Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) throws a pass down field against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. West Virginia defeated Iowa State 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Draft Prospects Hoping To Shine At NFL Combine

Twenty eight former Big 12 football stars hoping to continue their careers by playing on Sunday will showcase their physical and mental skills this weekend as invited participants at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Several of the prospects from the Big 12 who will be participating in the scouting combine activities this weekend are projected to go in the first round as one of the top 32 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft to be held in April in New York City.

Kenny Vacarro of Texas is considered by many NFL draft experts to be the No. 1 draft prospect at the safety position. His teammate, defensive end Alex Okafor, is rated the seventh-best insider linebacker available and also is projected as a first-round selection. The final first-round prospect is Geno Smith of West Virginia, rated as the No. 2 quarterback in this year’s draft behind Southern California’s Matt Barkley.

The NFL Combine, held every year around this time, is one of the initial steps followed by NFL aspirants who have exhausted their collegiate eligibility or have declared for the annual draft as underclassmen. Combine participants must be invited. The four-day event serves as an important measuring stick for NFL scouts and team representatives to determine a prospect’s value and skill level to perform in the NFL.

Those aspiring college prospects invited to participate in the Combine go through a rigorous physical regimen that includes strength, speed and agility drills and arm strength, mobility and passing accuracy for quarterback draft candidates. Participating in the Combine is not mandatory, but for prospects not projected as first-round selections, it becomes a risky proposition and leaves the on-campus pro days as the only opportunity for a player to showcase his skills and abilities and either solidify or improve his pro stock.

Oklahoma leads all Big 12 schools with six prospects invited to take part in the four days of Combine activities, followed by Kansas State with five, Texas, TCU and West Virginia with three each and Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma State are sending two prospects apiece.  Texas Tech is the lone Big 12 team not sending a pro prospect to the Combine.

Combine actitivities begin Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and run through Tuesday. Each day is devoted to predesignated offensive, defensive and special teams positions: kickers, offensive linemen and tight ends on Saturday; quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers on Sunday; linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday, and defensive backs on Tuesday.

More than 300 former college players have been invited to the 2013 NFL Scounting Combine.

Big 12 Prospects Invited to the 2013 NFL Combine, Feb. 23-26

Oklahoma (6)

*Tony Jefferson, Safety

Lane Johnson, OL

Landry Jones, QB

Stacy McGee, DL

*Kenny Stills, WR

Kansas State (6)

Arthur Brown, Linebacker

Anthony Cantele, PK

Chris Harper, WR

Collin Klein, QB

Braden Wilson, RB

Texas (3)

Marquise Goodwin, WR

Alex Okafor, DE

Kenny Vacarro, DB

TCU (3)

Josh Boyce, WR

*Stanley Maponga, DL

Matthew Tucker, RB

West Virginia (3)

*Stedman Bailey, WR

Joe Madsen, OL

Geno Smith, QB

Baylor (2)

Lanear Sampson, WR

Terrance Williams, WR

Kansas (2)

Tanner Hawkinson, OL

Bradley McDougald, DB

Iowa State (2)

A.J. Klein, LB

Jake Knott, LB

Oklahoma State (2)

*Joseph Randle, RB

Quinn Sharp, PK

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