UK ‘Better’ Than ‘Bama for Draft Picks?


On Thursday, three former Alabama players were selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Meanwhile Kentucky, on the opposite end of the SEC spectrum from the Crimson Tide, produced none.

Yet according to a recently completed Emory University study, those with aspirations of being selected in the NFL draft are better off playing for the Wildcats than they are Alabama.

Rather than looking at the lump sum of players drafted (as most fans are wont to do), professors Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi of Emory’s Goizueta Business School calculated a “conversion rate” of number of NFL draft picks produced per elite recruit (four and five-stars).

For every four- and five-star recruit brought to Lexington, Kentucky produced approximately 1.8 NFL draft picks. Alabama, meanwhile, produced “only” a little more than 0.4 NFL draft picks for every one of its four- or five-star recruits.

“The bottom line seems to be that for players with a goal of playing in the NFL, program selection should not be based on the glamour provided by the big time programs such as Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, and USC,” Lewis and Tripathi write. “Rather players should seek out opportunities at schools with substantial budgets but lower ranked recruiting classes.  In other words, it’s probably more important to increase your probability of getting on to the field early, rather than maximizing the number of times you play on a big national stage.”

While this study is suspect at best, that’s one recruiting pitch new Wildcats coach Mark Stoops can use in an attempt to reverse the fortunes of his program…

[Emory Sports Marketing Science Initiative]

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