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An in-depth analysis of the NFL draft from a college perspective

Georgia set the record with 15 picks, but LSU's 2020 draft class remains the best ever.

The 2022 NFL draft has come and gone, an event unlike any other in our nation's favorite sport. The draft is a confluence of so many things.

It's the ultimate reality TV show, where cameras bounce us from living room to living room as we watch lives change in real time. It's the NFL's version of Lollapalooza; the league's 32 teams elbow each other in the ribs for game-changing talent, for sure, but it's a competition that is not zero sum. The draft feels like a festival because all 32 teams leave the draft better than they entered.

And it's also the one event that brings the professional and college football together. The draft may have a party vibe for the NFL, but in college football, the draft is a referendum. Every recruit wants to get paid to play ball, and so the draft is the manilla envelope in each program's mailbox that tells them whether they're succeeding or failing in that all-important task.

Yet as the draft has grown in recent years -- truly, it's become its own industry, standing on its own feet outside of NFL and college football coverage -- our analysis on the college side of the draft has not. Like pre-schoolers, we count on our fingers how picks each program produced and then we move on. Team A had eight, Team B had seven, and so therefore Team A had the better draft.

Last year, I endeavored to change this

The thinking was simple. All draft picks are not created equal. In fact, the the entire premise of the draft is that each slot is fractionally less valuable than the one that preceded it and fractionally more valuable than the one that follows it. And so our draft analysis should track with that. An NFL team would rather own three first-round picks than three, four or even five sixth-round picks, and so we should acknowledge a college team with three first-round picks was more talented than one with three sixth-rounders.

Thus, the Selection Points formula was born. Honestly, it's a tad generous to call it a formula. I simply assign 250 points to the first pick, 249 to the second, 248 to the third, and down and down we go, like a staircase made of NFL money. Selection Points rewards quality and quantity. The higher your players are picked, the better, but you'd still rather have a seventh-rounder than no pick at all. 

Florida's draft is the prime example of why Selection Points are necessary. With just three picks, the Gators tied the likes of Purdue, Illinois and Houston. You won't see their logo on many "most draft picks" graphics floating around Instagram and Twitter today. Yet with a first rounder and two more picks within the top 110, the Gators had the 15th-best draft in college football, out-scoring Wisconsin's five and Ole Miss's six. 

You get the idea by now. Without further ado, here is how the Selection Points standings for the 2022 draft look:

TeamDraft PicksSelection Points

1. Georgia

15

2,304

2. Alabama

7

1,366

3. Cincinnati

9

1,302

4. LSU

10

1,185

5. Penn State

8

936

6. Ohio State

6

919

7. Baylor

6

806

8. Michigan

5

801

9. Kentucky

4

705

10. Oklahoma

7

692

11. Washington

4

667

12. Texas A&M

4

665

13. Tennessee

5

557

14. UCLA

6

550

15. Florida

3

528

16. Ole Miss

6

521

17. USC

3

483

18. Wisconsin

5

481

19. Iowa State

4

474

20. Minnesota

4

471

21. North Carolina

4

451

22. San Diego State

4

439

23. Mississippi State

2

425

24. Arizona State

4

408

25. Nebraska

3

392

Georgia's 15 selections broke 2004 Ohio State and 2020 LSU's tie atop the list for most total selections... but we know better than to judge a class with preschool arithmetic by now, don't we?

TeamDraft PicksSelection Points

1. 2020 LSU

14

2,383

2. 2016 Ohio State

12

2,351

3. 2022 Georgia

15

2,304

4. 2017 Alabama

10

2,020

5. 2004 Ohio State

14

1,999

6. 2021 Alabama

10

1,939

7, 2020 Alabama

9

1,903

8. 2008 USC

10

1,790

9. 2005 USC

11

1,755

10. 2002 Miami

11

1,734

The draft wasn't just a referendum on college football as it stood in 2021. It also provided us clarity on how recent national champions stacked up against their peers. 

Alabama's 2017 team increased its lead as the most talented of all time, while Alabama's 2020 team, just two draft classes in, passed both of Urban Meyer's champion Florida teams and 2007 LSU. LSU's 2019 team leapfrogged 2018 Clemson and moved on to the fringe of the top 10, and our newest champions have already doubled the draft output of 2010 Auburn with plenty of talent still on campus. 

TeamDraft PicksSelection Points

1. 2017 Alabama

39

6,416

2. 2001 Miami

38

5,848

3. 2015 Alabama

34

5,668

4. 2014 Ohio State

30

5,483

5. 2004 USC

32

5,407

6. 2003 USC

31

5,098

7. 2002 Ohio State

33

4,948

8. 2012 Alabama

30

4,782

9. 2011 Alabama

30

4,517

10. 2009 Alabama

26

4,513

11. 2019 LSU

30

4,230

12. 2005 Texas

25

4,020

13. 2013 Florida State

22

3,597

14. 2003 LSU

23

3,463

15. 2018 Clemson

19

3,167

16. 2016 Clemson

21

3,136

17. 2020 Alabama

16

3,066

18. 2008 Florida

19

3,019

19. 2007 LSU

24

3,017

20. 2006 Florida

20

2,745

21. 2021 Georgia

15

2,304

22. 2010 Auburn

7

1,045

How high will the 2021 Bulldogs eventually climb? We'll have to wait and see where the players still on campus get drafted -- and where.