The Big 12 might struggle this year when it comes to top picks in the NFL draft, which starts this Thursday, April 28. There isn’t a stand out player in the Big 12 that will more than likely go early in the first round. Before the 2015 season ended I would have said that Treyvon Boykin, or even Shawn Oakman, would be going high in the draft, but with their recent stints in jail I would have to say this is highly unlikely. Most people know that it doesn’t matter where you get drafted all that matters is how well you perform in training camp and the pre-season games. Last year the two best rookies coming out of the Big 12 were Jordan Hicks (before his injury) and Tyler Lockett. Both of them were drafted in the third round. They both should be stand out players for years to come. According to Saturday Blitz, out of all of the Power 5 conferences, the Big 12 produces the least amount of NFL talent. According to ESPN the Big 12 only has 132 players on active NFL rosters. To put numbers in perspective, the SEC has 309 players.
It is very interesting to compare top ten lists of experts’ predictions of who in the Big 12 would be drafted high in 2016 before the 2015 season and after the 2015 season. The newest top 10 list I have seen on Saturday Blitz is in this order:
10) Shawn Oakman (Baylor): The two previous preseason lists on CBS Sports had Oakman at number four. This was before all of the allegations and arrests came about. I think he will still be drafted but his stock went down quite a bit. Oakman has also struggled generating power from his lower body to create leverage against offensive tackles. He also struggles to use his hands well and has been known to give up on most plays after the first pass rush. Even though Oakman is huge at 6’9″, 280 I still think he has a lot of work and maturing to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went late in the second, or even the third round.
9) Spencer Drango (Baylor): I don’t fully agree that he will be the tenth person to go in the Big 12. I haven’t seen him play much, but from what I have read about him he seems like he will probably be the fifth person in the Big 12 to go. He is tough, durable and reliable (only missing four games his whole career). It sounds like he might not be the quickest to the ball but is very smart. I have a feeling Drango will be a stud in the NFL.
8) La’Raven Clark (Texas Tech): Clark is a good player who had not-so-good coaching in college. Texas Tech struggled with its offensive line coaching, but that didn’t stop Clark from getting All-Big 12 First Team honors both his junior and senior years. Hopefully his talent will be paired with a good coach so his full potential can be shown.
7) Karl Joseph (West Virginia): Joseph wasn’t even on the preseason top ten list that I found, but he was number seven even after his 2015 was cut short due to an injury. During the 2015 season it looked like Joseph had the potential of being one of the best players in college football. Joseph was quick on the field and led the NCAA with five interceptions in four weeks. He will be a great NFL player as long as his injury doesn’t affect him.
6) Josh Doctson (TCU): Doctson was in the same position on the preseason and postseason lists that I found. Doctson was the star wide receiver for the Horned Frogs. One of his specialties was that he made plays even if the ball wasn’t thrown directly into his arms. He is not remarkably fast, but he is one of the best receivers in this year’s draft.
5) Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State): Ogbah, who is going into the NFL early has recorded double digit sacks the past two seasons is more than likely going to be a great NFL player. He has the size and speed to do great things. Hopefully he will put out more effort in the NFL than he did in college. If he does this he will be very successful.
4) Corey Coleman (Baylor): Coleman is another person that was on the postseason list, but was not mentioned on the preseason list from CBS Sports. Coleman is a huge offensive threat because he is exceptionally fast. He isn’t the smartest player, especially when it comes to plays and reading routes. I think this will take some time in the NFL, but teams will still pick him up because they will love his playmaking ability.
3) Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma): Shepard is a very quick and a smart route runner. His size may limit him on how high he will go in the draft. But honestly that will not matter as long as he performs well in the league.
2) Cody Whitehair (Kansas State): Whitehair, who has started in almost every position on the Wildcats offensive line is very versatile. After watching him throughout the years I know he is a hard worker who puts out maximum effort on the field during every play. These are both great attributes for NFL players to have. I hope a great team picks him up.
1) Andrew Billings (Baylor): Both on the preseason top 10 and postseason top 10, Billings was number one. Billings is young and quick. He is a really smart player, but still has a lot to learn. If he can learn different ways to get off of the line to beat the offense he will be a stud on Sundays.
*Featured image courtesy of Flickr/Marques Stewart