Ranking the NFL position factories
Which colleges are best at cultivating specific talent
Posted: Wednesday April 18, 2007 2:04PM; Updated: Thursday April 19, 2007 9:47AM
Different college football programs have earned a reputation for developing talent at certain positions. NFL teams are well aware of this and pay special attention to these schools' prospects.
Here are the colleges that have risen to the top of the ranks at each position, with a look at their current NFL players and who they're sending to the pros next:
Quarterback: Southern Cal
Playing in a sophisticated pro style offense under the direction of two guys who eventual became pro coaches, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart developed into not only Heisman trophy winners but also top-10 selections. Even a USC backup QB, Matt Cassel, is on an NFL roster (Patriots). The biggest prep stars are drawn to Pete Carroll's program in part because they know it will prepare them for the NFL.
Recent Pros: Palmer, Leinart and Cassel
Next in Line: John David Booty (2008 draft class), Mark Sanchez (2010 draft class)
Running Back: Auburn
William Andrews, Bo Jackson, James Brooks, Joe Cribbs, Stephen Davis and Rudi Johnson established Auburn as a premiere running back factory. Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown should have solid careers as well. High school stars know the Tigers like to run, which gives Auburn an edge in recruiting. Moreover, NFL teams know that if a back succeeds against SEC defenses, he'll be fine at the next level.
Recent Pros: Johnson, Heath Evans, Brown, Williams and Brandon Jacobs (transferred to Southern Illinois prior to his senior season)
Next in Line: Kenny Irons (likely second-round pick in this year's draft)
Wide Receiver: Ohio State
Joey Galloway, Terry Glenn and David Boston became Pro Bowlers and Michael Jenkins and Santonio Holmes look like they'll be productive in the NFL too. This year's class of Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez is particularly impressive. Ohio State's high-octane offense should attract more receivers in the coming years.
Recent Pros: Jenkins, Holmes and Drew Carter
Next in Line: Gonzalez and Ginn
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