Playing favorites? Not these head coaches

March, 23, 2013
3/23/13
1:00
PM ET
In 2010, Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks famously drafted in the first round a safety from the University of Texas (Earl Thomas) over one Carroll coached at USC (Taylor Mays).

That turn of events came to mind upon reading an NFC West mailbag submission from Vladimir, a San Francisco 49ers fan in Belgrade.

"I wanted to ask if you can compare two recent college coaches, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, as to how many of their former players each has drafted," Vladimir wrote.

The 49ers have yet to draft a player from Stanford since Harbaugh became their coach in 2011. The Seahawks have drafted two players from USC since Carroll became coach in 2010.

The chart shows which NFL head coaches have drafted more than one player from Stanford and/or USC since 2010. We should note that the coaches themselves don't make draft decisions autonomously. There could have been times when the 49ers' and Seahawks' personnel people steered their head coaches away from drafting players each had coached in college. Conversely, Harbaugh and Carroll would have been more familiar with their former players' weaknesses, not just strengths. In some cases, they might have been the driving forces' behind their teams' decisions to steer clear of certain players from their pasts.

Carroll and Minnesota's Leslie Frazier are the only head coaches whose teams have selected more than one player from USC since 2010. Coaching turnover affects the number of opportunities. Fifteen current NFL head coaches have held their jobs since at least 2010.

Harbaugh and Stanford

2012 draft: The 49ers drafted A.J. Jenkins 30th when Stanford's Coby Fleener (the 34th choice that year) and Jonathan Martin (42nd) were available.

2011 draft: The 49ers drafted Chris Culliver 80th when Stanford's Sione Fua (97th) was available. Also that year, the 49ers selected Kendall Hunter 115th when Stanford's Owen Marecic (124th) and Richard Sherman (154th) were options. They also drafted Daniel Kilgore 163rd when Stanford's Ryan Whalen (167th) was an option.

Carroll and USC

2012 draft: Carroll's Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin 15th when USC's Nick Perry (28th) was available. They drafted Bobby Wagner (47th), Russell Wilson (75th), Robert Turbin (106th) and Jaye Howard (114th) before the Vikings made Rhett Ellison (128th) the next USC player off the board.

2011 draft: Seattle drafted John Moffitt 75th when USC's Jurrell Casey (77th) and Shareece Wright (89th) were options. They drafted K.J. Wright 99th when USC's Jordan Cameron (102nd) was available.

Seattle drafted four additional players before USC's Ronald Johnson (182nd) and Allen Bradford (187th) were chosen. The Seahawks made Pep Levingston the 205th choice before USC's Stanley Havili (240th) and David Ausberry (241st) were chosen. Seattle then took USC linebacker Malcolm Smith with the 242nd choice.

2010 draft: Seattle chose Russell Okung sixth and Thomas 14th before Mays became the first USC player selected at No. 49.

The Seahawks took Golden Tate 60th when USC's Charles Brown (64th), Damian Williams (77th), Kevin Thomas (94th) and Everson Griffen (100th) were options. They took cornerback Walter Thurmond 111th when USC's Joe McKnight (112th) was available. Seattle drafted two more players before selecting USC's Anthony McCoy with the 185th choice.

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