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2013 NFL Draft: Top-100 conference breakdown

By Dane Brugler | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

On the college football landscape, the “power” conferences are clearly outlined. But when it comes to how FBS conferences are represented in the NFL, it's a mishmash of talent throughout the league. However, to no surprise, the SEC is the most represented conference across all 32 NFL teams and the 2013 NFL Draft won't be any different.

Since 2000, the SEC leads the way with players selected (528) in the NFL Draft with the Big Ten (455), Pac 12 (391) and Big 12 (371) trying to play catch-up. The past two seasons, Alabama, a member of the SEC, has had four players drafted in the first round each year and the Tide might make it three consecutive years if they have four players drafted in the opening round this year.

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While the SEC is tops, how do the other FBS conferences stack up in the 2013 NFL Draft? As an experiment, I took my most updated top-100 draft board and divided the prospects by the college conference where they competed and the results were a tad surprising. Numbers can be a tad skewed because some conferences boast more programs than others, but the results are interesting nonetheless.

The conferences below are ranked in order of the number of prospects that are represented on my top-100 draft board.

SEC
Top-100 – 35 (prospects)
Top-64 – 23
Top-32 – 11

If you're familiar with college football, it shouldn't be a surprise that the SEC is easily the most represented college conference on the top-100 draft board. And it's really not even close, with 21 more prospects than the next FBS conference. Of the 35 prospects on the top-100 board, 11 are in the top-32 as the SEC will look to lead the first round in draft picks for yet another year.

PAC 12
Top-100 – 14
Top-64 – 11
Top-32 – 5

The Pac 12 probably only has two “lock” first rounders (Oregon LB Dion Jordan, Utah DT Star Lotulelei), but have several other hopefuls (Keenan Allen, Desmond Trufant, Datone Jones). If Jordan and Lotulelei are taken in the top 10 draft selections, it will mark the third consecutive year that the Pac 12 has a pair of top-10 selections. The Pac 12 ranks second on this list with 14 total prospects on the top-100 draft board.

ACC
Top-100 – 11
Top-64 – 7
Top-32 – 6

If any conference will compete with the SEC for the most first rounders in the 2013 NFL Draft, it will be the ACC. There are currently six ACC prospects currently rated in my top-32, but that doesn't include OT Menelik Watson and QB EJ Manuel who both have a good chance of ending up in the draft's opening round. Nonetheless, look for the ACC to have double-digit representation among the top-100 picks.

BIG 12
Top-100 – 9
Top-64 – 6
Top-32 – 4

With only 10 programs, the Big 12 is at a numbers disadvantage from the start. But they will be well-represented again on draft weekend, led by Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson in the top-10. The Big 12 has several long-time members who traditionally send top prospects to the pros like Texas and Oklahoma, but its newcomer West Virginia who will carry the conference, not only in the first round, but also the top-100 and will probably have the most draft picks among Big 12 teams.

BIG EAST
Top-100 – 6
Top-64 – 3
Top-32 – 1

While the Big 12 is at a disadvantage with 10 members, the Big East is down to only seven programs, but still boasts more top-100 potential picks than other conferences. And a large reason for that are the players Syracuse is sending to the NFL Draft, led by QB Ryan Nassib, OT Justin Pugh and SS Shamarko Thomas. The only Big East player who ranked among my top-32 prospects? Cincinnati TE Travis Kelce.

C-USA
Top-100 – 5
Top-64 – 2
Top-32 – 1

The Big Ten is next, right? Not so fast as Conference USA narrowly locks up this spot with five prospects currently represented on my top-100 board, including one top-32 prospect, Houston CB DJ Hayden. Another former C-USA player who could join him in the opening round is SMU DE Margus Hunt. The other three conference players represented in the top-100: TE Vance McDonald, WR Aaron Dobson and LB Jamie Collins.

BIG TEN
Top-100 – 4
Top-64 – 1
Top-32 – 0

The Big Ten has several intriguing prospects in the mid-to-late rounds, but their representation in the top-100 will be sparse. In fact, there is a better than good chance that this will be the first time since 1953 that the conference won't have a first round pick. Their best hope is a pair of defensive tackles, Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins and Purdue's Kawann Short. Wisconsin OL Jason Frederick and Michigan State DE William Gholston round out the Big Ten's other potential top-100 prospects.

INDEPENDENTS
Top-100 – 3
Top-64 – 3
Top-32 – 2

Technically this isn't a conference, but the independent FBS teams will still be well-represented early in the 2013 NFL Draft. In fact, all three of their top-100 prospects could be taken in the first round: BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah and Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert and MLB Manti Te'o.

MAC
Top-100 – 3
Top-64 – 1
Top-32 – 1

Hard to believe that the MAC might match the Big Ten for the number of top-100 prospects, but it will be close. One distinction the MAC can brag about is the higher drafted prospect as Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is a candidate to go No. 1 overall and won't fall out of the top-five overall picks. Two other MAC prospects worth watching on the second day: Kent State OL Brian Winters and Miami (OH) QB Zac Dysert.

MWC
Top-100 – 3
Top-64 – 1
Top-32 – 0

Widely thought to be the most talented non-BCS conference, the Mountain West has a handful of intriguing prospects in the first few rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, led by Boise State CB Jamar Taylor. The other two prospects currently rated in my top-100 are both from San Diego State: CB Leon McFadden and TE Gavin Escobar. The last time the Aztecs had a pair of top-100 picks was in 2005.

WAC
Top-100 – 2
Top-64 – 1
Top-32 – 0

With teams like Nevada and Boise State jumping ship in recent years, the WAC isn't as strong as the past, but still have a few prospects with top-100 potential for this year's draft. Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton leads the way as a top-64 selection and San Jose State OL David Quessenberry should find a home somewhere in the third round.

SUN BELT
Top-32 – 1
Top-64 – 1
Top-100 – 1

The Sun Belt Conference has only one player represented on my top-100 draft board, but he's a good one: Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien, who could find himself in the top-32 picks. If Western Kentucky pass rusher Quanterous Smith was healthy, he would be included in this group too.

OTHERS:

FCS-LEVEL
Top-100 – 3
Top-64 – 2
Top-32 – 0

DIVISION-II
Top-100 – 1
Top-64 – 0
Top-32 – 0

DIVISION III
Top-100 – 0
Top-64 – 0
Top-32 – 0

 

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