Most NFL Draft picks by school: Georgia surpasses Ohio State, LSU to break modern records for players selected in one draft

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There have been a lot of Bulldogs that received the call to the NFL in 2022. Reigning national champion Georgia had what many believe is an NFL-caliber defense, along with several standout offensive talents who garnered draft interest.

There have been other teams in the past that have reached lofty numbers in a single draft. LSU's national championship-winning team in 2019 had 14 players taken in the subsequent draft. Ohio State had 12 players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, two years removed from its national title run. Alabama has had at least 10 players taken in four of the past five drafts.

NFL fans have become accustomed to hearing the same schools mentioned frequently on draft night, with powerhouse college football programs like Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Georgia often among the most-mentioned schools to send prospects to the league.

MORE: Georgia-only mock draft for 2022

But which team holds the record for the most players taken in a single draft? The Sporting News dives into the history of the draft.

Most players drafted in one year by school

Back in 1994, the NFL Draft officially became just a seven-round event. There had been some variance before that. It was eight in 1993, 12 rounds from 1977-92 and 17 from 1967-76, at the beginning of the Super Bowl era. Earlier, there were even more rounds, but fewer teams. So there are several different ways to look at the most players drafted in a single class.

In the seven-round era, the Bulldogs officially set the new record when it had 15 players selected in a single draft, when tight end John FitzPatrick was drafted 213th overall by the Falcons. The previous record was a tie between LSU in the 2020 NFL Draft and Ohio State team in 2004, with 14 players selected, according to data from Pro Football Reference. Alabama is next with 12 players selected in 2018.

MORE: Ohio State-only mock draft for 2022

Reaching double-digits is exceedingly rare. In the seven-round era, there have only been 14 schools that have had at least 10 players drafted in a single year. Those teams are:

  • Ohio State: 4
  • Alabama: 4
  • USC: 3
  • Florida State: 3
  • Michigan: 2
  • LSU: 1
  • Oklahoma: 1
  • Miami: 1
  • Notre Dame: 1
  • Penn State: 1
  • Colorado: 1
  • Washington: 1
  • Louisville: 1
  • Tennessee: 1

In the seven-round draft era, here are the largest draft classes from a single school:

YearSchoolPlayers drafted
2022Georgia15
2004Ohio State14
2020LSU14
2018Alabama12
2016Ohio State12
2002Miami11
2005Oklahoma11
2006USC11
2009USC11
2013Florida State11
2015Florida State11
2017Michigan11

In the history of the NFL Draft, 14 isn't quite enough to reach the top, though it is still close. The record belongs to Texas in the 1984 NFL Draft, when 17 players were selected. 

Here's a look at the largest draft classes of all time.

YearSchoolPlayers drafted
1984Texas17
1946Notre Dame16
1945Notre Dame15
1953USC15
2022Georgia15
1975USC14
1977USC14
2004Ohio State14
2020LSU14

Notre Dame enjoyed a prolific three-year span from 1944-46 that saw 44 players drafted to the NFL. No other program has produced more than 32 in a three-year span.

MORE: Notre Dame-only mock draft for 2022

Most first-round picks in single draft by school

Unlike with total picks in a draft, schools are more likely to have more first-round picks now than they were in the past, given that the league is now up to 32 teams.

So it's no surprise that the record for most first-round draft picks has been set since 2002, when the league expanded to 32 teams.

The record is currently shared by two programs: Miami and Alabama. Back in 2004, the Hurricanes set the record with six, when Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow II, Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vernon Carey and Vince Wilfork were selected in the first round. In the most recent draft, reigning national champion Alabama matched that record as Jaylen Waddle, Patrick Surtain II, DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, Alex Leatherwood and Najee Harris were taken in the first round.

MORE: Alabama-only mock draft for 2022

There haven't been many teams all time that have even reached five. Here's the full list:

YearSchoolPicks
2004Miami6
2021Alabama6
1968USC5
2002Miami5
2006Ohio State5
2016Ohio State5
2020LSU5

Notre Dame, USC and Oklahoma are tied as the three schools with the most players to have been selected first overall at five each. Auburn, Georgia and Stanford are next at four; LSU, Ohio State and Texas have each had three; California, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech all have two.

All-time players drafted by school

There are a few schools that have historically dominated the draft, leaving large gaps between the top three and the rest of the field.

Based on draft data from Pro Football Reference, Notre Dame has had the most players drafted all time with 520. USC has the second-most with 513. Then there's a bit of a gap, and Ohio State comes in third at 474. Then there's another gap and Oklahoma is fourth at 405, followed by Michigan (392), Alabama (385), Penn State (368), Nebraska (363), LSU (362) and Florida (362).

In the seven-round draft era, Ohio State leads with 184 with Alabama (161), Florida (156), Florida State (154) and LSU (149) rounding out the top five.

USC has had the most years all-time where at least 10 players were drafted at 15. Notre Dame is the only other school with double-digit classes at 13. Ohio State has had eight all-time, Texas has had six and Alabama, Oklahoma and Penn State each had five.

Since 1994, when the draft moved to seven rounds, Ohio State and Alabama have the most 10-player draft classes at four each, with Florida State and USC each at three and Michigan at two.

The Sporting News 2022 mock draft

What should fans expect to see in 2022? This feels like a year where there could be some history made.

The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer has currently projected 14 players from Georgia to be selected in his seven-round mock draft, which would tie LSU and Ohio State for the record in the seven-round era. That also would put them in the conversation to make draft history if only one more should go ahead of them.

Unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs lead TSN's mock draft with 14 by a considerable margin. Here's a look at the schools expected to have the most picks on draft day:

SchoolPicks
Georgia14
Alabama9
Cincinnati9
LSU8
Penn State8
Texas A&M8
Kentucky7
Michigan7
Ohio State7
Oklahoma7
Virginia Tech7
Arizona State6
Notre Dame5
Ole Miss5

As for first-round picks, Iyer is projecting that Georgia will see four players taken in the first 32 selections, again leading the field. Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan and Ohio State are the only other teams expected to have multiple first-rounders, each with two.

MORE: Michigan-only mock draft for 2022

Iyer also predicts that Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson will go first overall, which would move the Wolverines up to three players all-time that have been taken with the first pick in the draft, tying them with Ohio State, LSU and Texas. The last time a Wolverine was picked first overall came back in 2008, when the Dolphins took offensive tackle Jake Long.

Author(s)
Edward Sutelan is a digital content producer for The Sporting News. He has previously worked for PennLive, The Cape Cod Times and The Columbus Dispatch, and is an Ohio State University graduate.