The Mountain West hasn't produced a No. 1 NFL Draft pick since Utah quarterback Alex Smith was selected first by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. Nonethless, the conference still has more No. 1 picks than the Big 12 since 2000.
Three years before Smith was drafted, the Houston Texans took Fresno State quarterback David Carr with the top pick. The Heisman finalist was the first No. 1 pick in conference history, which given the conference was established just three years earlier, is not surprising. It is, however, surprising that just 19 years after formation, the Mountain West is on the verge of adding a third No. 1 pick.
In his first mock draft, longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicted the Cleveland Browns will select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the top pick. Kiper does not believe Allen is the best overall prospect — or even best quarterback — but at this stage predicts the Browns will take him.
"My evaluations on this quarterback class are really close," Kiper wrote. "I've gone back and forth a few times on Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Allen, but I just moved Allen up to my No. 1 quarterback. His numbers aren't impressive, I know. But the NFL is all about projection, and he has a high ceiling."
If Kiper is correct, it means nearly 16 percent of the top picks since the Mountain West was formed in 1999 will be Mountain West players. Over that same time, just one Big 12 player has been selected first overall, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford (2010). Yes, the sample size is modest but it's still a bizarre note.
Here's a breakdown of the number of first-overall picks by conference since 2000:
|Conference||No. 1 Picks||Most Recent|
|SEC||6||Myles Garrett, Texas A&M – 2017|
|Pac-12||3||Jared Goff, Cal – 2016|
|ACC||3||Jameis Winston, Florida State – 2015|
|Big Ten||2||Jake Long, Michigan – 2008|
|Mountain West||2||Alex Smith, Utah – 2005|
|MAC||1||Eric Fisher, Central Michigan – 2013|