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Led by LSU, Alabama, SEC players dominate remote NFL draft

UW’s Eaton first QB taken on day 3, going to Colts in fourth round

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In this still image from video provided by the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL football draft, Saturday, April 25, 2020.
In this still image from video provided by the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL football draft, Saturday, April 25, 2020. (NFL via AP) Photo Gallery

Maybe the Southeastern Conference should simply hold onto its players and become part of the NFL.

The home of national champion LSU and perennial contenders Alabama, Georgia and Auburn, the SEC dominated the first four rounds of the NFL draft before the flow of talent slowed to a trickle. Or the conference finally began running out of top prospects.

The top four rounds are where the vast majority of pro starters are found. So beginning with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who went first overall to the Bengals, the SEC provided the mother lode. And by the time this virtual/remote/digital draft — make your own choice — was over, 63 players had come from its 14 teams — well, 13, because Ole Miss was ignored. LSU sent 14, tying the most in a seven-round draft, followed by Alabama with nine. Not quite a record, because the SEC had 64 selectees a year ago. But this grab bag was further proof of its place atop college football.

“I think it’s really easy to see NFL players when you watch as many players get drafted from the SEC and from that conference,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said after his team grabbed Georgia tackle Isaiah Wilson and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton. “But there’s great players in every conference. It’s just you don’t have to look too far to see them play against some really talented players.”

The Lions noticed. They took Georgia running back D’Andre Swift and Kentucky guard Logan Stenberg.

“The SEC, I would argue, is one of the top one or two conferences in college football. I think a lot of people say it is the best conference,” Detroit general manager Bob Quinn said. “The competition that’s in that conference — from LSU to Alabama to Auburn to Georgia to all those schools — and some of the other teams have really, really good players. So the level of competition, they get the high recruits, they really do.”

Nearly every NFL club will have an LSU Tiger or member of the Crimson Tide on its roster by next week.

As the third day of this unusual draft concluded, it became clear that concerns about communication problems cropping up were vastly overblown. Clunky at times, poignant at others, and exceptionally entertaining in spots, the draft has done what Commissioner Roger Goodell hoped.

Sure, there were awkward moments, but those come even when the draft is a mega-event drawing hundreds of thousands of fans to the “Rocky Steps” in Philadelphia or lower Broadway in Nashville.

Goodell has insisted the sporting world needed the draft to be held on time. And the amount of eyeballs watching has been, well, an eye-opening number. Late in Saturday’s final round, the league said it had gone over $100 million in total funds raised in all its efforts to battle the coronavirus. The telethon accompanying the draft raised more than $6.6 million for six organizations involved in coronavirus relief.

NFL general managers also put together donations, initiated by the Eagles’ Howie Roseman, with each giving at least $8,000 for every selection in this draft.

The NFL matched every telethon donation on Friday and Saturday.

“We’re forced to adapt here and change and do this differently, but it’s actually been a lot of great learning,” Goodell said. “We’ve seen some things that we’ve maybe called ‘stumbled on’ that really, I think, will be elements of drafts going into the future. The ability to use the virtual platforms in a way that we really didn’t think about until we were forced to.

“And so I think we’re really going to able to make future drafts even better because we’re going to be able to combine it with the core elements that we’ve had. But I think that’s one of the things about the draft, it just keeps evolving and it keeps getting better because we keep learning.”

The league even awarded the 2022 draft to Las Vegas after all events on the Strip for this year were canceled due to the nationwide shutdown of large gatherings to curb the spread of the virus.

To open Saturday, Appalachian State had its second player chosen, linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, who went to Cincinnati. The Sun Belt’s defensive player of the year was a standout at the Senior Bowl — a game the Bengals coaching staff worked.

The Redskins dealt their unhappy veteran tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco on Saturday morning, and then chose LSU’s Saadiq Charles, who has been plagued by off-field issues and served a six-game suspension.

The Niners, who later announced the retirement of longtime standout left tackle Joe Staley, sent a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-rounder to acquire Williams. The deal reunites him with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington when Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010.

San Francisco made two other trades, first sending Matt Breida, who was the Niners’ starting running back for part of their NFC title season, to Miami. The Dolphins dealt a fifth-rounder to San Francisco.

