Who are the best draft picks of the century from the most prominent programs in college football? College Football 24/7 set out to answer this question by ranking the top draft picks since 2000 from the 30 schools that have produced the most picks since that year.
Players were ranked through a formula in which they received points for honors they've acquired in their NFL career, including being selected to the Pro Bowl (including as injury replacements) and being selected first-team All-Pro. Players were also rewarded relative to where in the draft they were selected. First-round picks benefited least because a strong career would be expected; seventh-round picks benefited most. In some cases, a bonus for longevity or outstanding play was granted. See the full formula below the list of top picks.
Auburn's 60 draft selections since 2000 ranks 22nd among all schools, and QB Cam Newton has clearly been the best of them. Of the 10 former Tigers listed here, only Newton and Karlos Dansby are still active. Newton's also the only one who was drafted after playing for current coach Gus Malzahn; the rest were placed in the NFL by former coach Tommy Tuberville.
Best picks of the century from Auburn
1. Cam Newton, quarterback
Drafted by:Panthers, No. 1 overall pick (Round 1), 2011
Skinny: Newton took the league by storm, taking home Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, and is the first player in NFL history to have at least 20,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in his first six seasons. Despite his physical rushing style, he's been durable enough to make 92 of a possible 96 regular-season starts. The 2015 NFL MVP led the Panthers to an NFC title and made three Pro Bowls.
2. Jay Ratliff, defensive tackle
Drafted by:Cowboys, No. 224 overall pick (Round 7), 2005
Skinny: Ratliff, who was considered undersized for a defensive tackle, lasted until Round 7, but he far exceeded expectations for such a late pick, making four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2008-2011. He enjoyed some of his best years in Wade Phillips' defense, making 104 starts over eight years in Dallas. You won't find many seventh-rounders with a resume like that.
3. Marcus McNeill, offensive tackle
Drafted by:Chargers, No. 50 overall pick (Round 2), 2006
Skinny: McNeill fell to the second round due to concerns about his health (he has spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spine). However, the Chargers got a rookie starter at left tackle in McNeill, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. He was a fixture in the Chargers' starting lineup through 2009, and was signed to a contract extension worth nearly $49 million, but a neck injury in 2011 ultimately ended his career.
4. Karlos Dansby, linebacker
Drafted by:Cardinals, No. 33 overall pick (Round 2), 2004
Skinny: Although Dansby has never been selected to a Pro Bowl, his career stands tall among other Auburn draft selections for a number of reasons. The Cardinals like him so much, they kept him for six years initially, brought him back in 2013, and have re-signed him yet again for 2017. He's recorded 100 plus tackles seven times, including 114 with the Bengals last year. Dansby enjoyed his most productive season in 2013 with 122 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions and 15 pass breakups.
5. Ben Grubbs, offensive guard
Drafted by:Ravens, No. 29 overall pick (Round 1), 2007
Skinny: Grubbs, who blocked alongside McNeill at Auburn in 2005, spent five seasons in Baltimore and became one of the league's best guards. The Saints signed him to a big free-agent deal in 2012. He was a three-year starter in New Orleans and made his second Pro Bowl in 2013, but his career came to end due to a neck injury he suffered in his final season (2015), which he spent with the Chiefs.
Total number of picks from Auburn since 2000: 60
Draft multiplier: Total points for first-round picks x 1.1; second-round picks x 1.2; third-round picks x 1.3; fourth-round picks x 1.4; fifth-round picks x 1.5; sixth-round picks x 1.6; seventh-round picks x 1.7.
Tiebreaker: Ranking edge to lower-drafted player within same round.
Specialists and fullbacks: For players honored primarily as specialists or fullbacks, their total points were devalued. Kickers and punters were not included in this exercise.