Regional Positional Breakdowns Of The NFL

In part four of his NFL roster series breakdown, National Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg looks at which regions are putting which positions in the NFL.

NFL Rosters Breakdown Series
Part 1 - Daddy, where are NFL players from?
Part 2 - Where do student-athletes major in the NFL?
Part 3 - Drafted vs Undrafted Players
Part 5 - NFL Veterans: Where are they from?
Part 6 – Top NFL Producing High Schools

In part four of my series breaking down the NFL rosters I take a look at which states and regions are raising NFL players, position by position. Does California produce the most quarterbacks? Where do the defensive linemen come from? How many offensive linemen come from the Midwest?

What’s interesting here is how the percentages from each region fall in line with the amount of college football prospects they produce. In the most recent college football recruiting class, 2,677 players signed D1 (FBS) scholarships. Here are the percentages of players who come from each region:

South: 38.0%
Midlands: 18.9%
Midwest: 15.9%
West: 16.0%
Atlantic 11.3%

Keep these numbers in mind as you read below, for statistical variations among different positions throughout the regions.

Quarterbacks (98)
The common perception in the NFL is that the state of California dominates this position. That’s partially correct, as this state currently has produced 17 signal callers in the NFL. But Texas actually has more with 19 quarterbacks. If you breakdown the starters as of last weekend these two states are tied at six.

Florida is next but there’s a hitch. Geno Smith is a second-year player while Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are rookies. For whatever reason this football rich state has struggled mightily in terms of producing quarterbacks. In fact, prior to this past May’s draft, only three players that played quarterback in high school and college were actually drafted in the first round: John Reaves, Daunte Culpepper and Tim Tebow. That’s a strange anomaly when it comes to football in the Sunshine State.

Overall, the West (25) leads the Midland (23) by two. Next is the South (20) followed by the regions of the Atlantic (17) and Midwest (13).

After Texas and California, no other states have double digit signal callers in the NFL. Florida (7), Pennsylvania (7), Virginia (6), Georgia (5), Illinois (4), and Ohio (4) are the other state top producers of this position.

In terms of week seven starters in the NFL, here is a breakdown of the other states: Georgia (2), Louisiana (2), Ohio (2), and Virginia (2) while Iowa, New Jersey, Arizona, Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi each have one.

Defensive Line (311)
Here’s a huge reason why the SEC has dominated college football: the South region has produced 138 (44.4%) of the 311 NFL defensive linemen. The game can evolve all it wants but you better win the line of scrimmage. There’s no better way to counter attack the pass happy game of football than to put pressure on the quarterback.

To get perspective on the statistical anomalies by position it's best to go back to the college ranks and see what percentage of players sign D1 scholarships from each region. It means more to find out that the South produces 44% of all defensive linemen in the NFL, knowing that 38% of all college players come from the South.

The state of Florida leads the way here, as the Sunshine State has produced 11 defensive ends and 24 defensive tackles in the NFL. Georgia (20), South Carolina (19), Alabama (18), North Carolina (15) and Louisiana (15) are not too far behind. There’s just depth across the board.

If you put the state of California in the South they would be tied for fifth with 15. That’s amazing to me, especially considering this is the state that has produced the most NFL players.

Texas is the state that has produced the second-most defensive linemen with 33. Illinois (11) and Ohio (10) are the only other states in double digit NFL defensive linemen.

New York has eight defensive tackles in the NFL. Pennsylvania has seven and Utah has five.

After the South, the Midlands is the next best region in producing defensive linemen with 47, followed by the West (44), Atlantic (44), and Midwest (38).

Defensive Back (434)
Again, the South leads the way with 164 (38%) safeties and cornerbacks. That’s over a third of the overall number of 434.

California (62), Florida (61), Texas (42), and Georgia (35) are by far and away the leading states in terms of defensive backs.

The Midlands follows the South with 104 defensive backs, followed by the West (74), Atlantic (58) and Midwest (34).

Offensive Line (360)
Surprisingly the South leads the way with 105 offensive linemen in the NFL. Florida has never been known for this position but they have the region’s most NFL offensive linemen with 24. Louisiana (17) is next with 17 and Georgia has 16. The surprise state is Tennessee with 14.

The common theme is that linemen come from the Midwest. That region actually has a terrific output at 79. Ohio leads the way with 22, followed by Illinois (14), Wisconsin (12), and Michigan (11) – all double digit states.

California has by far and away the most here with 47 offensive linemen. No other state out west has more than seven (Colorado).

Only two states in the Atlantic region have more than ten in Pennsylvania (13) and Virginia (10).

Texas has a large number at 34. The rest of the Midlands region only has 15 combined.

After the South, the West has a total of 81, followed by West (81), Midwest (79), Midlands (49) and Atlantic (46).

Running Backs (182)
The states that produce the most running backs are Florida (29), Texas (26) and California (22). It’s no big surprise but they do make up 44% of all backs in the NFL. Only Georgia (11) and Michigan (10) have double digit running backs in the NFL.

The South (62) has the most followed by the Atlantic region (35), Midlands (34), West (32) and the Midwest (19). The East here is the surprise. They had 11% of last season’s college signees and the number here is 19% of backs in the NFL.

Wide Receivers (259)
Would you be surprised if I told you that 112 (43%) of the 259 wide receivers in the NFL are from Florida (43), California (37) and Texas (32)? The numbers fall of the cliff from there, with South Carolina being next with 15 followed by Ohio (12) and Louisiana (10). I am surprised these are the only states in double digits.

As expected regionally, the South has a huge number here 102 (39.4%). Next comes the West (47), Midlands (46), Midwest (36) and Atlantic (28).

Tight End (132)
The West leads the way in producing tight ends at 41. California makes up 31 of that number.

The Midwest comes in next with 30, followed by the South (27), Atlantic (19) and Midlands (15). You may ask why the low number in the low? My theory is that high school coaches typically make their big athletes that may play tight end on defense as ends or even outside linebackers.

Linebackers (294)
The South leads the way here with 105 linebackers in the NFL. Like most positions, the percentage of players from this region almost falls in line with that amount of college football prospects it produces.

As far as individual states go, Florida (37), California (35), Georgia (24), Texas (19) and Ohio (18) lead the way.

The West is second with 61, followed by the Atlantic (51), Midwest (49) and Midlands (28).

Part 1 - Daddy, where are NFL players from?
Part 2 - Where do student-athletes major in the NFL?
Part 3 - Drafted vs Undrafted Players
Part 5 - NFL Veterans: Where are they from?
Part 6 – Top NFL Producing High Schools

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