Brugler: Looking at 2018 draft by the numbers

-- By Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com --

Part of the postmortem of the 2018 NFL Draft is reviewing the raw numbers of draft picks when cross-examined with underclassmen, Scouting Combine and college data.

How many underclassmen went undrafted? How many Combine participants were undrafted? Which college program had the most draft picks?

Below are few of the answers based on my accounting as we examine the numbers.

--39: Number of underclassmen who declared early, but went undrafted

Including all college prospects with eligibility remaining (graduates and non-graduates), 123 total underclassmen left school early for the 2018 NFL Draft with 83 hearing their name called over draft weekend. That leaves 39 underclassmen (or 31.7 percent) who left school early who were left undrafted. This number is up from 29.1 percent in 2017 (30 undrafted among 103 total underclassmen) and 28.0 percent in 2016 (30 undrafted among 107 total underclassmen).

In my opinion, the most surprising underclassmen to go undrafted were Auburn pass rusher Jeff Holland, Washington State pass rusher Hercules Mata'afa, Indiana wide receiver Simmie Cobbs, Stanford cornerback Quenton Meeks, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and Texas cornerback Holton Hill.

Some underclassmen made unwise decisions while others didn't have a choice to return to school. Regardless, almost a third of declared underclassmen going undrafted should be a cautious reminder for future collegiate players who are considering leaving school early.

--118: Number of Scouting Combine participants who went undrafted

This is the highest number of Combine participants left undrafted in any of the last five drafts.

With 336 total players invited to the annual Scouting Combine and only 256 draft slots, it is expected for a few dozen Combine prospects to be left undrafted. But 35.1 percent of Combine invites going undrafted is a reminder that a Combine invite doesn't automatically equal a selection on draft weekend.

--38: Number of non-Combine prospects who were drafted

This number is up from 28 last year. For the second straight NFL Draft, a non-Combine participant was drafted in every round excluding the first round.

The highest drafted non-Combine prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft was Oakland Raiders defensive lineman P.J. Hall (second round, No. 59 overall) followed by San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore (third round, No. 95 overall) and Atlanta Falcons running back Ito Smith (fourth round, No. 126 overall). There were four non-Combine participants drafted in the fifth round, 12 in the sixth round and 19 in the seventh round.

--12: Alabama players drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft

Breaking last year's mark of 10, Alabama set a new school record during the Nick Saban era with a dozen players drafted in the 2018 class. The dozen Alabama players drafted included four first rounders: defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11), defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne (No. 13), linebacker Rashaan Evans (No. 22) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley (No. 26).

The Crimson Tide clearly had the most draft picks of any college football program followed by LSU, North Carolina State and Ohio State tied for second with seven draft picks.

--154: Ohio State players drafted over the last 25 years

The NFL Draft shifted to a seven-round format in 1994 and in the 25 years since, Ohio State leads all college programs with 154 total draft picks. The Buckeyes added seven draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including five top-100 selections and a pair of first-rounders. Ohio State also has the most top-100 picks (88) and first-round picks (41) since the seven-round format began.

Florida State (140) and Florida (136) are second and third on the list of most NFL draft picks over the last 25 years.

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