The Mid-American conference has produced surprisingly-solid NFL talent in the last decade. Of those prospects, many have been very good NFL quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Chad Pennington, and others have been decent signal callers like Byron Leftwich or Bruce Gradkowski.
It’s not that the conference hasn’t had its fair share of legendary athletes, notably Pittsburgh Steelers icon Jack Lambert and former New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson. However, it seemed like for a few decades in between, the MAC was known not for those making plays on the field, but for the guys in charge of leading those programs.
Beyond a recent stretch of quarterbacks making successful transitions, the MAC was probably best-known for serving as a launching pad for some of the best coaches in NCAA football.
Sometimes referred to as the “Cradle of Coaches”, prominent figures in their profession include larger-than-life guys like Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, and Ara Parseghian. More recently, the list also features Urban Meyer, Jim Grob, and the late Terry Hoeppner. Recently hired Notre Dame coach, Brian Kelly, also cut his teeth at Central Michigan.
In recent years, defensive players from the MAC have shifted the spotlight away from the offense. A couple players come to mind who have taken little time to explode onto the NFL scene, like Louis Delmas (Detroit Lions) and Jason Jones (Tennessee Titans), a pair of second round picks in 2008 and 2009.
But the top 2010 NFL draft prospects from the MAC are either wide receivers or quarterbacks — except for one Toledo Rockets defender. Here are the top six players in the MAC conference in the 2010 NFL draft.