Mythbusting The SEC: 5. Are The Top Players Actually Bigger And Faster Than Everybody Else?

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 10: Tyler Lombardo #42 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Danny Trevathan #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

5. Are the SEC’s top players actually bigger and faster than everyone else, or are there just more good players?

I think the only way I can think to judge this from draft results is by looking at first round picks. If you’re an elite athlete that makes everyone else on the field look like they’re playing at a slower speed, you’re almost certain to be a first round draft pick.

Does the SEC have a disproportionate share of first round picks? Again, it would appear the SEC faithful are correct. Note in the graph below how most of the red and blue lines are pretty close to their averages, except the first round SEC average.

Secpercentofpicksbyround_medium

Graph notes:

1) I used the next 4 highest conferences for the "other conferences" comparison (Big Ten, ACC, PAC 10 and Big 12).

2) Please keep in mind that there are extra picks in rounds 3 through 6, and even more compensatory picks in round 7, so the downward slope is natural.

Now, the sample sizes are just small enough that this could be noise in the data. After all, I see no reason why the SEC should be bad at producing sixth-round picks, so clearly that’s just luck of the draw whether they’re sixth or seventh round. But the first round is reserved for the most elite athletes. This isn’t where teams just take a chance on an iffy player, but well considered decisions. I think that trend is real.

So now, we’ve looked at how much overall talent the SEC has, how many elite players they have, how concentrated that talent is among the top teams and where those players play. The final section discusses what does it mean for Mizzou’s move to the SEC.

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Intro
1. Is The SEC The Most Talented Conference In The Country?
2. Are The Top Teams Extra Talented?
3. Is The Talent Advantage Only At Certain Positions?
4. Does The SEC Put Its Best Players On Defense?
5. Are The Top Players Actually Bigger And Faster Than Everybody Else?
What Does It Mean For Mizzou?
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