Ten NFL First-Round Draft Picks Have Allstate Sugar Bowl Connections

NEW ORLEANS (May 4, 2021) – Ten of the 32 players selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft had connections to the Allstate Sugar Bowl while 34 players who were on Allstate Sugar Bowl rosters, including eight first-round picks, were selected in the Draft overall. Over the last six years, 211 Sugar Bowlers have been selected in the NFL Draft.

While eight of this year’s first-round picks were members of teams in either the 2018, 2019, 2020 or 2021 Sugar Bowls, two first-rounders had other connections to the Sugar Bowl.

The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s Draft (selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars), Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the 2021 College Football Playoff at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, despite falling to Ohio State in the game. He was also a three-time finalist for the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Manning Award, which goes to the top collegiate quarterback in the country.

The 2020 Manning Award winner, Mac Jones from Alabama, was picked No. 15 overall by the New England Patriots. He was a member of the Crimson Tide’s 2018 Sugar Bowl team but did not see action in the game. No. 2 overall pick BYU’s Zach Wilson, selected by the New York Jets, was also a Manning Award finalist in 2020.

The No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, keyed the Tigers’ victory in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, hosted by the Sugar Bowl and other groups in New Orleans. Chase also participated in three Allstate Sugar Bowl Track & Field Classics as a high school athlete at Archbishop Rummel High School. He won the long jump in 2018 with a mark of 23 feet, one and three-quarter inches.

The 211 Sugar Bowlers (only includes players on Sugar Bowl rosters, not Manning Award winners or participants in other Sugar Bowl events) selected in the last six NFL Drafts include 48 first-rounders (either this year, nine last year, eight in 2019, five in 2018, eight in 2017 and 10 in 2016). Prior to the 34 picks in this year’s Draft, the Sugar Bowl saw 36 picks last year and 40 in 2019, as well as 35 alums selected in 2018, 32 in 2017 and 34 in 2016.

In the 2021 Draft, Ohio State led the way with 10 Sugar Bowlers drafted, including five in the top three rounds. Georgia, which played in the 2019 and 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowls, had eight Sugar Bowl players drafted. Clemson, which played in both the 2018 and 2021 Allstate Sugar Bowl Playoff Semifinals, and Alabama, which played in the 2018 Playoff Semifinal, each had five Sugar Bowl alums drafted.

Allstate Sugar Bowlers in the 2021 NFL Draft

Name School Sugar Bowl(s) NFL Team Round (Overall)
Trevor Lawrence Clemson 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars First (1)
DeVonta Smith Alabama 2018 Philadelphia Eagles First (10)
Justin Fields Ohio State 2019%, 2021 Chicago Bears First (11)
Mac Jones Alabama 2018# New England Patriots First (15)
Alex Leatherwood Alabama 2018# Las Vegas Raiders First (17)
Najee Harris Alabama 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers First (24)
Travis Etienne Clemson 2018, 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars First (25)
Eric Stokes Georgia 2019, 2020 Green Bay Packers First (29)
Tyson Campbell Georgia 2019, 2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Second (33)
Jackson Carman Clemson 2021 Cincinnati Bengals Second (46)
Azeez Ojulari Georgia 2019, 2020 New York Giants Second (50)
Sam Cosmi Texas 2019 Washington Football Team Second (51)
Pete Werner Ohio State 2021 New Orleans Saints Second (60)
Josh Myers Ohio State 2021 Green Bay Packers Second (62)
Joseph Ossai Texas 2019 Cincinnati Bengals Third (69)
Amari Rodgers Clemson 2018, 2021 Green Bay Packers Third (85)
Wyatt Davis Ohio State 2021 Minnesota Vikings Third (86)
Trey Sermon Ohio State 2021 San Francisco 49ers Third (88)
Monty Rice Georgia 2019, 2020 Tennessee Titans Third (92)
Ben Cleveland Georgia 2019#, 2020 Baltimore Ravens Third (94)
Baron Browning Ohio State 2021 Denver Broncos Third (105)
Tommy Togiai Ohio State 2021 Cleveland Browns Fourth (132)
Luke Farrell Ohio State 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars Fifth (145)
Ta’Quon Graham Texas 2019 Atlanta Falcons Fifth (148)
Caden Stearns Texas 2019 Denver Broncos Fifth (152)
Shaun Wade Ohio State 2021 Baltimore Ravens Fifth (160)
Richard LeCounte III Georgia 2019, 2020 Cleveland Browns Fifth (169)
Cornell Powell Clemson 2018, 2021 Kansas City Chiefs Fifth (181)
Trey Hill Georgia 2019, 2020 Cincinnati Bengals Sixth (190)
Deonte Brown Alabama 2018 Carolina Panthers Sixth (193)
Sam Ehlinger Texas 2019 Indianapolis Colts Sixth (218)
Thomas Fletcher Alabama 2018 Carolina Panthers Sixth (222)
Jonathan Cooper Ohio State 2021 Denver Broncos Seventh (239)
Mark Webb Georgia 2019, 2020 Los Angeles Chargers Seventh (241)

% Fields was on the Georgia roster for the 2019 Sugar Bowl but did not play in the game
# On team but did not participate in Bowl

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl, which will feature top teams from the SEC and the Big 12, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2022. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.

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