BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis
The Mountain West Conference has been a consistent producer of NFL talent the past few drafts. An average of 11.2 players have been selected from the conference during the last five drafts, including three first-round picks (Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin and running back Doug Martin in 2012, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes in 2010).
Independent teams haven’t produced the amount of picks that the MWC has, but thanks to Notre Dame, they have had more top talent. There have been an average of 3.6 players selected from independent FBS programs during the last five drafts, including four first-round picks (BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in 2013, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and safety Harrison Smith in 2012).
Notre Dame defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Stephen Tuitt and Brigham Young’s linebacker Kyle Van Noy give the independent teams a number of potential first-round picks again in the 2014 NFL draft. The MWC boasts quarterback prospects David Fales (San Jose State) and Derek Carr (Fresno State) and an intriguing, athletic defensive lineman in Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence.
In this article, we’ll explore some other players to keep an eye out for amongst the Independent and Mountain West teams.