Although they don’t always show it on the field, the ACC has been the country’s second-best conference in terms of producing NFL Talent, trailing only the SEC. Things weren’t any different this year as the ACC again had the second-most players drafted.
The ACC had 42 players drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, seven less than the SEC and eight more than the Pac-12, who had the third-most players drafted.
Of course, it isn’t completely fair to say the ACC didn’t show marked improvement in 2013. They sent 11 teams to bowl games, a new NCAA record. That includes the Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles, who played in BCS games. The Tigers defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl while the Seminoles defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 to win the BCS National Championship.
The ACC also cleaned up in terms of postseason awards. Boston College Eagle’s running back Andre Williams won the Doak Walker Award, Seminoles’ center Bryan Stork won the Rimington Trophy, Stork’s teammate, kicker Roberto Aguayo, won the Groza Award, Pittsburgh Panthers’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald took home the Outland Trophy, the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Award and the Lombardi Award while Seminoles’ quarterback Jameis Winston won the Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award and the Heisman Trophy. Despite all of that success, only one of those players, Donald, was one of our top 10 ACC players drafted (Winston and Aguayo were not eligible to enter the 2014 Draft).