Two things came into focus Thursday night during the first round of the NFL draft.
Offensive linemen are at a premium and the Southeastern Conference rules the land.
A total of nine offensive linemen were selected in Round 1 after left tackles went 1-2 for the first time in history with Eric Fisher going to the Kansas City Chiefs and Luke Joeckel to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It started a run on linemen that didn’t end until the Dallas Cowboys selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick at No. 31 after a trade down with the San Francisco 49ers.
The SEC led the way as 12 of the 32 first-round picks came from the conference. Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker went back-to-back-to-back from Nos. 9-11 as the Crimson Tide continued to clean up.
The Florida Gators (Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam), Georgia Bulldogs (Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree) and LSU Tigers (Barkevious Mingo, Eric Reid) all had two players selected. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson, Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson and Joeckel rounded out the bunch from the SEC.
That is the most first-round picks from the SEC ever and it matches the mark the ACC had in 2006 when N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams went No. 1 overall, leading 12 players from that conference in the first round.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune