Since the 2009 NFL Draft, there has been at least one player taken from the Big 12 in the top ten. While the talent doesn’t look up to that level at this point, there is loads of upside in this high powered, offensive conference. Here are the best draft eligible players at each position in the conference.
Bryce Petty (Baylor): From a physical perspective, Petty has everything a QB needs to succeed in the NFL. He has a strong build (6-3,230), good mobility and an arm talent that allows him to drop the ball on a dime anywhere on the field. In a 7v7 league he would be a legend, but he has worrying issues dealing with pressure and having a feel for the pocket that could really limit his NFL success. He has only been starting for one year, but as an older prospect (Almost 24 by the draft) it is worrying to see such mental flaws. If he can show poise this year and showcase that same passing talent, he could contend for being a first round quarterback.
Second Team: Trevor Knight (Oklahoma)
Malcolm Brown (Texas): One of the top running backs in the country coming out of high school, Brown may have fallen a bit in college, but there is no denying his talent. He is well built back (5-11, 225) who does a good job finding the hole and bursting through. He is not overly fast or agile, but he has good acceleration, phenomenal strength and a tough, relentless running style. He is a bit of a throwback for the position, but one who can be a good player in this league.
Jonathan Gray (Texas): Another one of the three very good backs who are eligible from Texas, Gray may have the talent to be the best of all of them. He has decent size (5-10, 207) but he wins incredible burst and top end speed. He is coming off a bad achilles injury so it is to be seen how he recovers, but if he can rebound he could be the first Longhorn back drafted.
Second Team: Joe Bergeron (Texas), Dreamius Smith (WVU)
Antwan Goodley (Baylor): Goodley is probably one of the freakiest athletes in college football. He is a wide receiver who is built like a power back (5-10,225) with incredible lower body strength, leaping ability and he might be one of the fastest players in the conference. He is the love child of Marshawn Lynch and Desean Jackson and he is an absolute monster. However, his hands are made of something I want build an armored truck out of because everything bounces off of them. He needs to fix his catching technique and focus at the catch point because he is such a damn good player otherwise. If Goodley can fix his hands, the sky really is the limit.
Dorial Green Beckham* (Oklahoma): Two years removed from being the best high school player in the country and committing to Mizzou, Beckham was kicked off the team after his sophomore season after some awful allegations were put against him. He then transferred to Oklahoma where he will have to sit out his junior season but still may enter the 2015 NFL draft. Beckham is an incredibly sized human being at 6-6 and 225 pounds. He has quick feet, long arms and can dominate the catch point. He isn’t incredibly fast, but his size allows him to always be open. There is no doubt what kind of talent Beckham is on the field, but teams are going to worry about the laundry list of issues he may have off of it.
Second Team: Levi Norwood (Baylor) , Tyler Lockette (Kansas State)
EJ Bibbs (Iowa State): Bibbs isn’t going to blow anyone away with one trait, but he is a solid player overall. He has decent size (6-3,252) and can move pretty well. He shows ability as an inline blocker and also has shown strength in the passing game. He needs to be a little bit more crisp in running and catching, but he has the size and movement skills to be a solid, balanced tight end.
Second Team: Blake Bell (Oklahoma)
Spencer Drango (Baylor): At 6-5, 315 pounds, it is easy to see Drango playing in the pros. Even with his size, he has very quick feet in pass protection and displays a good punch. There aren’t many downfalls in his game other than nothing jumps off the screen. He is a very solid tackle prospect who needs to dispel some health concerns, but can certainly find himself taken highly in next year’s draft.
Le’Raven Clark (Texas Tech): Another mammoth tackle (6-5, 320), Clark is able to win in pass protection with very good feet and sound technique. He flashes nastiness in the run game that I would love to see in his pass blocking, where he seems a bit passive. Clark has a ton of very good tools, but I want to see them come together next year.
Second Team: Daryl Williams (Oklahoma), Tyrus Thompson (Oklahoma)
Cody Whitehair (Kansas St.): Whitehair is not a physical specimen by any means, but he is an incredibly intelligent player who wins with good feet and awareness. He lacks physicality and a nastier attitude is always better for offensive linemen. If he can display more aggression this year while maintaining his technique, he has a shot to go late day two.
Alfredo Morales (Texas Tech): A large presence inside (6-5, 315), Morales is a very strong players with heavy hands and a nasty attitude. He has slow feet and needs to show better awareness, but he has the size and strength to turn heads.
Second Team: Adam Shead (Oklahoma) , Daniel Burton (Iowa St.)
