Big 12 Aims High For 2014 Draft
Created on May 03, 2013 11:01 AM EST
Last week's NFL Draft produced "just" 22 draft picks from the Big 12, and though that's equal to an entire starting lineup, it's the lowest total in the history of the conference.
Put another way, the SEC had a record 63 picks and both of its divisions had more players drafted than any other conference. The previous record for a draft was 55 picks and the SEC's difference this year came from its 13th and 14th teams. Missouri and Texas A&M, Big 12 members up until the start of the 2012 season, combined for eight picks.
That was perhaps the biggest reason the Big 12's total checked in so low. The newest members, WVU and TCU, offered three each and that was the same as Texas, the second straight year its talent factory has turned out three players. A number of high-profile prospects chose to stay in school, too, and 17 draft-eligible first- or second-team all-Big 12 picks will be back on the field in 2013.
It's good news for the Big 12 next season and for the 2014 draft.
Renowned for offense, the Big 12's draft strength will likely be found on defense and in one particular area. The same league that produced four Biletnikoff Award winners at receiver and eight other finalists the last six years has countered the trend by loading up on cornerbacks. The Big 12's best draft prospects are the players charged with stopping the pass as opposed to catching the pass, though the league can still hold its own on offense.