Duke: No first-round selections in the last decade
The Blue Devils are the only ACC team that hasn’t produced a first-round selection in the last decade. In fact, the last time a player from Duke was selected in the first round was in 1987, when the Cleveland Browns took linebacker Mike Junkin with the fifth pick in that year’s draft.
The pickings were slim for Wake Forest, as LB Aaron Curry was the Demon Deacons' only first round selection of the last 10 years. Curry, the 2008 Butkus Award winner, appeared destined to have a bright NFL future, as he was picked No. 4 overall in 2009 by the Seattle Seahawks, but he could not live up to the hype. Curry played five years in the NFL and never recorded more than 60 tackles and four sacks in a season.
Elusive running back C.J. Spiller gets the edge over star wide receiver Sammy Watkins (No. 4 overall pick by the Bills in 2014) as Clemson’s top first-round pick of the last decade due to his longer resume. Spiller, who just signed a four-year deal with the New Orleans Saints, was a 2013 Pro Bowl selection and has racked up 3,321 rushing yards, 1,195 receiving yards and 18 TDs over the course of his career.
The latest first-round pick produced by Florida State looks like the best one over the past 10 years. Benjamin, who set an FSU school record with 17.93 yards per catch, continued to shine at the next level, turning in a rookie season to remember by grabbing 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine TDs. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound athletic freak gets the nod over former FSU stars Antonio Cromartie and Ernie Simms.
The Cards have put out some quality pros over the last 10 years, but a lot of them, like DE Elvis Dumervil, were not first-round picks, leaving Teddy Bridgewater as Louisville’s top first-rounder. Bridgewater, the final first-round pick in 2014, threw for 2,912 yards and 14 TDs at the helm of an anemic Vikings offense and appears to be on the way to becoming a franchise QB.
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Syracuse: DE Chandler Jones, No. 21 overall (2012), New England Patriots
Needing somebody to rush the passer and revive anaging defense, the New England Patriots drafted Syracuse DE Chandler Jones with the 21st pick in the 2012 draft, and he has not disappointed. Jones exploded for 11.5 sacks in 2013 and has not had fewer than six sacks in any of his three seasons.
The Hokies produced a solid first-round offensive tackle in Duane Brown. He has anchored the left side of the Houston Texans’ offensive line since his rookie year and has developed into an imposing force. Brown was an All-Pro in 2012 and has made each of the last three Pro Bowls.
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Virginia: LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, No. 4 overall (2006), New York Jets
The New York Jets found themselves a stalwart blind-side protector in Virginia product D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He has started every single game of his nine-season career at left tackle (144 games). Ferguson’s most dominant stretch came from 2009-2011, when he made three consecutive Pro Bowls.
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Miami: S Antrel Rolle, No. 8 overall (2005), Arizona Cardinals
The NFL is never short on Miami products, but safety Antrel Rolle stands a notch above the rest when it comes to first-round picks over the last decade. Rolle first made noise as a cornerback with the Arizona Cardinals before signing as a safety with the New York Giants, with whom he won Super Bowl XLVI. This offseason, he signed with the Chicago Bears.
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North Carolina: DE Robert Quinn, No. 14 overall (2011), St. Louis Rams
After an 11-sack season during his sophomore season at UNC, Robert Quinn was ready to take on the NFL. The St. Louis Rams made him their starting right defensive end in 2012 and have reaped the benefits ever since. Quinn was an All-Pro two seasons ago for his 19.5-sack campaign.
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Boston College: LB Luke Kuechly, No. 9 overall (2012), Carolina Panthers
In three years at Boston College, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly racked up an ACC-record 532 tackles en route becoming the Carolina Panthers' first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2012 draft. In Charlotte, Kuechly continued to be a tackling machine, leading the NFL with 164 stops to win the AP’s Rookie of the Year award. In three years with the Panthers, Kuechly has never recorded fewer than 150 tackles in season.
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N.C. State: DE Mario Williams, No. 1 overall (2006), Houston Texans
Defensive end Mario Williams was a slam-dunk choice for N.C. State’s top first-round product of the past decade, especially considering QB Philip Rivers missed the cut by one year. Williams, selected over Reggie Bush as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 draft, has registered 91 career sacks, three Pro Bowl selections and was named to the All-Pro team in 2007.
The only team to pass on Calvin Johnson in 2007 was the Oakland Raiders, who selected LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell instead. The 6-foot-5, 239-pound former Yellow Jacket fell into the lap of the Detroit Lions, and the rest is history. Johnson’s NFL-record 1,964 receiving yards in 2012 came in the middle of three consecutive All-Pro bids.
Pitt: CB Darrelle Revis, No. 14 overall (2007), New York Jets
Pitt wasn’t a member of the ACC when Darrelle Revis was a Panther, but now the conference can lay claim to arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. The "Revis Island" reputation first arose with the New York Jets, but the four-time All-Pro won Super Bowl XLIX as a New England Patriot this past February.