Heading into the final day of this year’s NFL Draft, the projections prior to the draft that this would be a relatively lean year for the selection of Big 12 players appears to be panning out.
The selection of Justin Gilbert (No, 8 overall to the Cleveland Browns) of the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Jason Verrett (No. 25 to the San Diego Chargers) of the TCU Horned Frogs in the first round of the draft on Thursday was just the third time in the Big 12 era that two or less from the Big 12 were taken in the opening round.
Tight end Jace Amaro of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who some experts believed would be a potential first-round pick, went in the second round with the 49th overall pick to the New York Jets. And two more players out of the Big 12 were selected in the third round. Both picks were from West Virginia: running back Charles Sims (with the 68th overall selection, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and defensive end Will Clark (taken 88th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals).
The five Big 12 selections in the first three rounds of the draft is the fewest from the conference taken during the three early rounds of the NFL Draft in the 18-year history of the Big 12.
Prior to this year, seven in 2004 was the fewest number from the Big 12 selected in the opening three rounds. In 2004, there were four Big 12 players taken in the first round (headed by Roy Williams of the Texas Longhorns at No. 7 overall, by the Detroit Lions), two in the second round and just one in the third round. Twenty-three players from the Big 12 were selected overall that year, the second fewest since the Big 12 has been in existence (2013 was the lowest with just 22 selections in all seven rounds of the draft).
The 2014 draft will conclude on Saturday, when another 160 players will realize their dream of becoming an NFL draft pick.