Two became first-rounders, and both were Bama products: Trent Richardson and Dre Kirkpatrick; one was a second-rounder, LSU WR Reuben Randle; another was a seventh-rounder, K-State via Tennessee RB Bryce Brown (widely touted as the top overall recruit in the class) and three others, ASU LB Vontaze Burfict, McNeese State via Tennessee DB Janzen Jackson and UNC DE Donte Paige-Moss, did not get drafted at all. All three had major character concerns dogging their NFL prospects.
It's not a stretch to think that when college coaches talk about having to often "de-recruit" these days when they end up with hyped guys, it frequently doesn't work out. Many of these guys often have such a warped perspective by the time they get through the recruiting process, and things like that have only grown and become more problematic since the spotlight on that world has widened and brightened dramatically in the past five years.
• I doubt anyone would've predicted a few years ago that Florida, the BCS champs in 2009, would not have had a player selected in the first 113 picks or only have two guys taken in the entire draft.
The bulk of this draft class came from the 2008 recruiting class. That year Florida's signing class, ranked No. 3 by Rivals.com, had 16 players ranked as a five- or four-star prospect, a staggering number, especially when you consider that was 16 out of 22 signees. (This isn't one of those cases where cynics can say it's because some SEC powerhouse signed 35 guys.) Over the weekend, only one of those Gator signees, enigmatic CB Janoris Jenkins, by way of North Alabama, was drafted.
By the way, a handful of that celebrated crop still have eligibility left: Frankie Hammond Jr., Omarius Hines, Omar Hunter, Lerentee McCray, Earl Okine and Matt Patchan with only Hunter, Hammon and Patchan listed as starters on the spring two-deep.
Speaking of UF, that first player who did get picked over the weekend, DL Jaye Howard, came from a loaded 2007 recruiting class Urban Meyer signed. Among that group: Cam Newton, the Pounceys, Joe Haden and Aaron Hernandez.
• LSU had three DBs taken, included CB Ron Brooks, who was a solid backup for most of his career in Baton Rouge. He started three games. He's fast and talented and he still struggled to get on the field there. The Tigers are DBU, just as they like to claim. They have two more DBs who figure to be first-rounders in 2013 in Eric Reid and Tyrann Mathieu -- actually, maybe three depending on how lanky 6-3 CB Tharold Simon develops. And there are more studs already in the pipeline. As I said over the weekend, no program is more stacked at a position than LSU is at DB.
• Defense wins ... well, you know the rest. If you want to look for reasons why the SEC has won six BCS titles in a row, the following will help your case: The SEC had 12 defensive players taken in draft's first three rounds. That was four more than the Pac-12, Big Ten & Big 12 had combined.
• We already have some 2013 mock drafts out there, and some positional lists. On NFL.com, Bucky Brooks' mock had two USC players (Matt Barkley and Robert Woods) going in the top three. The Trojans actually could've had three of the top four since the No. 4 guy on Brooks' mock is Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, who began his career at USC, but the school's medical staff wouldn't clear him to continue his football career for health reasons.
One glaring omission for me in this top five list was Tennessee WR Justin Hunter, the 6-4 freak who is coming off a knee injury. Hunter's teammate Da'Rick Rogers actually was ranked third. Hunter is taller, a more explosive athlete and doesn't have the litany of character concerns that Rogers is bringing.
• Take all of these too-early mock drafts were a bunch of salt. Keep in mind Mel Kiper, the dean of all draft analysts, had five players in his initial mock draft for 2012 last spring that ended up going undrafted this weekend: Burfict, Paige-Moss, Cliff Harris, Chase Minniefield and Marcus Forston.