The 2014 NFL Draft in April is expected to have as many as 90 college players leaving school early and declaring for the upcoming draft. That figure is even higher than the 73 who left for the NFL early a year ago.
As of the Jan. 15 deadline for players who are declaring early for this year’s NFL Draft, only three players from the Big 12 have officially notified the NFL that they will participate in the 2014 draft process. That is the fewest number from any of the major conferences. The Southeastern Conference, for example, had 28 players declare for this year’s draft, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. The Pac-12 is next with 25.
The players from the Big 12 who have declared for the draft are Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, Oklahoma State wide receiver Josh Stewart and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk. Amaro led the Big 12 in pass receptions this season with 106 catches for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged eight receptions per game. Stewart had 60 receptions for 703 yards and three touchdowns. Seastrunk led the conference in rushing in 2013 with 1,174 yards and an average of over seven yards per carry.
Amaro may be the only one of the three who will merit first-round consideration.
There are two ways of looking at this, acccording to Trotter. “One, there is a lot of young talent coming back in the league (names such as Bryce Petty and receiver Antwan Goodley at Baylor, sensational receiver/return specialist Tyler Lockett of Kansas State, Texas running-back tandem of Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown and many others on both offense and defense),” Trotter writes. “The other way to look at it, though, is the overall talent of (the Big 12) is down, relative to other conferences.”
As for the Big 12 players whose collegiate eligibility ended this season, several will have a showcase to exhibit their talents and perhaps improve their NFL draft stock by earning a roster spot on one of two college all-star games this weekend: the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco. Other Big 12 seniors will participate in the Senior Bowl in Birmingham, Al., on Jan. 25.