You have to give the Oregon football team credit -- to be anywhere near the national championship chase this season and to have won the conference and the Rose Bowl, was a great achievement, given the Ducks’ talent level. The players and the coaches may have overachieved.
The NFL completed its seven-round draft Saturday and Oregon had only four players selected and just one -- quarterback Justin Herbert -- in the first three rounds, which is where the true stars are taken.
And yes, I understand a lot of the Ducks’ talent was young. But that only serves to enhance the achievement. Yes, Oregon had a terrific senior quarterback, but it helps a great deal to have seasoned veterans on your team and the Ducks didn’t have a lot of them.
And neither did the Pac-12.
The SEC had 63 players drafted, the Big Ten had 48 and the Pac-12 just 32. And on top of that, the SEC had 40 of its picks in the first three rounds. The Pac-12 had a dozen over the first three rounds -- a huge disparity in top-end talent.
And make no mistake, the number of players drafted is a pretty good indicator of how good a conference or a team was during the season.
Here’s a look at the schools with the most players selected during the draft:
Ohio State: 10
Notre Dame: 6
I do expect, given the recruiting success Mario Cristobal is having in Eugene, that the Ducks will climb the ladder of teams featuring future NFL players.
And if they want to chase a national title or just do well outside of a mediocre conference, they better.