Then the 49ers traded wideout Marquise Goodwin to Philadelphia for a swap of sixth-round spots.

The first quarterback chosen on Day 3 was Washington’s Jacob Eason, who went to Indianapolis. The Colts, of course, signed Philip Rivers as a free agent and still have incumbent Jacoby Brissett. Both have contracts only through 2020, though.

Eason lost out to Jake Fromm at Georgia, then transferred to Washington. Fromm finally went 167th overall to Buffalo, which has a young QB in Josh Allen. Fromm likely was hurt by a mediocre combine performance. He was taken well after the Jets got Florida International QB James Morgan at 125th.

Carolina pulled off a new one by choosing nothing but defensive players, seven in all. Including, naturally, the seventh overall choice, DT Derrick Brown of Auburn. Of the SEC.

Wide receiver was considered the deepest position in this crop, and 37 were taken.

Meanwhile, the list of Power Five schools without players taken wound up at nine: Duke Illinois, Northwestern, Rutgers, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Mississippi.

AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Mark Long and Rob Maaddi, and Sports Writer Jay Cohen contributed.

2020 NFL Draft: Team-by-team

Arizona

1 (8) Isaiah Simmons, lb, Clemson.

3 (72) Josh Jones, ot, Houston.

4 (114) Leki Fotu, dt, Utah.

4 (131) Rashard Lawrence, dt, LSU.

6 (202) Evan Weaver, lb, California.

7 (222) Eno Benjamin, rb, Arizona State.

Atlanta

1 (16) A.J. Terrell, cb, Clemson.

2 (47) Marlon Davidson, de, Auburn.

3 (78) Matt Hennessy, c, Temple.

4 (119) Mykal Walker, lb, Fresno State.

4 (134) Jaylinn Hawkins, s, California.

7 (228) Sterling Hofrichter, p, Syracuse.

Baltimore

1 (28) Patrick Queen, lb, LSU.

2 (55) J.K. Dobbins, rb, Ohio State.

3 (71) Justin Madubuike, dt, Texas A&M.

3 (92) Devin Duvernay, wr, Texas.

3 (98) Malik Harrison, lb, Ohio State.

3 (106) Tyre Phillips, g, Mississippi State.

4 (143) Ben Bredeson, g, Michigan.

5 (170) Broderick Washington, dt, Texas Tech.

6 (201) James Proche, wr, Southern Methodist.

7 (219) Geno Stone, s, Iowa.

Buffalo

2 (54) A.J. Epenesa, de, Iowa.

3 (86) Zack Moss, rb, Utah.

4 (128) Gabriel Davis, wr, UCF.

5 (167) Jake Fromm, qb, Georgia.

6 (188) Tyler Bass, k, Georgia Southern.

6 (207) Isaiah Hodgins, wr, Oregon State.

7 (239) Dane Jackson, cb, Pittsburgh.

Carolina

1 (7) Derrick Brown, dt, Auburn.

2 (38) Yetur Gross-Matos, de, Penn St.

2 (64) Jeremy Chinn, s, Southern Illinois.

4 (113) Troy Pride, cb, Notre Dame.

5 (152) Joe Reed, wr, Virginia.

6 (184) Bravvion Roy, dt, Baylor.

7 (221) Stantley Thomas-Oliver, cb, Florida International.

Chicago

2 (43) Cole Kmet, te, Notre Dame.

2 (50) Jaylon Johnson, cb, Utah.

5 (155) Trevis Gipson, de, Tulsa.

5 (163) Kindle Vildor, cb, Georgia Southern.

5 (173) Darnell Mooney, wr, Tulane.

7 (226) Arlington Hambright, g, Colorado.

7 (227) Lachavious Simmons, g, Tennessee State.

Cincinnati

1 (1) Joe Burrow, qb LSU.

2 (33) Tee Higgins, wr, Clemson.

3 (65) Logan Wilson, lb, Wyoming.

4 (107) Akeem Davis-Gaither, lb, Appalachian State.

5 (147) Khalid Kareem, te, Notre Dame.

6 (180) Hakeem Adeniji, g, Kansas.

