How many Big 12 prospects will make it to the first round?
The 2022 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror. College football season is fast approaching. And the class of 2023 will soon be finalized. While not the NFL factory that the SEC is, the Big 12 appear to be playing a pivotal role after a forgettable performance. Let’s dive into the Big 12’s top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft and see how many could drop out of the board in the first round.
How many Big 12 prospects in history have gone to the first round of the NFL Draft?
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Big 12 sadly didn’t have a single prospect drafted on Day 1. From 1936 to 2009, it had 228 players selected in the first round, the second-fewest of any conference. Since 2010, the Big 12 has averaged three players chosen in the first round – but only two in the last 10 drafts. So, with the history lesson done, how many Big 12 prospects might hear their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft?
2023 NFL Draft: The 12 top prospects who could make the first round
In our “way too soon” prediction, there will be approximately three to four Big 12 players selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Keep in mind that there will be players who fall further than expected, others who will come out of obscurity and some who will go back to school.
Bijan Robinson, Quentin Johnston and Connor Galvin are the only ones close to Locks
The jewel in the Big 12 crown, Bijan Robinson appears to be one of the most drafted running backs in recent memory. The Texas rusher is as electric as it gets on the college scene, forcing missed tackles with ease. Playing 10 games last year, Robinson had 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns. With Steve Sarkisian calling plays again and Quinn Ewers under center, Robinson’s cap could be the proverbial roof in 2022.
As Robinson crushes the competition on the ground, Quentin Johnston intimidates them in the receiving game. A 6’4″, 200-pound receiver with speed to spare, Johnston came out on top last year.
As a true sophomore, the TCU wide caught 19 receptions for 437 yards and four touchdowns in the span of four contests. Johnston has battled injuries in 2021, but if he can stay on the court this season he should cement himself in first-round conversation – especially with Sonny Dykes calling plays and Max Duggan throwing passes.
Last but not least in this “near the locks” section is Baylor OT Connor Galvin. The 6’7″, 310-pounder has held the left tackle position since his true freshman campaign in 2018. Not only has Galvin displayed Madden-like linear progression throughout his four years with the Bears, but he’s also became a dominant pass. protective. With another full year of elite tape, Galvin will battle for the top OT spots in the 2023 class.
Other Big 12 names to know in the 2023 NFL Draft
Baylor’s offensive line sports another player who could hear his name called early in the NFL Draft – albeit likely on Day 2 – in Jacob Gall. After a great 2020 season with Buffalo, Gall took his talents to Waco, Tx. Entrenched in the center of the line, Gall played well in his first season in the Power Five. Another strong season could see him taken sooner than some currently expect.
Meanwhile, on the Bears defensive front, Siaki Ika and Jaxon Player are ready for breakout campaigns. In a loaded DT class, neither will likely crack the first lap. Nonetheless, both have the tools to fill in soon after. Ika showed his rushing ability last season, and Player plagued AAC offenses for four years at Tulsa. Combined, the two should easily collapse the pockets from the inside, allowing edge rushers and blitz linebackers to clean up.
Although there is no first-round QB selected from the Big 12 this year, Dillon Gabriel could make some noise in Oklahoma. With his former UCF offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby returning to the same role with the Sooners, the two hope to reignite their Florida fireworks.
Texas LB DeMarvion Overshown could have been a decently high pick in the Class of 2022. Still, he decided to go back to school for one last dance. The linebacker turned safe has the reach and length to disrupt all manner of passing lanes. And Overshown has the athleticism and speed to blitz and punch holes in the ground game.
I would be lying if I said that Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Noah Daniels weren’t at the top of my favorite prospects to watch. Besides being the nephew of NFL Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson, THT is a shrewd, smart, and downright efficient corner. Opposite him is Daniels, a redshirted senior who has struggled with injuries for much of his career. If Daniels stays healthy and Hodges-Tomlinson remains consistent, Big 12 offenses will struggle to move the ball through the air in 2022.
- Deuce VaughnRB, Kansas State
- Felix Anudike-UzomahEDGE, Kansas State
- Jahleel BillingsleyTE, TX
- Marvin MimsWR, Oklahoma
- Anton HarrisonOT, Oklahoma