In total, 253 players heard their names called as draft picks during the 2016 NFL Draft. Many of them came from Power Five college football programs, as you’d expect, but there were others who came from smaller college programs to defy the odds and will now have the opportunity to carve out a career in the most popular professional sports league in the United States.
One thing every drafted player (with the exception of Moritz Boehringer) has in common, though, is that they played high school football before developing into an NFL-caliber prospect during their college years. The National Football League’s Communications department recently released a report on where each of the 253 players that were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft played their high school football. And the results were eye-opening.
For example, there were six high schools throughout the country that each produced two 2016 Draft picks, and six states that each produced a double-digit number of Draft picks this year. On that note, here is a look at which states produced the highest number of NFL Draft picks in 2016.
5. Ohio – 14 draft picks
- Taylor Decker, OT, Detroit Lions (1st round)
- Ryan Kelly, C, Indianapolis Colts (1st round)
- Darron Lee, OLB, New York Jets (1st round)
- Braxton Miller, WR, Houston Texans (3rd round)
- Connor Cook, QB, Oakland Raiders (4th round)
- Cardale Jones, QB, Buffalo Bills (4th round)
It should come as no surprise that the state of Ohio came in high on this list given the recent run of success that the Ohio State University Buckeyes have enjoyed since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus. Their list of selections was highlighted by three first-rounders — former Alabama center Ryan Kelly, former Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker, and former Ohio State outside linebacker Darron Lee — and a pair of polarizing quarterbacks – Cardale Jones out of Ohio State and Connor Cook out of Michigan State. In total, seven former Ohio State Buckeyes that played their high school football in Ohio were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. And on another side note, two Ohio high schools – Glenville High School in Cleveland and Walsh Jesuit in Stow — produced two draft picks each.
4. Georgia – 15 draft picks
- Leonard Floyd, OLB, Chicago Bears (1st round)
- Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints (1st round)
- Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Arizona Cardinals (1st round)
- Von Bell, S, New Orleans Saints (2nd round)
- Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins (3rd round)
Georgia’s inclusion on this list has a lot to do with it’s geographical location falling as it does right in the heart of SEC country. In fact, out of the 15 players who played their high school ball in Georgia that were drafted, eight of them played at SEC schools. Their list of selections featured a trio of defenders that were taken in the first round — outside linebacker Leonard Floyd out of Georgia, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins out of Louisville, and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche out of Ole Miss.
3. California – 26 draft picks
- Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (1st round)
- Kenny Clark, DT, Green Bay Packers (1st round)
- Su’a Cravens, LB, Washington Redskins (2nd round)
- Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints (2nd round)
- Austin Hopper, TE, Atlanta Falcons (3rd round)
- Cody Kessler, QB, Cleveland Browns (3rd round)
- Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos (4th round)
With the number of colleges that have football programs located in the state of California, it’s not exactly shocking to find ‘The Golden State’ this high on our list. The headliner of this group is hands down former Cal quarterback Jared Goff, who was taken by the Los Angeles Rams with the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. Additionally, Goff was joined by 18 other former Pac-12 standouts that attended California high schools and heard their names called on Draft day.
2. Florida – 30 draft picks
- Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers (1st round)
- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Miami Dolphins (1st round)
- Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st round)
- Karl Joseph, S, Oakland Raiders (1st round)
- Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons (1st round)
- Artie Burns, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st round)
- Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos (1st round)
- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans (2nd round)
- Roberto Aguayo, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2nd round)
- Mackensie Alexander, CB, Minnesota Vikings (2nd round)
Simply put, the state of Florida is a football factory. Don’t believe us? Just consider the fact that ‘The Sunshine State’ produced seven first round picks, and only 11 other states produced seven or more total draft picks. In addition to their seven first-rounders, there were five more Day Two picks (second and third rounders) — including 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry — that played their high school ball in Florida.
1. Texas – 32 draft picks
- Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns (1st round)
- Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins (1st round)
- William Jackson III, CB, Cincinnati Bengals (1st round)
- Germain Ifedi, OT, Seattle Seahawks (1st round)
- Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Cleveland Browns (2nd round)
- A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Detroit Lions (2nd round)
- Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins (2nd round)
- Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns (5th round)
As you may or may not know, high school football is king in the state of Texas. And on top of being home to several outstanding high school football programs, Texas is also home to some of the top college football programs in the country as well. With that being said, it’s easy to understand why ‘The Lonestar State’ came in at No. 1 on this list. Their list of homegrown 2016 picks features 10 players that were selected on the first two days of the Draft.
Data courtesy of NFL Communications.