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Map Reveals the Most Successful States in the NFL Draft

Written by: James Whitelock
Updated October 14, 2022
6 min read

Every April, NFL owners, general managers, head coaches, and scouts retreat to their war rooms to prepare for the three-day spectacle that is the NFL Draft.

Hopeful players from colleges all over the country sit and await their fate. Some will realize their dream of playing in the NFL. Some may even make it to a Pro Bowl one day. For many, the phone doesn’t ring.

What separates those players that make the cut on Draft Day from those that don’t? How big of an impact does the college at which they cut their teeth have on their chances of success? We wanted to find out. So we collected data for all thousands of players that have been drafted in the NFL throughout history and the college that they each attended – going all the way back to 1936.

Check out what we found below! 

Which States Are the Best at Producing Pro NFL Stars?

Does size matter or is it something else, like football culture? Our analysis shows that states like Louisiana account for only 0.98% of the total USA population but have contributed 3.97% of the NFL draftees. Adversely, states such as California consist of 12.04% of the total US population but have contributed only 8.80% of the NFL draftees. So, Louisiana being less than 1/12 of the population of California is contributing nearly half the amount of NFL draftees that CA is. Learn more on the map below! 


For more info on the draft and who is being picked this year check out our expert analysis below!

Look What We Did Last Year – Discover Which Colleges Produce the Most NFL Stars  

Want to drill down even further? Want to see which colleges are producing the most individual stars? Check out our detailed map to see this and more, such as where Pro Bowler and Hall of Famers with the link below. We made this map last year at the end of the season to reflect how the draft was going forward from there. 

Our aim was not just to find out which colleges consistently produce NFL stars, because we already know that certain universities are renowned for their football programs. We were more interested in how we could compare colleges across the country in a visual way to highlight the impact they each have had in the NFL.

Check out the map here: Discover Which Colleges Produce the Most NFL Stars

We have also included data on active players, Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers which you can filter on the map.

The final result was an interactive map that pins every college that has ever had a player drafted in the NFL.

The size of each pin is representative of the total number of players drafted from that college. You can hover over each college to see exact numbers.

Note: This data has been updated with the results of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Top 10 Colleges with Most Players Drafted in the NFL

College State Players
Notre Dame IN 598
USC CA 528
Ohio St. OH 502
Michigan MI 416
Penn St. PA 407
LSU LA 399
Alabama AL 392
Nebraska NE 381
Oklahoma OK 381
Miami FL 377

Top 10 Colleges with Most Active Players Drafted in the NFL

College State Active Players
Alabama AL 61
Ohio St. OH 54
Miami FL 48
Florida FL 48
Florida St. FL 38
Notre Dame IN 37
Michigan MI 36
Clemson SC 36

Top 10 Colleges with Most NFL Pro Bowlers

College State Pro Bowlers
USC CA 238
Notre Dame IN 188
Miami FL 180
Ohio St. OH 174
Tennessee TN 140
LSU LA 128
Pittsburgh PA 122
Georgia GA 120
Penn St. PA 119
Texas TX 116

Top 10 Colleges with Most NFL Hall of Famers

College State Hall of Famers
Notre Dame IN 13
Pittsburgh PA 10
Miami FL 9
Ohio St. OH 8
Michigan MI 8
Alabama AL 8
Minnesota MN 7
Syracuse NY 7
Penn St. PA 6

For details on all colleges across the country be sure to check out the full map.

Take a look at our NFL Draft Guide for everything you need to know about the 2020 NFL Draft.

Our NFL experts have also created a First Round Mock Draft and Big Board covering the top 100 prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.

For latest NFL news, picks and odds head to our NFL page.


We collected data for this map from pro-football-reference.com.

Updated April 28, 2020.

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James Whitelock

35 Articles

James has more than a decade of experience working with online content in one form or another. Now Head of Sports at Gaming Innovation Group, James is responsible for ensuring WSN is delivering high quality and trustworthy sports content to its readers. His favorite sports teams are the Philadelphia Eagles and Manchester City, and his dream is to one day visit the Linc to watch the Eagles play live.

More info on James Whitelock
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