New Coaches, Transition Reason for Poor Big Ten Showing in NFL Draft

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterApril 30, 2013

By now, you've all heard how the major college football conferences fared in the NFL draft. The SEC, kings of the world, paced all leagues with 63 guys drafted, more than doubling the ACC's second-place 31. With just eight teams, the lowly Big East had 19 players selected, while the Big Ten, with 12 teams, only had 22 players picked, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

While that number doesn't look great for the Big Ten, the good news is this is not going to be the norm for a conference that is now on the downhill side of a major transition. The Big Ten took a step back, but is setting itself to regain that ground in the coming years.

The biggest names in the league—Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State—are all working with new coaches who are pushing to improve their talent levels, a good sign for the conference's NFL prospects as a whole. Teams like Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois are also looking to upgrade with new hires.

Rutgers and Maryland join the conference in 2014, and while they are not going to be powerhouses, both teams will help put players into the league.

Hell, as it stands right now, the future of the Big Ten, from an NFL draft standpoint, is brighter than some other leagues not named the SEC.

Unless, of course, you are Nebraska. Of all the teams in the Big Ten that are looking at the draft numbers and wondering what happens next, the Cornhuskers are the team that will be the most interesting to watch. Watching Bo Pelini work to improve his talent level, without the Texas and West Coast ties that it lost in leaving the Big 12, as Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke beat the recruiting trail will tell the story of Nebraska's coming NFL drafts.

After just two players were selected in the 2013 draft, the lowest 'Huskers total since 1969, we'll see how Pelini rebounds in the Big Ten with competition improving around him. If he can get the Blackshirts' defense back into solid form, he can definitely keep Huskers flowing to the league.

So, while the Big Ten had its worst NFL draft since 1994, the future for the league as a whole looks very bright. Talent is being pumped into the programs, the turmoil of transition is coming to a close, and teams are set to get better. As teams get better, so too will their NFL draft numbers.