Greetings once again, NFL fans! For the last entry of this ‘Fun Fact’ series, the focus of this blog will be of the NFL defensive players who have collectively contributed to their respective teams statically during the 2011 regular season. As with the previous three blogs, the groupings will be according to the collegiate conferences at the time the players left school to enter the NFL draft. Speaking of the draft, we are now entering the three week mark until the 2012 draft!
Note: The fun facts will be based on various stats of the 2011 regular season’s 51 most productive defensive players of ALL positions and categorize according to the collegiate conference during the time they played.
FUN FACT # 1: The NCAA Conference with the most former players in the Top 51 in total tackles during the 2011 NFL season was the ACC.
There were a whopping ten former ACC players atop the Top 51 list in total tackles! As many would guess, the SEC was a close second with nine players and the Big 10 had eight former players. There were even four FCS players among the Top 51. The only conferences that were not on this list were the MAC conference and the Independents.
FUN FACT # 2: The Big 10 had the most total tackles per player among the Top 51.
The knock on the Big 10 Conference has always been their lack of speed. But no one can deny their propensity for hitting and tackling. The average total tackles for the former Big 10 players was 131.1 per player. It’s interesting to note that unlike most of the other conferences on this list, all 8 of the Big 10 players represented are all linebackers. This is significant because next on this list were the former FCS players, with an impressive 126.3 average among their four players. What’s more impressive is only one of those four was a linebacker; the other three were safeties! Nearly every conference with at least two former players represented averaged over 100 total tackles except two: the WAC (consisting of two safeties) and the SEC. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard that right! The big, bad SEC that has NINE players (including four linebackers) represented averaged only 97 tackles per player.
FUN FACT # 3: Not only do Big 10 defenders know how to tackle, they also like to get to the quarterback.
The Big 10 had the most former players in the Top 51 in terms of sacks. The Big 12 and SEC Conferences was a close second, tied with nine players apiece. The only conferences that did not have a single player among the Top 51 in sacks were the WAC and Independents, which seems to be a trend…
FUN FACT # 4: The Conference whose former players averaged the most quarterback takedowns during the 2011 regular season was the Sun Belt.
The three former Sun Belt players averaged 13.2 sacks per defender. The three former FCS players was next with a 12.5 sack average per player (though one of said players individual led the league in sacks with 22), while the two PAC-12 defensive players averaged 12 apiece. Even though it was mentioned earlier that the Big 10 had the most former players in the Top 51 in sacks, they collectively had the lowest sack average per player (8.2).
FUN FACT # 5: When it comes to interceptions, former ACC players lead the pack.
With eleven, the ACC had the most players in the Top 51. The SEC was a close second with ten former players, and the Big 10 had seven. The MAC Conference and the Independents were the only ones not represented.
FUN FACT # 6: But when it comes to interceptions per player, the underdogs led the pack.
Those pesky FCS players had the highest average interceptions per player among the four that qualified with 4.75. The PAC 12 and Mountain West Conferences (with six and three players, respectively) were next in line with 4.67 per player, while the ten SEC players had 4.5 interceptions apiece. Three conferences tied for the fewest interception average per player with a respectable 3.5 interceptions (ACC, Conference USA, and WAC).
Even though there are perceptions concerning the vast difference in talent level among the various NCAA conferences and even divisions, every conference has produce players that has contributed to the NFL landscape. So as you are watching the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft in anticipation of the players your favorite selects to contribute, kind in mind that the draft is bigger than the first day picks. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed researching and presenting this information to you.