Alabama, LSU lead the way in players drafted by the NFL

Saban pours on praise for Fitzpatrick, Ridley (1:45)

Nick Saban shares his thoughts on how former Alabama players Minkah Fitzpatrick and Calvin Ridley will fare in the NFL. (1:45)

The 2018 NFL draft is here, and everyone is playing the waiting game.

It's also time for schools to print out and digitize bragging rights for fans, opponents and mostly recruits to digest and study over the coming months. See, the NFL draft is pretty important to NFL teams, but it's also a chance for schools to let you know just how good they are at churning out NFL talent.

Sometimes you don't need no stinkin' championships when you can sell recruits on getting them to the league for all those millions of dollars.

As we agonize over who the Cleveland Browns will select with the first pick -- and consequently send into football purgatory -- we're here to show you which schools have done the best job of sending players to the NFL over the past decade.

Most draft picks the past 10 years: Alabama, LSU (65)

If pulling the rug out from under Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs in the second half of the 2017 national championship wasn't enough, Alabama claims a share of the draft title over the past decade. It's easier to win five national titles when you have 22 first-rounders since the 2008 draft. LSU, which is always being compared to Alabama, is still 11 behind Alabama in first-round picks in the past 10 years.

Next best
USC: 62
Ohio State: 56
Florida: 55

Most quarterbacks: USC (4)
Sam Darnold is projected by some to be the first guy taken in the draft, but regardless of when he's picked, he'll be the fifth USC quarterback selected since the 2008 draft. Darnold is expected to be the first USC quarterback taken in the first round since Mark Sanchez was drafted fifth overall in 2009. If Darnold goes No. 1, he'll be the first Trojans quarterback selected first since Carson Palmer in 2003.

Next best
Florida State: 3
Tennessee: 3
Arkansas: 3
Texas A&M: 3

Most running backs: LSU (9)
Leonard Fournette is the only LSU back to be taken in the first round (No. 4 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017) in the past 10 years, but the Tigers could get another one this year with junior Derrius Guice making the early NFL leap. Guice, who battled through injuries in 2017, rushed for 1,251 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper lists him as his No. 2 running back on his final Big Board.

Next best
Alabama: 8
Arkansas: 7

Most wide receivers: LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma (9)
LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. is the only receiver from these schools to be drafted in the first round (No. 12 to the New York Giants in 2014), and that trend could continue in 2018. LSU's D.J. Chark is climbing up draft boards and could sneak into the first round, but it's a down year for all three schools in terms of numbers at the position. On Kiper's Big Board, only Chark (No. 4) and Oklahoma's Jeff Badet (No. 35) and Jordan Smallwood (No. 86) rank inside his top 126 receiver prospects.

Most tight ends: Notre Dame, Stanford, Arkansas, Miami (5)
At least one tight end has been taken from one of these teams in nine of the past 10 drafts. There's a chance that three of these schools could see their guys drafted over the weekend, as Miami's Chris Herndon (No. 7), Stanford's Dalton Schultz (No. 9) and Notre Dame's Durham Smythe (No. 12) all made Kiper's Big Board.

Most offensive linemen: Alabama (12)
Despite how dominant Alabama's offensive lines have been under Nick Saban's rule, the Tide have seen only five first-rounders come from this position in the past 10 years. And with center Bradley Bozeman as the only Alabama OL prospect in this draft, Tide linemen should get shut out of the first round for the second straight year.

Next best
Florida: 10
Wisconsin: 10

Most defensive linemen: LSU (14)
This has always seemed like LSU's wheelhouse in the draft, and these Tigers could see a few guys taken up front again in 2018. The headliner is defensive end Arden Key, who has first-round talent but looks like a second-round pick right now.

Next best
Clemson: 13
Alabama: 13

Most linebackers: Ohio State (11)
Penn State is not going to be happy about the Buckeyes taking the modern-day Linebacker U moniker. Ohio State's Urban Meyer has had three linebackers go in the first or second round in three of the past four drafts. Jerome Baker and Chris Worley both have a chance to get drafted at some point over the weekend.

Next best
Georgia: 10
USC: 9

Most defensive backs: LSU (16)
The Tigers and Gators have gotten into quite the spat over the past couple of years about who really is DBU. Well, according to the draft numbers, it's LSU. The Tigers lead everyone in the country, with 16 defensive backs drafted over the past 10 years, while Florida has 11.

Next best
Alabama: 14
Ohio State: 14
USC: 12
Clemson: 12

Most kickers: Florida State, Georgia (2)
It's not a glamorous position, but they are very important. The problem for both of these schools is they don't have any kicker prospects this year. If Florida's Eddy Pineiro (Kiper's No. 2 kicker) gets drafted, the Gators will have had two place-kickers taken in the past five years.

Most picks by conference the past five years
SEC: 270
ACC: 189
Pac-12: 169
Big Ten: 169
Big 12: 104

Conference that will rule the weekend: SEC
Having 270 draft picks over the past five years is insane, and the SEC has led all conferences in draft picks each of the past 11 years and has had 50 first-round picks since 2013. Also, consider the fact that the SEC finished with 12 total top-10 recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015, and during those two years the SEC also signed 162 ESPN 300 members. That just means more southern talent is going to get snatched up this weekend.

Conference to keep an eye on: Big Ten
While the ACC has had 20 more total picks than the Big Ten over the past five years, the Big Ten could surprise this weekend. Last year, Ohio State and Michigan combined to have five first-rounders between them. In the past two years, 205 players have been selected in the first three rounds, with 94 of the 205 (46 percent) having played in the SEC (52) or Big Ten (42). In Kiper's final Big Board, he listed 37 Big Ten players among his top 300 prospects.

Conference that will struggle: Big 12
Even if the Browns are 100 percent serious about considering Baker Mayfield with the first pick, the Big 12 is going to need a lot more than the Heisman Trophy winner to help a conference that has been a relative no-show in the draft of late. The Big 12 has had just 11 first-round picks over the past five drafts, the fewest of all Power 5 conferences by 10. Mayfield is the only Big 12 player listed within the first 42 players on Kiper's Big Board, coming in at No. 12. Only five Big 12 players are projected to get drafted in Kiper and Todd McShay's three-round, head-to-head mock draft.

Best prospect based on college résumé: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

All Barkley did at Penn State was finish his career as the school leader in all-purpose yards (5,538) and rushing touchdowns (43). He's the only player in Penn State history with at least 3,000 rush yards and 1,000 receiving yards, and 11 of his 18 rushing touchdowns in 2017 came on runs inside the tackles (most among Power 5 players).

Biggest sleeper based on college résumé: Oren Burks, S/LB, Vanderbilt

You probably don't know who Burks is, but he was one of the SEC's most versatile defenders over the past few years. Burks played safety, was a hybrid safety-outside linebacker and was a hybrid safety-inside linebacker in his last three years with the Commodores, which affords him the ability to play in just about any defensive scheme thrown at him. Burks finished his Vandy career with 237 tackles, including 136 solo tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and five interceptions.