Which states produce the most high-end NFL talent? A five-year number analysis

On3 imageby:Matt Zenitz05/01/23

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It’s a question and topic that will garner different answers from different parts of the country: Which state produces the most high-end football talent?

Opinion is one thing. Numbers are another.

With that in mind, On3 did some research and used NFL draft results from the last five years in order to figure out which states are currently the best producers of top-end football players. Here are the results of that research:

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state since 2019

* Number of first-round picks are in parentheses

1. Texas — 35 (21)
2. Florida — 29 (20)
3. Georgia — 26 (19)
4. California — 19 (13)
5. Louisiana — 14 (9)
6. Maryland/Washington, D.C. — 10 (8)
7. North Carolina — 9 (6)
8. Pennsylvania — 8 (4)
T9. Alabama — 7 (5)
T9. Mississippi — 7 (4)
T9. New Jersey — 7 (3)
12. Illinois — 6 (3)

Notes: Texas is the only state that’s produced no fewer than three first-round NFL draft picks each of the last five years. Texas also has the largest number of top-50 picks in an individual draft of any state over the last five years (12 in 2020). In comparison, no other state has produced more than eight top-50 picks in any individual draft the last five years. Florida, meanwhile, is the only state to produce four or more first-round picks in four of the last five drafts. The only draft the last five years that fewer than four Florida natives went in the first round was last year, when there two first-round picks from Florida.

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state since 2021

1. Georgia — 19 (15)
2. Florida — 18 (11)
3. Texas — 17 (11)
4. California — 13 (10)
5. Maryland/D.C. — 8 (6)
6. Pennsylvania — 7 (4)
T7. Louisiana — 6 (4)
T7. North Carolina — 6 (3)
9. Illinois — 5 (3)

Notes: After just two Georgia natives went in the first 50 picks of the 2019 NFL draft, 24 Georgia natives have gone in the top 50 of the last four drafts, including 19 the last three years. The state of Georgia has produced at least four first-round picks each of the last three years, including six in 2021. California, meanwhile, has produced multiple top-10 draft picks each of the last two years after three straight years without a single top-10 pick from California from 2019-21. California is the only state with multiple top-10 picks each of the last two years.

Most top-50 NFL draft picks by home state this year

1. Georgia — 7 (5)
2. Florida — 6 (5)
3. Texas — 5 (4)
T4. Maryland/D.C. — 4 (4)
T4. Illinois — 4 (2)
T6. California — 3 (2)
T6. Mississippi — 3 (1)

Notes: There were twice as many top-50 picks from Illinois this year as there were the previous four drafts combined. That includes two top-15 draft picks in former Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski (No. 11 to the Tennessee Titans) and former Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (No. 13 to the Green Bay Packers). There weren’t any top-50 picks this year from states such as Alabama or Louisiana. There have been just two total top-50 picks from Louisiana the last two years after 12 such selections from 2019-21.