Who are the best draft picks of the century from the most prominent programs in college football? College Football 24/7 set out to answer this question by ranking the top draft picks since 2000 from the 30 schools that have produced the most picks since that year.
Players were ranked through a formula in which they received points for honors they've acquired in their NFL career, including being selected to the Pro Bowl (including as injury replacements) and being selected first-team All-Pro. Players were also rewarded relative to where in the draft they were selected. First-round picks benefited least because a strong career would be expected; seventh-round picks benefited most. In some cases, a bonus for longevity or outstanding play was granted. See the full formula below the list of top picks.
UCLA has produced 56 draft choices since 2000, tied for 25th most among all schools. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected two of the Bruins' top five picks in that time, led by NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew. Jacksonville, in fact, turned to the Bruins for both of its first two selections in 2006 (Marcedes Lewis, Jones-Drew). The Bruins have infused a lot of young defensive talent into the pro ranks in recent years (Myles Jack, Kenny Clark, Eric Kendricks), though none of them have reached a Pro Bowl or otherwise earned formula points. Four more Bruins will be defensive rookies this fall, including Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Takkarist McKinley.
Best picks of the century from UCLA
1. Maurice Jones-Drew, running back
Drafted by:Jaguars, No. 60 overall pick (Round 2), 2006
Skinny: Jones-Drew's height (5-foot-7) was among the scouting concerns about him entering the 2006 draft, and he was the sixth running back selected that year. But his height didn't prevent him from amassing over 13,000 career all-purpose yards. He shared carries with Fred Taylor over the first three years of his career, and Jones-Drew was very effective as half of a backfield duo. Once he took over as a full-time starter in 2009, he ripped off three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons and led the NFL with 1,606 rushing yards in 2011. He played eight of his nine NFL seasons in Jacksonville, finishing in Oakland in 2014. He's now an NFL Network analyst.
2. Anthony Barr, linebacker
Drafted by:Vikings, No. 9 overall pick (Round 1), 2014
Skinny: Barr was a top-10 pick and the second linebacker drafted in 2014, after the Raiders' Khalil Mack, despite a lack of experience at the position (he played on offense his first two years at UCLA). Barr has reached the Pro Bowl in two of his first three NFL seasons, albeit as a replacement player both times. He started every game for Minnesota for the first time in his career last season, and the Vikingsexercised the fifth-year option on his contract last month. Still, his play took something of a step backward in 2016, and coach Mike Zimmer said in December that Barr "has a tendency to coast."
3. Alterraun Verner, cornerback
Drafted by:Titans, No. 104 overall pick (Round 4), 2010
Skinny: One of three defensive backs drafted by the Titans in 2010, Verner had the longest career of the trio (Robert Johnson, Myron Rolle). He played his first four years in Tennessee before signing a four-year contract with Tampa Bay. In 2013, his last year with the Titans, he set career highs in interceptions (five) and passes defensed (22), earning a Pro Bowl invitation. He was released by the Buccaneers earlier this year.
4. Marcedes Lewis, tight end
Drafted by:Jaguars, No. 28 overall pick (Round 1), 2006
Skinny: Lewis never developed into the offensive weapon that is expected of a first-round pick, but the Jaguars have liked him enough to keep him for 11 seasons and counting, including a 2011 franchise tag and yet another contract extension signed last year. Lewis had his best year in 2010, earning Pro Bowl honors after catching 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 TDs.
5. Matthew Slater, wide receiver
Drafted by:Patriots, No. 158 overall pick (Round 5), 2008
Skinny: New England traded up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to select Slater, who was a special-teams ace with the Bruins, and he's been a special-teams ace in the NFL, as well. The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, Matthew made six consecutive Pro Bowls and was selected first-team All-Pro last year. He's also been the Patriots' special-teams captain for most of his career.
Total number of picks from UCLA since 2000: 58
2017 draft picks from UCLA (5): DE Takkarist McKinley, Falcons (Round 1, No. 26 overall); CB Fabian Moreau, Redskins (Round 3, No. 81 overall); DT Eddie Vanderdoes, Raiders (Round 3, No. 88 overall); LB Jayon Brown, Titans (Round 5, No. 155 overall); OT Conor McDermott, Patriots (Round 6, No. 211 overall).
Draft multiplier: Total points for first-round picks x 1.1; second-round picks x 1.2; third-round picks x 1.3; fourth-round picks x 1.4; fifth-round picks x 1.5; sixth-round picks x 1.6; seventh-round picks x 1.7.
Tiebreaker: Ranking edge to lower-drafted player within same round.
Specialists and fullbacks: For players honored primarily as specialists or fullbacks, their total points were devalued. Kickers and punters were not included in this exercise.