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Data: Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the 14th straight year, the SEC led all conferences with 63 NFL draft picks, tied for the second-most ever in the modern draft era behind last year's 64.

The other side: Entering Thursday, FCS schools had produced an average of 18 picks per draft since the NFL shifted from 12 to seven rounds in 1993, with a high of 29 (1996) and a low of 12 (2003). This year, they produced just six.

  • LSU had 14 players selected, matching Ohio State's mark from 2004. Trailing them were Ohio State (10), Michigan (10) and Alabama (9).
  • 86 of the 130 FBS teams had at least one player drafted, and just nine Power 5 teams did not produce a draft pick.

The six FCS draftees:

  • S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois (64th pick)
  • TE Adam Trautman, Dayton (105th)
  • WR Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island (171st)
  • OL Lachavious Simmons, Tennessee State (227th)
  • QB Ben DiNucci, James Madison (231st)
  • DE Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State (254th)

The state of play: The cancellation of pro days and general chaos created by coronavirus appears to have hurt FCS prospects, with teams favoring the "less risky" FBS prospects who they likely had much more information about.

The bottom line: Some FCS players will sign as undrafted free agents or join practice squads, but plenty of talented players who may have realized their dreams this weekend if not for the pandemic are left with no clear next step.

  • Unlike basketball, there are no opportunities to play overseas. And unlike baseball and hockey, there is no robust minor league system. Simply put, they're on the outside looking in — and there's only one company hiring.

Elsewhere:

  • D-II: The Patriots used the 37th pick on Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) safety Kyle Dugger, making him the highest D-II draft pick since 1999 (Saginaw Valley State's Lamar King). With the third-t0-last pick, the Vikings took Washburn (Kan.) OG Kyle Hinton.
  • D-III: St. John's (Minn.) OT Ben Bartch was taken in the fourth round (116th overall) by the Jaguars, becoming the first MIAC draftee since 2003.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

Aug 4, 2020 - Health

Local governments go to war over schools

A protester during a demonstration in NYC. Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The next big coronavirus battleground will be over who has the final say on whether schools can stay open.

Why it matters: This involves the safety of young children and their parents, not to mention older educators and staff, and comes at the same time as many of the parents are out of work.

Rafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open, citing rising coronavirus cases

Rafael Nadal at the ATP Mexican Open at Princess Mundo Imperial in February. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Defending champion Rafael Nadal tweeted Tuesday that he will not attend the 2020 U.S. Open due to rising coronavirus infections, noting that "it looks like we still don’t have control of it."

The big picture: The tournament was rescheduled over the summer to be held in August and September without spectators. Nadal's absence puts his bid to equal Roger Federer’s record for men's Grand Slam titles on pause.