SEC and the draft

No one can anticipate what will happen in the NFL Draft, and a lot of SEC football players learned that lesson over the weekend. Many of them learned it the hard way.

Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, as expected, was one of the top dozen picks. South Carolina cornerback Jonathan Joseph, as expected, went late in Round 1. Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans, as expected, went early in Round 2. Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle and Mississippi State running back Jerious Norwood, as expected, went in Round 3. Otherwise, almost no one from the SEC went where he was projected.

Here are the top risers:

Jason Allen, DB, Tennessee: Projected by most analysts to go in Round 2, he went to Miami with Pick 16 in Round 1.

Joseph Addai, RB, LSU: Rated a second-rounder by most, he was taken with Pick 30 in Round 1 by the Colts, who are desperate to replace the departed Edgerrin James.

Roman Harper, DB, Alabama: Considered a third- to fourth-rounder, he went to New Orleans with Pick 11 in Round 2.

Now look at the key fallers:

Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson, projected to go in the middle of Round 1, slipped to New England with Pick 4 in Round 2.

Auburn tackle Marcus McNeil, rated a first-round talent, fell to San Diego with Pick 18 in Round 2 due to concerns about his back .

LSU defensive lineman Claude Wroten, rated a first-round talent, fell to St. Louis with Pick 4 in Round 3 because of character concerns.

Georgia tight end Leonard Pope, another guy considered a possible first-rounder, fell to Arizona at Pick 8 in Round 3.

Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles, rated a second-rounder, fell all the way to Philadelphia with Pick 2 in Round 4.

South Carolina safety Ko Simpson, considered a first- or second-rounder, slipped to Buffalo at Pick 8 in Round 4.

Tennessee defensive end Parys Haralson, linebacker Omar Gaither and defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona – all rated potential third-round selections – lasted until Round 5.

Georgia safety Greg Blue, projected for Round 2 or 3, also fell to Round 5. So did Alabama defensive end Mark Anderson, another guy who supposedly had a second- to third-round grade.

Perhaps the biggest free-fall was taken by Florida cornerback Dee Webb. Rated a possible second-rounder, he fell to Jacksonville with Pick 28 of Round 7.

Not surprisingly, SEC East champ Georgia and SEC West champ LSU led the SEC with seven draft picks each. Tennessee and Alabama produced five apiece.

Auburn had four players tabbed, followed by Florida (3) and South Carolina (2). Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss had one draftee each. Kentucky whiffed.

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