7 (215) Markus Bailey, lb, Purdue.

Cleveland

1 (10) Jedrick Wills Jr., ot, Alabama.

2 (44) Grant Delpit, s, LSU.

3 (88) Jordan Elliott, dt, Missouri.

3 (97) Jacob Phillips, lb, LSU.

4 (115) Harrison Bryant, te, Florida Atlantic.

5 (160) Nick Harris, c, Washington.

6 (187) Donovan Peoples-Jones, wr, Michigan.

Dallas

1 (17) CeeDee Lamb, wr, Oklahoma.

2 (51) Trevon Diggs, cb, Alabama.

3 (82) Neville Gallimore, dt, Oklahoma.

4 (123) Reggie Robinson II, cb, Tulsa.

4 (146) Tyler Biadasz, c, Wisconsin.

5 (179) Bradlee Anae, de, Utah.

7 (231) Ben DiNucci, qb, James Madison.

Denver

1 (15) Jerry Jeudy, wr, Alabama.

2 (46) K.J. Hamler, wr, Penn St.

3 (77) Michael Ojemudia, cb, Iowa.

3 (83) Lloyd Cushenberry, c, LSU.

3 (95) McTelvin Agim, dt, Arkansas.

4 (118) Albert Okwuegbunam, te, Missouri.

5 (178) Justin Strnad, lb, Wake Forest.

6 (181) Netane Muti, g, Fresno State.

7 (252) Tyrie Cleveland, wr, Florida.

7 (254) Derrek Tuszka, de, North Dakota State.

Detroit

1 (3) Jeff Okudah, cb, Ohio State.

2 (35) D’Andre Swift, rb, Georgia.

3 (67) Julian Okwara, de, Notre Dame.

3 (75) Jonah Jackson, g, Ohio State.

4 (121) Logan Stenberg, g, Kentucky

5 (166) Quintez Cephus, wr, Wisconsin

5 (172) Jason Huntley, rb, New Mexico State.

6 (197) John Penisini, dt, Utah.

7 (235) Jashon Cornell, dt, Ohio State.

Green Bay

1 (26) Jordan Love, qb, Utah State.

2 (62) A.J. Dillon, rb, Boston College.

3 (94) Josiah Deguara, te, Cincinnati.

5 (175) Kamal Martin, lb, Minnesota.

6 (192) Jon Runyan, g, Michigan.

6 (208) Jake Hanson, c, Oregon.

6 (209) Simon Stepaniak, g, Indiana.

7 (236) Vernon Scott, db, Texas Christian.

7 (242) Jonathan Garvin, de, Miami.

Houston

2 (40) Ross Blacklock, dt, TCU.

3 (90) Jonathan Greenard, lb, Florida.

4 (126) Charlie Heck, ot, North Carolina

4 (141) John Reid, cb, Penn State.

5 (171) Isaiah Coulter, wr, Rhode Island.

Indianapolis

2 (34) Michael Pittman Jr., rb, Southern Cal.

2 (41) Jonathan Taylor, rb, Wisconsin.

3 (85) Julian Blackmon, s, Utah.

4 (122) Jacob Eason, qb, Washington.

5 (149) Danny Pinter, g, Ball State.

6 (193) Rob Windsor, dt, Penn State.

6 (211) Isaiah Rodgers, db, Massachusetts.

6 (212) Dezmon Patmon, wr, Washington State.

6 (213) Jordan Glasgow, lb, Michigan.

Jacksonville

1 (9) C.J. Henderson, cb, Florida.

1 (20) K’Lavon Chaisson, lb, LSU.

2 (42) Laviska Shenault Jr., wr, Colorado.

3 (73) DaVon Hamilton, dt, Ohio State.

4 (116) Ben Bartch, ot, St. John’s (Minn.)

4 (137) Josiah Scott, cb, Michigan State.

4 (140) Shaquille Quarterman, lb, Miami.

5 (157) Daniel Thomas, s, Auburn.

5 (165) Collin Johnson, wr, Texas.

6 (189) Jake Luton, qb, Oregon State.

5 (206) Tyler Davis, te, Georgia Tech.

