The 2014 NFL Draft is still a couple of months away, but the rating and ranking of many of the prospects who will make up this years draft is under way in earnest this weekend at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The big 12 may not be as deep this year in the top rounds of the NFL Draft as it has been in the recent past, but there are some quality players from the league who will be among the 225 or so prospects taken in the seven rounds of the 2014 draft.
It may be some time before we see as many as nine players from Big 12 schools taken in the first round of the NFL Draft like there were in 2010, led by Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford. Big 12 players were taken with the first, second, third and fourth and sixth picks in the first round of that year’s draft, an unprecedented five of the first six selections. And three of those first four players were from Oklahoma (No. 1 Bradford, No. 3 Gerald McCoy and No. 4 Trent Williams). the Sooners also had one more player taken in the first round: tight end Jermaine Gresham was selected as 21 player taken overall.
It won’t be as few as one, either, which was the case in the year 2000, when Stocker McDouble was the only Big 12 player selected in the first round, going to Detroit with the 2oth overall pick.
There are a number of 2014 mock drafts that are starting to circulate as the countdown begins before actual draft weekend, May 8-10. USA Today’s Sports Weekly has three Big 12 players among the top 32 prospects in this spring’s NFL Draft: cornerback and kick-returner Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State, who the USA Today sports staff currently has as No. 16 overall, cornerback Jason Verrett of TCU (No. 24) and Texas Tech tight-end Jace Amaro (No. 28).
The three top-32 prospects from the Big 12 compares with nine from SEC schools. Both Texas A&M and Notre Dame have three players each on this list.
Broken down by positions, Trey Millard of Oklahoma is ranked as the fifth-best running back prospect. Three Big 12 players are ranked among the top-20 wide receivers: Mike Davis of Texas (No. 16), Jalen Saunders of Oklahoma (No. 19) and Baylor’s Tevin Reese (No. 20).
Baylor tight end Jordan Najvar is listed as the No. 9 player at that position, and teammate Cyril Richardson as No. 2 at guard.
Calvin Barnett of Oklahoma State is ranked as the No. 11 prospect at defensive tackle. Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas is the 10th-best player at defensive end. Oklahoma’s Aaron Colvin is the No. 10 prospect at cornerback, where he joins both OSU’s Gilbert and TCU’s Verrett.
Ahmad Dixon, a safety from Baylor, is rated as the No. 7 player available in the draft at that position.
USA Today Sports Weekly lists no Big 12 players in the top 10 at quarterback, offensive tackle or inside and outside linebacker.