B.J. Finney (Kansas St.): Finney is a very solid offensive lineman. He doesn’t possess elite size (6-3, 305) or quickness but he is a very smart, strong and relentless center. He does a very good job with angles in the run game and is a stalwart pass protector. He needs to be more consistent with his pad level, but he looks like he could be a solid NFL starter.
Second Team: Tom Farniok (Iowa St.)
Interior Defensive Line
Chucky Hunter (TCU): While he doesn’t have very good size (6-1, 300), Hunter has fantastic quickness for 300 pounds and has a very strong lower body to anchor with. He needs to improve his strength in shedding blocks to make plays in the backfield, but with his burst he could be a very productive player next season.
Charles Tapper (Oklahoma): A 3-4 end, Tapper has fantastic functional length and upper body strength that he uses to absorb blockers and occasionally disrupt the play himself. He doesn’t have elite movement skills, but he is a solid two gapping defensive lineman.
Second Team: James Castleman (OSU), Malcolm Brown (Texas)
Devonte Fields (TCU): After a decorated and highly productive freshman season, Devonte Fields found himself injured for most of his second year and was given a medical redshirt. Going back to his freshman tape, it is easy to see a future NFL star. Fields has fantastic movement skills, strength and size (6-4, 240). There are technical things Fields needs to clean up in order to win consistently and his instincts were as green as you would expect from a freshman. I love Fields’ potential and if he can put it together, he will here his name called very early in May.
Shawn Oakman (Baylor): At 6-8, 285 pounds ad bursting with athletic ability, it is not hard to see why some are projecting Oakman as a future top ten pick. I am not as kind though. For Oakman’s insane size and burst, he has no idea what he’s doing with his hands ,isn’t a very aware player and of course, he has issues with leverage due to his huge frame. He was often outshined by his teammate Jamal Palmer on the other edge, but Oakman gets the nod because of his insane ceiling and therefore I am breaking my own rule.
Second Team: Jamal Palmer (Baylor), Shaq Riddick (WVU)
Erik Striker (Oklahoma): A moveable chess piece in the Oklahoma defense, Striker a bit of everything and did it well. He has fantastic quickness and anticipation to be a problem off the edge and is also very fluid and aware in coverage. He displays intelligence against the run, but his diminutive size (6-1, 200) he gets swallowed up against the run. If he can be put in a position to keep himself clean in the NFL, he could be an interesting defensive weapon.
Ben Heeney (Kansas): Not overly big (5-11, 230) or fast, Heeney is a very instinctive, aggressive linebacker who does very well attacking downhill against the run. He is a reliable tackler but doesn’t offer much else and is likely a special teams player in the NFL.
Bryce Hager (Baylor): A big backer at 6-2 and 235 pounds, Hager does a good job of diagnosing the run, coming downhill and making the play. He isn’t very fluid in coverage, but is a smart enough player coming downhill to find himself a place in the NFL.
Second Team: Jordan Hicks (Texas), Sam Eguavoen (Texas Tech), Steve Edmund (Texas)
Kevin White (TCU): Running mate to former first round pick, Jason Verrett, White is another talented corner who shares a lot in common with his old teammate. He is a physical corner with good quickness and ball skills. He is not very strong or big (5-10, 174) so he will need to add size in order to boost his stock.
Kevin Peterson (OSU): Another teammate of a first round pick, Peterson has the size (5-11, 185), length and quickness to be an NFL corner. He displays good physicality down the field and is a decent tackler, but he needs to be more consistent in his technique in order to maximize his play. He is not a phenomenal athlete, so consistent technique is the way to win.
Second Team: Quandre Diggs (Texas), Julian Wilson (Oklahoma)
Karl Joseph (WVU): Over the past two years, the only fun part of watching West Virginia’s horrible defense was Karl Joseph flying around and hitting people. He is a rangy, aggressive safety who flies to the ball and will make an impact with his tackling. He needs to clean up his aggressive style as it gets him into trouble both in coverage and trying to stop the run. He is a very good athlete though and plays much bigger than his 5-10, 200 pound frame. If he can clean up his angles and his technique, he could be one of the first safeties selected next year.
Chris Hackett (TCU): In a TCU defense that asks a lot of their secondary, Hackett does a great job as a role player there. He is an smart strong safety type who has a big frame (6-2, 195) and good length. He has experience playing in the slot and looks rather good there. He is a very active run defender and a strong tackler who doesn’t give up on plays. He is not the best athlete, but he is a very good role player for TCU and could find himself as a very good big nickel player type in the NFL.
Second Team: Isaiah Johnson (Kansas), Sam Carter (TCU)
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