Where are all the Picks?

Written by Kyle Porter

College Football Matrix put out a study the other day that compared draft picks to recruiting class rankings and the results weren’t so stellar for Oklahoma State.

In fact, the Cowboys moseyed on up to the short seat at the “what did you do with the talent you had” end of the table.

For example:

Since 2002 OSU has brought in (on average) the 25th best class in the country. In that same time, the Cowboys have produced 15 draft picks, good for 53rd most in that time span. So their aggregate score is a -28 (draft picks rank minus recruiting class rank) which implies that the coaching staff can recruit well but lacks the ability to coach.

This is counterintuitive to what most OSU fans consider to be reality. The consensus: “we get the leftovers from Texas, OU, A&M, Tech, and even TCU and turn them into incredible players.”

The numbers say something very different.

The numbers say we get outstanding players, some of the best in the country, and they either 1.) get lost in the system and are never found by NFL scouts or 2.) aren’t coached to materialize.

It’s an odd juxtaposition to say the least. In the last 10 years you could argue Stillwater has been home to some of the most successful, memorable, and NFL-bound players who have ever strapped ’em on: Rashaun Woods, Tatum Bell, Vernand Morency, Dez, Kendall Hunter. And yet there are the numbers staring you in the face, naked as a postgame locker room.

Obviously you have recruits like Brad Girtman and XLK who are murdering you in this department but you also have players like Brandon Pettigrew (2 stars!) and Russell Okung (3 stars!) going in the first round. So what gives? Well I’m glad you asked, I think three different things are at work here:

  1. Reputation – OSU doesn’t exactly have a history that says “yeah, we’re pretty much ‘The U’ of the Midwest.” In fact, it’s almost like the Cowboys had (until the last three years) become college football’s version of Wisconsin basketball: great college players who do very little professionally for whatever reason.
  2. The awkward Miles/Gundy handoff – Not exactly the most diplomatic of transitions and I think there were two to three lost years in there where Gundy let guys go (as he should have) who could have played in the NFL and probably would have been drafted.
  3. First round discrepancy – Dez, Pettigrew, Okung, Rashaun, all OSU guys who went in the first round. The problem comes in when you look at the later rounds. Who are the Packers going to take a chance on in the 7th round: a DT from USC who may have underperformed in college or an average safety from Oklahoma State? And do I need to answer that question?

I’d like to see this study re-done with the results weighted for higher picks. I think OSU’s reputation hinders them in terms of guys going in the mid to late rounds but you can’t deny the first round mini-factory they’ve been in the last few years. I think the results would be a lot different.

Or maybe we’re just the new Texas Tech and everyone gets lost in the system.

What do you think?

  • OSUpdt24

    Looking at the top 20-25, I’m fine with this study. In the top 25 there aren’t that many outstanding programs. The top 25 just shows that this “study” is too simplified. If you only have one BCS conference school in your top 5, I think your metrics are off. I totally agree that if this becomes weighted we will actually see a better depiction of the college football landscape.

    • Kyle Porter

      Good point on looking at which teams were actually in the Top 25, it would be interesting to go back and look at some series of recruiting rankings, final college rankings, THEN NFL draft rankings.

      Maybe I should do that…

  • OSUpdt24

    Well get on it pistolsguy! Haha that would make the study even more credible.

    • Kyle Porter

      I’ll try to have it done for a post next week…no promises though.

  • Upgrayedd

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge coaches on this. For instance, if the teams at the top of the list are so good at developing NFL talent, why aren’t they kicking butt and taking names?

  • I think it would be interesting if you took it a step further and took into consideration how the player performed in the NFL. For example, Rashaun was a first round guy, but never made an impact in the league. I think what would be most interesting is to see how many players from the big name schools (USC, Ohio St, etc) were picked early(or at all for that matter) in the draft due to reputation alone to only never make it in the league. This may be a better representation…just b/c you got drafted early, doesn’t mean you are going to be an NFL stud. See Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, the Boz, etc..

    • Kyle Porter

      Mmmm…great point there, though I’m not sure that bodes well for us, as you pointed out.

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