7 (223) Chris Claybrooks, cb, Memphis.

Kansas City

1 (32) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, rb, LSU.

2 (63) Willie Gay Jr., lb, Mississippi State.

3 (96) Lucas Niang, ot, TCU.

4 (138) L’Jarius Sneed, s, Louisiana Tech.

5 (177) Michael Danna, te, Michigan.

7 (237) Bopete Keyes, cb, Tulane.

Las Vegas

1 (12) Henry Ruggs III, wr, Alabama.

1 (19) Damon Arnette, cb, Ohio State.

3 (80) Lynn Bowden Jr., wr, Kentucky.

3 (81) Bryan Edwards, wr, South Carolina.

3 (100) Tanner Muse, s, Clemson.

4 (139) Amik Robertson, cb, Louisiana Tech.

L.A. Chargers

1 (6) Justin Herbert, qb, Oregon.

1 (23) Kenneth Murray, lb, Oklahoma.

3 (71) John Simpson, g, Clemson.

4 (112) Joshua Kelley, rb, UCLA.

5 (151) Joe Reed, wr, Virginia.

6 (186) Alohi Gilman, s, Notre Dame.

7 (220) K.J. Hill, wr, Ohio State.

L.A. Rams

2 (52) Cam Akers, rb, Florida State.

2 (57) Van Jefferson, wr, Florida.

3 (84) Terrell Lewis, de, Alabama.

3 (104) Terrell Burgess, s, Utah.

4 (136) Brycen Hopkins, te, Purdue.

6 (199) Jordan Fuller, s, Ohio State.

7 (234) Clay Johnston, lb, Baylor.

7 (248) Sam Sloman, k, Miami (Ohio).

7 (250) Tremayne Anchrum, g, Clemson.

Miami

1 (5) Tua Tagovailoa, qb, Alabama.

1 (18) Austin Jackson, ot, Southern Cal.

1 (30) Noah Igbinoghene, cb, Auburn.

2 (39) Robert Hunt, ot, Louisiana-Lafayette.

2 (56) Raekwon Davis, dt, Alabama.

3 (70) Brandon Jones, s, Texas.

4 (111) Solomon Kindley, g, Georgia.

5 (154) Jason Strowbridge, de, North Carolina.

5 (164) Curtis Weaver, te, Boise State.

6 (185) Blake Ferguson, ls, LSU.

7 (246) Malcolm Perry, wr, Navy.

Minnesota

1 (22) Justin Jefferson, wr, LSU.

1 (31) Jeff Gladney, cb, TCU.

2 (58) Ezra Cleveland, ot, Boise State.

3 (89) Cameron Dantzler, cb, Mississippi State.

4 (117) D.J. Wonnum, de, South Carolina.

4 (130) James Lynch, de, Baylor.

4 (132) Troy Dye, lb, Oregon.

5 (169) Harrison Hand, cb, Temple.

5 (176) K.J. Osborn, wr, Miami.

6 (203) Blake Brandel, g, Oregon State.

6 (205) Josh Metellus, s, Michigan.

7 (225) Kenny Willekes, de, Michigan State.

7 (244) Nate Stanley, qb, Iowa.

7 (249) Brian Cole II, s, Mississippi State.

7 (253) Kyle Hinton, g, Washburn.

New England

2 (37) Kyle Dugger, s, Lenoir-Rhyne.

2 (60) Josh Uche, lb, Michigan.

3 (87) Anfernee Jennings, lb, Alabama.

3 (91) Devin Asiasi, te, UCLA.

3 (101) Dalton Keene, te, Virginia Tech.

5 (159) Justin Rohrwasser, k, Marshall.

6 (182) Michael Onwenu, g, Michigan.

6 (195) Justin Herron, g, Wake Forest.

6 (204) Cassh Maluia, lb, Wyoming.

7 (230) Dustin Woodard, c, Memphis.

New Orleans

1 (24) Cesar Ruiz, c, Michigan.

3 (74) Zack Baun, lb, Wisconsin.

3 (105) Adam Trautman, te, Dayton.

7 (240) Tommy Stevens, qb, Mississippi State.

N.Y. Giants

1 (4) Andrew Thomas, ot, Georgia.

