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2024 NFL Draft: Super Conferences flex future power in first round

Stephen Samraby:Steve Samra04/27/24



One of the major storylines in college football over the last year and change has been the advent of Super Conferences, namely the expanded SEC and Big Ten.

It’s had a major effect on college football, and it’ll come to a head during the 2024 season, when these moves finally take place. However, it’s evident there’ll be a major change when it comes to the NFL Draft as well, especially when looking at Thursday’s Round 1.

When breaking down which conference where each draftee played their college football, it’s obvious the NFL talent will be supreme in these Super Conferences. Check out which players would’ve hailed from the expanded SEC and Big Ten below.

Expanded SEC: 14 Draftees

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) runs after a catch during the third quarter as Auburn Tigers take on Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

While the old guard led the way for the SEC in the beginning of the draft, with LSU’s offensive duo and Alabama and Georgia seeing their players come off the board within the first 13 selections, Big 12 transplants Texas and Oklahoma help the SEC’s numbers later in the round.

In all honesty, the addition of the Longhorns and the Sooners to the conference will be a major boon, especially when it comes time for the NFL Draft. 10 of the final 17 selections in the first round went to the expanded SEC, helped by the addition of the two former Big 12 programs.

2) Washington Commanders: Jayden Daniels, QB – LSU
6) New York Giants: Malik Nabers, WR – LSU
7) Tennessee Titans: JC Latham, OT – Alabama
13) Las Vegas Raiders: Brock Bowers, TE – Georgia
16) Seattle Seahawks: Byron Murphy II, DT – Texas
17) Minnesota Vikings (via JAX): Dallas Turner, OLB – Alabama
18) Cincinnati Bengals: Amarius Mims, OT – Georgia
23) Jacksonville Jaguars (via MIN, HOU, CLE): Brian Thomas Jr., WR – LSU
24) Detroit Lions (via DAL): Terrion Arnold, CB – Alabama
27) Arizona Cardinals (via HOU): Darius Robinson, DL – Missouri
28) Kansas City Chiefs (via BUF): Xavier Worthy, WR – Texas
29) Dallas Cowboys (via DET): Tyler Guyton, OT – Oklahoma
31) San Francisco 49ers: Ricky Pearsall, WR – Florida
32) Carolina Panthers (via BUF, KC): Xavier Legette, WR – South Carolina

Expanded Big Ten: 10 Draftees

Michael Penix Jr Washington
(Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports)

As for the Big Ten, the conference was majorly upgraded in terms of the 2024 NFL Draft by their additions to the conference. The Big Ten from last season only saw four players drafted, but when you add the contributions of USC, Washington, Oregon and UCLA, it goes to 10.

Additionally, the Big Ten is prevalent in the top ten, especially quarterback-wise, with their new-fangled programs. Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix all hailed from the Pac-12 in 2023, but the expanded Big Ten would’ve reaped the benefit if their teams arrived a year earlier.

1) Chicago Bears (via CAR): Caleb Williams, QB – USC
4) Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR – Ohio State
8) Atlanta Falcons: Michael Penix Jr., QB – Washington
9) Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR – Washington
10) Minnesota Vikings (via NYJ): J.J. McCarthy, QB – Michigan
11) New York Jets (via MIN): Olu Fashanu, OT – Penn State
12) Denver Broncos: Bo Nix, QB – Oregon
15) Indianapolis Colts: Laiatu Latu, OLB – UCLA
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Fautanu, G – Washington
21) Miami Dolphins: Chop Robinson, OLB – Penn State

24 of 32 Draftees would’ve come from the expanded SEC, Big Ten

Big Ten-SEC-Pete Thamel
David Yeazell | Joseph Cress-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, the expanded SEC and Big Ten truly proved why they’ve been labeled Super Conferences during the 2024 NFL Draft. The hypothetical conferences would’ve dominated Thursday’s Round 1, accounting for 24 of the 32 first rounders who heard their names called in Detroit.

As we move forward, it’s evident a large amount of the NFL’s talent pool will come from these conferences. While the new-look Big 12, the ACC and other Group of 5 schools will still have their guys, it’ll be hard to compete with what the SEC and Big Ten bring to the table.

The numbers never lie, and they certainly don’t when it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft. The expanded SEC and Big Ten are going to be tough to compete against, and that’s just where college football, and the NFL Draft, will stand moving forward.