Cleveland Browns believe the ‘SEC is a whole different animal’

Cleveland Browns first round draft pick defensive end Barkevious Mingo (51) smiles during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Cleveland Browns first round draft pick defensive end Barkevious Mingo (51) smiles during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The SEC has won seven consecutive national championships on the collegiate gridiron and is expected to have a great shot at making it eight in 2013-14. However, and despite all of the five-star recruits, the BCS titles and the NFL Draft picks, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made waves in calling the support of the conference a load of “propaganda.”

Both Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida’s Will Muschamp replied to Stoops’ comments with little more than giggles and head shaking, jabbing their Big 12 counterpart’s fairly ignorant statement.

From the way NFL teams were talking (and selecting) at Radio City Music Hall during the 2013 NFL Draft, those decision-makers seem far more inclined to agree with Saban and Coach Boom than with Big Game Bob.

Well, full disclosure, the Cleveland Browns aren’t exactly known as an NFL powerhouse. Since the ’60s, in fact, the franchise has really only been moved to Baltimore, resurrected, and stunk up the field.

But it is a new era in Cleveland. The franchise has a new owner in Jimmy Haslam (whose brother is the governor of Tennessee), a new general manager in Michael Lombardi and a new head coach in Rob Chudzinski. The team is looking to build a winner from the ground up, and that means mining the collegiate level for talent.

Can you guess where they have been looking?

It’s certainly not the Big 12 — sorry Bob.

[Related: “Big Game Bob” simply does not seem to get it when it comes to the success of the SEC]

When making their decision for the sixth-overall pick in the draft, the team was enamored with LSU defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo. During the hours of discussions regarding whether or not to invest millions in the Tigers’ star, Lombardi said something that Stoops should be paying very close attention to, according to Chuck Klosterman of Grantland:

“The SEC is a whole different animal,” says Lombardi. “If all we did was take guys from Alabama and LSU, we’d be f***ing great.”

Obviously, Saban, and probably even Muschamp, could not agree more.

But somebody needs to get Stoops the memo. NFL franchises are hinging their immediate futures on players from the SEC: The fact that 63 of its former members were chosen out of 254 players selected set an NFL Draft record. The ACC had 31 players selected and the Pac-12 watched 28 drafted to the professional ranks.

Where’s the Big 12, Stoops?

Cleveland isn’t even looking, and most likely neither are several other NFL teams.

[H/T: Saturday Down South]

MORE NFL: Breaking down the 2013 NFL Draft by conference affiliation