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Are we not going to see mid-majors become high NFL Draft picks anymore?

The portal just might kill the early round G5 draft pick

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

If you like podcasts, I recorded a segment yesterday with the Hang Up And Listen crew over at Slate, discussing Colorado’s massive roster purge, and why I think it’s a risky move. If you’re a Slate+ subscriber, there’s also a bonus audio segment there about where the NIL era is headed, if you’re interested.

The 2023 NFL Draft wrapped up over the weekend. Normally, the Draft is a multi-day celebration of the Bluest of Blue Chip football brands and a chance for the recruiting industry to take a victory lap. Generally speaking, the early rounds of the Draft, especially in recent years, are full of players from programs like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, USC, and LSU. This year’s top six picks came from Alabama, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Illinois (!), and Ohio State.

Still, in recent memory, plenty of elite players were selected from programs outside the P5, or even outside FBS, in the early rounds. The 2021 NFL Draft, for example, gave us two non-P5 QBs in the top five, and seven total players picked in the first two rounds. The 2022 NFL Draft had a whopping 12 players from outside the P5 in the first two rounds, including from four different FCS programs.

But this season? Not a single player outside a Power Five conference was picked in the first round. Like, at all. Only two were selected in the second round, (Cody Mauch of North Dakota State at pick 48, and Rashee Rice of SMU at pick 55).

2023 Draft: 0 First Rounders, 2 Second Rounders, 2 total

2022: 4 First Rounders, 8 Second Rounders, 12 total

2021: 4 First Rounders, 3 Second Rounders, 7 total

2020: 1 First Rounder, 4 Second Rounders, 5 total

2019: 2 First Rounders, 7 Second Rounders, 9 total

2018: 5 First Rounders, 7 Second Rounders, 12 total

Is this a one-off blip, or a potential sign of things to come? And what might have made the 2023 NFL Draft so tilted toward the biggest brands?

Let’s take a look.

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