Speed States: RevistedNovember 11, 2010
by: Jonathan Reynolds
There is a debate that rages on year after year and probably will as long as competitive football is played in this great nation. Which state produces the best talent? I mean, I’m from Texas and I KNOW that Texas produces more talent than any other state…right? I was also curious about which states produced the most “skill position” players (WR, DB, RB, LB, and I looked at QBs seperately). To make the sample size a little more current I looked at players who were drafted from 2000-2010, so free agent signees won’t be included. Some of the data was pretty predictable while some of the data might surprise you a little.
The top three talent producing states were probably the ones you would have predicted: Florida (190), California (185) and Texas (148). These are most likely the states that will continue to produce the most top flight talent over the next foreseeable future. The next set of states was a little surprising. Georgia had the fourth most with 77, then Louisiana with 67 and Ohio with 66. I wasn’t surprised that these states were next on the list but rather the order they appeared. I guess I just assumed that Louisiana or Ohio would be number four behind the Big 3. Looking at these numbers it is easy to see why the SEC has been so dominant in the NFL over the ten to twenty years. Virginia was the final state to make the list with 58. I really never would have guessed that Virginia would be this high but after thinking about it this state has really put some outstanding talent into the League.
Wide Receiver and Defensive Back are pretty much the two positions that are considered to have the fastest athletes in the NFL. Receiver was again led by the Big 3. California was on top with 51 followed by Florida with 50 and Texas with 37. The NFL is slowly turning into a QB/WR league. At a young age the fastest athletes will start to play WR due to it being the more high profile position. The defense will have to answer with a little change of its own. Defenses will begin to play a nickel as a base defense with a hybrid DB that is capable of stuffing the run as well as dropping back and helping out with sophisticated 5-man routes. The origin of this may start as early as junior high or high school. “Can you catch? No? Ok you are a DB. You can catch? Ok, you are a WR”. DB was also dominated by the same three states as all the other categories. Florida led with 74, and then it was California with 67 and Texas with 59.
Running Back has always been a glamorous position in the NFL. Almost all teams are starting to employ a 2-back system which means you will not see as many superstar RBs in the future. You will have a short yardage type back and a quick pass catching type RB. There will always be a need to have incredible speed at this position and the leading states were the same but it was a very close race. California was the leader with 25 and then Florida and Texas were tied with 24. I am not saying that RB will cease as a position in the NFL it is just that kids who may have wanted to RBs 20 years ago will now want to be a WR or a DB.
The answer to the question: which state produces the fastest and best talent in the NFL? Seems to be California for now, closely followed by Florida and Texas. I guess this gives California the bragging rights at least until the 2011 draft.