2018 Draft

For us, eight college teams delivered a full range of outstanding Draft content worthy of further acknowledgement. Naturally, opinions will vary. The following are our eight top picks in alphabetical order:

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https://icrapoport.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/438 ALABAMA

When you lead all teams in total draft picks (12), you obviously have plenty to work with. But that wealth of material also presents challenges in sustaining quality. Alabama’s design and digital teams rose to the occasion, delivering personalized motion content from the first round through the seventh.


Choosing motion over a static visual as the content accompanying the initial pick announcement requires fast turnaround to churn out a finished clip. Alabama was prepared. The Tide delivered again and again with recognizable landmarks and motifs from the NFL team integrated into the design. It appeared as if the team already knew where the player was headed.


Alabama’s video content was punchy and polished. Elements from the team’s static design theme were also woven into the video — evidence of tight collaboration between creative areas.

Promotional visuals leading up to the draft set the design stage for content to follow. Alabama’s tag line “The Process Begins Here” kept the focus squarely on the program. Overall, Alabama delivered at a consistently high level for all 12 of its picks.

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Was there a team that began promoting the Draft earlier than K-State? The Wildcats introduced a creative visual theme in early April and returned every few days with a different angle on the program’s Draft history.

K-State’s motion content for the pick announcement tweet reinforced the earlier visual theme with a photo of the player integrated into a K-State locker:

We appreciated that K-State’s design theme kept the college brand at the forefront with the NFL team branding clearly second.

Purple is a potent color and K-State leveraged its official hue across the board to consistently brand its content. We see that strategy in our next pick.

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When you have a brand color as iconic as Carolina blue, you hammer it home every chance you get. Draft content from the Tar Heels kept all elements on a tight color leash.

North Carolina also utilized motion content to accompany its initial pick tweet. We liked the contrast between the staged photo with the player showing emotion and his helmet-on action shot.

Even the numerous undrafted free agent announcements were delivered with a customized, quality visual. Again, the NFL branding was clearly secondary with monochromatic marks.

UNC delivered an instantly recognizable visual branding theme that cut through the noise throughout the Draft.

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In all honesty, we could devote an entire feature on Ohio State’s barrage of Draft content. The Buckeyes deployed a wide variety of highly creative static and motion content for their seven picks.

Ohio State enjoyed a wider latitude on integrating the NFL team’s colors and motifs because the Buckeyes’ visual branding theme is so well established and consistently applied.

Attention to detail was evident. One example: Ohio State Football updated its Twitter header after each pick, combining the player’s face with the team’s logo and pick information. Small but significant. We didn’t note any other teams doing this.


The video content also impressed with game-like visuals of the player decked in NFL team uniform. Did the video crew generate 32 of these for every player before the Draft? Amazing.

Ohio State’s program-building visuals wove the current Draft into a wider narrative of the Buckeyes’ tradition and history. Again, the individual picks themselves were celebrated but Ohio State used every opportunity to invest attention back into the program for recruiting.

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There’s nothing like opening the NFL Draft with the No. 1 pick. The Sooners capitalized with eye-catching color motion of Baker Mayfield emerging in Cleveland brown.

OU wasted no time in directing the narrative back to the program’s history of No. 1 picks.

The Sooners also produced a motion infographic aimed directly at recruits and Big 12 Conference rivals showing OU’s lead in Draft picks since 2000. There’s no misinterpreting this.


Again, Oklahoma used its visuals to recognize its current Draft picks but the priority was on the recruiting message: OU develops its players for the next level. The dark, highly saturated visual theme gave a serious heft to Oklahoma’s Draft package.


With Baker Mayfield going No. 1, OU was sure to receive plenty of attention in this year’s Draft. The Sooners used the spotlight to continue to build the program’s brand.

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There’s just something tough and no-nonsense about the Pitt Football brand. Plastic gloss and bright, neon colors in visuals wouldn’t work to represent the program from Steel City.

Pitt visuals consistently communicated the blue-collar essence of the program. Integrating the classic script Pitt logo was a no-brainer.


Just look at the vintage face masks in the pics of historical Pitt players:

This program’s visual style communicated the program’s tough and gritty DNA at a glance.

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If there’s a program that can give Ohio State a run on resources for its digital and design teams, it’s Texas. The Longhorns delivered this Draft with a creative range of static and motion content.

For us, what really put Texas over the top was its powerful visual series introducing the recently drafted player to his new NFL city.

There’s a high-end, technical feel to Texas visuals, especially when the players are decked in white.

The quantity and quality of Draft content from the Longhorns lifted them into this group.

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Somehow, the Huskies always find a way to surprise. Washington served up motion content with its initial pick tweet depicting the player standing on an island of his home state.

The clouds and flock of birds flying over his feet are incredible details. Every player (and recruit) would love to be depicted this heroically.

We’ve grown so accustomed to Washington’s quality static design that we sometimes forget what a power player UW is in the motion department. Of course, the Huskies delivered on the video side too.

That’s it, our eight top picks for NFL Draft content in 2018. A common thread? All eight teams prioritized program over individual players or NFL teams. The Draft was just the latest opportunity to continue to build the program’s brand.

For our complete archive of 2018 NFL Draft content from across college football, please check our review.

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Thanks to the athletics staff working hard behind the scenes to connect fans with the teams they love.

Jason R. Matheson