Preseason Top 10 NFL Draft Prospects: Big 12
By David Seigerman
With the 19th pick of the 1938 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Texas back Hugh Wolfe. And so began a tradition of at least one Longhorns player being drafted, a run that last 76 years . . . until Texas took the schneid in May. Bupkes for Bevo was a low-water mark for one of college football's longtime NFL factories, and it's indicative of a downturn in pro production by the Big 12.
Only two players from the conference were taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. By the time the Jets used the 49th overall pick on Texas Tech tight end Jake Amaro -- the third Big 12 player off the board -- all the other so-called Big Five conferences, as well as The American and the Mountain West, had already had at least three prospects plucked.
The Longhorns didn't suffer alone. Oklahoma didn't have a player drafted in the first three rounds for the first time since 1997. TCU had a first-rounder in Jason Verrett, but he was the only selectee for the Horned Frogs, who have had five players taken in the last three drafts (the same number that were picked in 2011 alone).
Overall, the Big 12 produced 17 picks, five fewer than the previous draft and less than the SEC, the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the ACC. And it's entirely possible that those numbers could be lower in 2015.
Neither of the two best prospects in the conference -- TCU defensive end Devonte Fields and Oklahoma receiver Dorial Green-Beckham -- are expected to see the field this season. And beyond them, there isn't really a potential first-round pick to be found, despite the hype you're hearing elsewhere about Bryce Petty.
Maybe it's time to start lowering expectations for a league that can't even live up to its name. Heading into the 2014 season, the conference is neither Big nor 12.