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What School Is Defensive Back U.?

Welcome to the fourth installment in our series to determine which schools have done the best job in recent years of producing top NFL draft picks.

Miami (repped by Ed Reed), Ohio State (with Bradley Roby) and Texas (with Kenny Vaccaro) each have a strong secondary pedigree

You can check out the links below for our look at the schools who have done the best job of producing quarterbacks, defensive linemen and wide receivers. Today, we take a look at the schools who have done the best job of preparing and producing defensive backs.

For our analysis, we used the last 15 years of the NFL draft. In each draft, we looked for defensive backs who were drafted in the first three rounds. For the purpose of this analysis, we included all players listed as safeties, cornerbacks and defensive backs in the NFL.com draft history web site.

Below the school rankings we also have more data on schools and conferences that have produced defensive backs at football’s highest level. Plus, we have more interesting information on the defensive back position group.

Defensive Back U. Ratings

Using the last 15 years of the NFL draft (top three rounds) as a barometer, here is a look at which schools have excelled at producing defensive backs for the NFL (Note: We used first-round picks to break any ties):

1. Miami (Fla.)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 12; First-Round Picks: 9.

* The Skinny: Miami was close in two of our earlier installments, coming in fifth in the wide receiver list and sixth with the defensive line list. But it’s clear that Miami has done the best job of developing and producing defensive backs for the NFL in recent years.

The Canes have had nine DBs drafted in the first round in the survey period (1998-2012). That’s more than any other school except Ohio State has had drafted in the top three rounds in the last 15 years. The most impressive feat came in 2002, when Miami had three-first round picks with Phillip Buchanan, Ed Reed and Mike Rumph. Other notables include Sean Taylor (first round, 2004), Antrel Rolle (first round, 2005), Devin Hester (listed as a DB, second round, 2006) and Brandon Merriweather (first round, 2007).

2. Ohio State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 10; First-Round Picks: 6.

* The Skinny: Ohio State was fourth in the wide receiver analysis and now checks in No. 2 here in the secondary. The Buckeyes have produced a wealth of DB talent throughout the survey period.

Notables have included Antoine Winfield (first round, 1999), Nate Clements (first round, 2001), Mike Doss (second round, 2003), Chris Gamble (first round, 2004), Donte Whitner (first round, 2006) and Malcolm Jenkins (first round, 2009). Bradley Roby could add to this pedigree either in the 2014 draft if he comes out or in 2015.

3. Texas

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 5.

* The Skinny: Texas has had its share of first-rounders, including Quentin Jammer (2002), Michael Huff (2006), Aaron Ross (2007), Michael Griffin (2007) and Earl Thomas (2010).

Kenny Vaccaro is projected as a possible first-round pick in this year’s draft.

4. Alabama

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 4.

* The Skinny: Alabama, of course, has won its share of games and three national championships in the last four years. First-rounders for the Tide in that stretch include Fernando Bryant (1999), Kareem Jackson (2010), Mark Barron (2012) and Dre Kirkpatrick (2012). Dee Milliner figures as a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

5. Florida State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Florida State continues to be a fixture in these position analyses. Notable Seminole DBs drafted in the first three rounds in the last 15 years include Samari Rolle (second round, 1998), Derrick Gibson (first round, 2001), Antonio Cromartie (first round, 2006) and Patrick Robinson (first round, 2010). Corner Xavier Rhodes could be an early pick in this year’s draft.

6. Oklahoma

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Oklahoma has consistently produced top secondary talent during the Bob Stoops era in Norman. Notables include Roy Williams (first round, 2002), Andre Woolfolk (first round, 2003) and Jamell Fleming (third round, 2012).

7. (tie) USC

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: The Trojans have been known for their secondary play and stars since the program’s rebirth in the early 2000s. There has been just one USC defensive back taken in the first round in the last 15 years and that was Troy Polamalu in 2003.

Other notables here include Daylon McCutcheon (third round, 1999), Taylor Mays (second round, 2010) and Shareese Wright (third round, 2011).

7. (tie) Virginia Tech

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: Virginia Tech has also done a nice job producing secondary talent in recent years. Notables here include DeAngelo Hall (first round, 2004), Aaron Rouse (third round, 2007), Brandon Flowers (second round, 2008) and Jayron Hosley (third round, 2012).

9. (tie) Florida

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Would you believe we have a five-way tie for ninth with four SEC schools that all had seven DBs taken in the first three rounds of the draft since 1998 as well as three first-rounders in that time?

Florida has had three first-round DBs in the last 15 years, including Lito Shepherd (2002), Reggie Nelson (2007) and Joe Haden (2010).

Safety Matt Elam could be a top-three round pick this year, while Loucheiz Purifoy could be a factor in next year’s draft.

9. (tie) LSU

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: The Tigers have had three first-round DBs since 1998, including LaRon Landry (2007), Patrick Peterson (2011) and Morris Claiborne (2012).

9. (tie) South Carolina

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: South Carolina’s first-round DBs in the last 15 years include Dunta Robinson (2004), Johnathan Joseph (2006) and Stephon Gilmore (2012).

9. (tie) Tennessee

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Tennessee first-round DBs since 1998 include Terry Fair (1998), Jason Allen (2006) and Eric Berry (2010).

13. (tie) California

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Cal has produced some big-name defensive backs, including Deltha O’Neal (first round, 2000) and Nnamdi Asomugha (first round, 2003).

13. (tie) Nebraska

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: First-round DBs from Nebraska in the last 15 years include Fabian Washington (2005) and Prince Amukamura (2011).

15. UCLA

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: UCLA top-three round picks in the last 15 years include Shaun Williams (first round, 1998), Ricky Manning (third round, 2003) and Rahim Moore (second round, 2011).

More Comparisons

As we compiled the data, here were some more interesting comparisons:

* Honorable Mentions – Three schools had five defensive backs drafted in the top three rounds over the last 15 years. They are Colorado, Georgia and Penn State.

Eleven more schools had four DBs drafted in the first three rounds. They are: Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Iowa, Oregon, Texas A&M, Stanford and Syracuse.

* First-Round Picks -- In terms of first-round picks of defensive backs over the last 15 years, Miami has had the most with nine. Ohio State is next with six, followed by Texas with five and Alabama with four.

Schools with three DBs drafted in the first round in the last 15 years include Florida State, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan and Syracuse.

* This Year’s Class – Defensive backs projected by some as first- or second-round picks in this year’s draft include Alabama CB Dee Milliner, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, Washington CB Desmond Trufant, Connecticut CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Boise State CB Jamar Taylor, Florida safety Matt Elam, Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas and Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes.

* Next Year’s Class – Some of the top names mentioned for the 2014 NFL draft include Ohio State CB Bradley Roby, Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Stanford safety Ed Reynolds, Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert and Texas A&M CB Deshazor Everitt.

Previous Installments

Here are links to the previous installments in this series:

Quarterback U.

Defensive Line U.

Wide Receiver U.

Stay tuned in the weeks to come for analysis of the schools who have produced top draftees at each position group.

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