2014 NFL Draft: Conference breakdown, surprises, more

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Teddy Bridgewater smiles after his first round selection on Thursday night.  (USATSI)
Teddy Bridgewater smiles after his first round selection on Thursday night. (USATSI)

Draft coverage: Picks and grades | Prospect Rankings | Sam goes No. 249 | News

By the time the 2014 NFL Draft concluded with the announcement of Mr. Irrelevant, Memphis defensive back Lonnie Ballentine, the SEC had secured yet another year of leading all conferences with 49 draft picks. The SEC set a modern record with 63 draft picks in 2013, but this year the picks were more evenly dispersed across the power conferences.

Check out the full conference-by-conference breakdown below:

SEC -- 49

ACC -- 42

Pac-12 -- 34

Big Ten -- 30

Big 12 -- 17

Mountain West --16

American -- 12

Conference USA -- 9

Independents -- 9

MAC -- 8

Sun Belt -- 4

The biggest story of the final day was the slide of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and several other notable stars from 2013. Every year, there are players who dominated in college who are passed on by NFL general managers. Other notable slides included Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov (who went undrafted) and the SEC quarterbacking trio of Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray and Heisman finalist A.J. McCarron.

Other notes from the weekend in Radio City Music Hall:

-- Texas gets shut out: No Longhorns were taken in the NFL Draft for the first time since the presidential administration of ... wait for it ... wait for it ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1937. The closest Texas came to having a pick was former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who finished his career at SMU, and was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the sixth round at No. 214.

-- Virginia Tech connection runs strong in Logan Thomas' selection: The first quarterback taken on day three of the draft was not a McCarron or Mettenberger, but Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. After an up-and-down career in Blacksburg, former Hokie Bruce Arians opted to bring in the physically gifted Thomas to add some depth to the quarterback position.

-- Strong weekend for the Non-FBS prospects: Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the first non-FBS player taken, by the Patriots in the second round, No. 62 overall. Offensive tackle Billy Turner (North Dakota State, wide receiver John Brown (Pittsburg State) and running back Terrance West (Towson) followed in the third round and by the end of Saturday night there were more than 20 players selected from non-FBS schools.

-- Punter? Not just any punter, a STRONG punter. Miami punter Pat O'Donnell raised eyebrows with his sixth round selection to the Bears (first punter off the board), but he can hang with the overall No. 1 when it comes to pumping iron.

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