2 (36) Xavier McKinney, s, Alabama.

3 (99) Matt Peart, ot, Connecticut.

4 (110) Darnay Holmes, cb, UCLA.

5 (150) Shane Lemieux, g, Oregon.

6 (183) Cameron Brown, lb, Penn State.

7 (218) Carter Coughlin, de, Minnesota.

7 (238) T.J. Brunson, lb, South Carolina.

7 (247) Chris Williamson, cb, Minnesota.

7 (255) Tae Crowder, lb, Georgia.

N.Y. Jets

1 (11) Mekhi Becton, ot, Louisville.

2 (59) Denzel Mims, wr, Baylor.

3 (68) Ashtyn Davis, s, California.

3 (79) Jabari Zuniga, de, Florida.

4 (120) La’Mical Perine, rb, Florida.

4 (125) James Morgan, qb, Florida International.

4 (129) Cameron Clarke, g, Charlotte.

5 (158) Bryce Hall, cb, Virginia.

6 (191) Braden Mann, p, Texas A&M.

Philadelphia

1 (21) Jalen Reagor, wr, TCU.

2 (53) Jalen Hurts, qb, Oklahoma.

3 (103) Davion Taylor, lb, Colorado.

4 (127) K’Von Wallace, s, Clemson.

4 (145) Jack Driscoll, ot, Auburn.

5 (168) John Hightower, wr, Boise State.

6 (196) Shaun Bradley, lb, Temple.

6 (200) Quez Watkins, wr, Southern Mississippi.

6 (210) Prince Tega Wanogho, ot, Auburn.

7 (233) Casey Toohill, de, Stanford.

Pittsburgh

2 (49) Chase Claypool, wr, Notre Dame.

3 (102) Alex Highsmith, lb, Charlotte.

4 (124) Anthony McFarland, rb, Maryland.

4 (135) Kevin Dotson, g, Louisiana-Lafayette.

6 (198) Antoine Brooks Jr., s, Maryland.

7 (232) Carlos Davis, dt, Nebraska.

San Francisco

1 (14) Javon Kinlaw, dt, South Carolina.

1 (25) Brandon Aiyuk, wr, Arizona State.

5 (153) Colton McKivitz, ot, West Virginia.

6 (190) Charlie Woerner, te, Georgia.

7 (217) Jauan Jennings, wr, Tennessee.

Seattle

1 (27) Jordyn Brooks, lb, Texas Tech.

2 (48) Darrell Taylor, de, Tennessee.

3 (69) Damien Lewis, g, LSU.

4 (133) Colby Parkinson, te, Stanford.

4 (144) DeeJay Dallas, rb, Miami.

5 (148) Alton Robinson, te, Syracuse.

6 (214) Seattle, Freddie Swain, wr, Florida.

7 (251) Stephen Sullivan, te, LSU.

Tampa Bay

1 (13) Tristan Wirfs, ot, Iowa.

2 (45) Antoine Winfield Jr., s, Minnesota.

3 (76) Ke’Shawn Vaughn, rb, Vanderbilt.

5 (161) Tyler Johnson, wr, Minnesota.

6 (194) Khalil Davis, dt, Nebraska.

7 (241) Chapelle Russell, lb, Temple.

7 (245) Raymond Calais, rb, Louisiana-Lafayette.

Tennessee

1 (29) Isaiah Wilson, ot, Georgia.

2 (61) Kristian Fulton, cb, LSU.

3 (93) Darrynton Evans, rb, Appalachian State.

5 (174) Larrell Murchison, dt, N.C. State.

7 (224) Cole McDonald, qb, Hawaii.

7 (243) Chris Jackson, db, Marshall.

Washington

1 (2) Chase Young, de, Ohio State.

3 (66) Antonio Gibson, wr, Memphis.

4 (108) Saahdiq Charles, ot, LSU.

4 (142) Antonio Gandy-Golden, wr, Liberty.

5 (156) Keith Ismael, c, San Diego State.

5 (162) Khaleke Hudson, lb, Michigan.

7 (216) Kamren Curl, s, Arkansas.

7 (229) James Smith-Williams, de, N.C. State.

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