Some fans get caught up with their conference’s recruiting rankings, and NFL draft numbers rather than actual on the field results. That doesn’t mean they are meaningless though. The ACC typically runs second to the SEC during the NFL draft weekend. In 2018 the SEC led all conferences with 53 draft picks and the ACC with 45. In 2019 though the ACC overall took quite a step back.
Here is the ACC Breakdown by division
NC State – 4
Cuse – 1
Wake – 1
Duke – 1
GT – 0
UNC – 1
Miami – 5
Pitt – 1
VT – 0#Cyclical
— JoshFromNETtoNITGoodson (@joshwgoodson) April 27, 2019
2019 draft picks by conference:
SEC – 64
Big Ten – 40
Pac-12 – 33
ACC – 28
Big 12 – 26
Indies – 7
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) April 28, 2019
The fact that Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech combined for exactly ZERO NFL draft picks, and Florida State had only 2 speaks to the recent decline of those programs. That’s a serious warning sign for the conference overall, and one that could take a few years to remedy. Each of these schools had multiple 9+ win seasons during the middle part of the decade, but have fallen. This has certainly diminished the ACC’s depth. It will take some time to remedy this, because if it continues the ACC could struggle with a lack of depth like during the 2018 season. Kudos to Syracuse for being the ACC’s only other ranked team in 2018 after Clemson, and Virginia for being considerably improved.
Louisville became a complete trainwreck under Bobby Petrino, and changed coaches hiring Scott Satterfield. Georgia Tech’s talent deficiencies could no longer be masked by Paul Johnson’s triple option, and won only 12 games the last 2 years. Johnson retired, and Geoff Collins was brought in. The year before Jimbo Fisher bailed for Texas A&M, and left Willie Taggart with a real mess. Taggart is still working to undo Fisher’s poor roster management in his later years at FSU. Taggart may or may not succeed. His first year did not inspire a lot of confidence.
Justin Fuente, is a year away from the hot seat at Virginia Tech after a strong first two years.
Once you get past Clemson, at least 2 of these schools need to be top 25 caliber in the future most years. Was the talent drain cyclical or a sign of things to come?
I think it has to get better, as Louisville can’t go lower than that final Petrino year, and Collins has created a recruiting buzz at Georgia Tech we haven’t seen in years. Taggart has a top 10 class going at FSU. UNC only had 1 draft pick themselves, but Mack Brown is showing he still has that recruiting touch and has a top 15 class going for the Heels.
It’s not time to panic, but it is a sure sign that several ACC teams need immediate upgrades to their talent levels.