LSU dominated the 2020 NFL Draft with 14 picks that led all the NCAA and set the Southeastern Conference record for most draft picks. The record previously belonged to Alabama’s 2018 class that saw 12 players selected in the draft.
This year’s LSU class also tied Ohio State for the most picks by one school since the NFL Draft moved to seven rounds in 1994.
So, this got me wondering, what is the most picks the Ducks have had in a single year since 1994? A quick look here at 247sports.com shows us that the record is six, set in 2002 and tied in 2009. Not surprising, considering the success of the Oregon program in the seasons leading up to those drafts. Meanwhile, the 2017 draft, in which zero Ducks were picked, followed the downfall of former head coach Mark Helfrich.
FishDuck.com‘s own Joshua Whitted recently posted a nice 2021 draft article that places five Oregon players in next year’s draft. The players he selected are left tackle Penei Sewell, safety Jevon Holland, running back CJ Verdell, cornerback Deommodore Lenoir and cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. Assuming these players stay healthy and maintain their consistent level of play, they should hear their names called next year.
Leading Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr’s early 2021 Top 10 draft rankings show Penei Sewell at No. 2 and Jevon Holland at No. 10. If that holds to form, then this would represent the highest Top 2 picks in a single draft in Oregon history, and only the fourth time ever that two Ducks have gone together in the first round.
The current record came in 2015 with quarterback Marcus Mariota going No. 2 and DE Arik Armstead going No. 17. A close second place was in 2013 with DE Dion Jordan going No. 3 while OG Kyle Long was picked at No. 20. While not far behind was in 1972 with RB Ahmad Rashad (aka Bobby Moore) at No. 4, and OT Tom Drougas going No. 22.
2021: Others Who Could Get Picked
Who could join the five aforementioned potential draftees in 2021, helping push the Ducks to a record seven picks? Of the draft-eligible players for next year, how about …
WR Johnny Johnson: He could have a monster year under new OC Joe Moorhead and his high-powered scheme.
TE Cam McCormick: If the physically-gifted yet always hurt tight end can put together a full season, watch out. And, young quarterbacks love a go-to tight end.
DL-men Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu: If these two can crank it up another notch in 2020, they have the potential.
An offensive lineman not named Penei Sewell: The likes of Malaesala Aumavae-Lalu, TJ Bass, and Alex Forsyth have been hidden in the depth chart the past few seasons while the Ducks maintained their most talented O-line in school history. Now it’s their time to shine.
Sure, at this point seven could be a stretch for 2021. But one thing for sure is that if the Ducks do not set a record in 2021, it seems almost a certainty that they will within the next three to five years. This is a tribute to the high level of recruiting under HC Mario Cristobal.
And if the Ducks start setting new records on Draft Day, then there’s a good chance they’re setting a new standard of excellence on the gridiron.
What do you think?
Top Photo Credit: Matt Zlaket
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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