The NFL draft came and went it, but we thought it would be fun -- and possibly revealing -- to conduct a draft of our own of returning Big 12 players. We stole a version of this idea from our colleagues at the ACC blog, who apparently had stolen it before that from the guys over at the Big Ten site.
Anyway, the rules are fairly simple. All players currently on a Big 12 roster are eligible. No departing seniors or early entrees to the draft. No incoming freshmen or jucos scheduled to arrive in the summer. The premise is to fill out a 22-man lineup.
As you’ll be able to see, the strengths of the league quickly begin to manifest (last year it was cornerback; guess where it is this year) as a run on a certain position ignites early. You’ll also be able to see the positions that got put off for later, seemingly due to a lack of high impact relative to other positions, or to an indiscernible difference between players of the same position (just like with the NFL draft, where are the running backs?).
Keep in mind, this is NOT a top-25 player ranking. It’s only an exercise in determining where the value of the league is, and the different ways of putting together teams from the current pool of players.
Rounds 1-7 are below. We’ll pick up with Round 8 on Wednesday.
Jake Trotter: QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
Brandon Chatmon: WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Max Olson: DE Devonte Fields, TCU
Analysis: "There's really no wrong answer when it comes to choosing one of the Big 12's elite defensive ends. Went with Fields because reports of his comeback this spring were consistently encouraging and we know he has All-America potential." -- Olson
Olson: WR Antwan Goodley, Baylor
Chatmon: DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
Trotter: LT Spencer Drango, Baylor
Analysis: "In the first round, I got the league's top returning QB. With plenty of WRs still on the board, and Brandon and Max going all in on their pass rush, I went ahead and snagged the league's top pass-blocking tackle to protect Petty's blindside. Let's just hope that back is 100 percent by August." -- Trotter
Trotter: OLB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
Chatmon: DE Cedric Reed, Texas
Olson: DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor
Analysis: “After securing a big play receiver and returner, I’m looking to create pressure on the quarterback. Tapper and Reed should help get it done. Both guys have the ability to win their individual battles consistently, yet haven’t maxed out their potential either. A solid 1-2 punch to build my defense around.” -- Chatmon
Olson: QB Davis Webb, Texas Tech
Chatmon: LT Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
Trotter: DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
Analysis: "Did I reach for my quarterback here? You could make the argument, especially if you're a Trevor Knight lover. But Webb is precisely the kind of quarterback I wanted to run my offense. He has a ton of poise and confidence for a sophomore." -- Olson
Trotter: RT Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
Chatmon: DT Malcom Brown, Texas
Olson: LB Frank Shannon, Oklahoma
Analysis: "Really wanted Brown here to complete a monster defensive line. Good job, BC. Instead I went with Shannon, who's probably the best of the available linebackers (though this is a risk pick with his status currently in limbo). This defense is going to be loaded at every level. You'll see." -- Olson
Olson: CB Quandre Diggs, Texas
Chatmon: DT Chucky Hunter, TCU
Trotter: WR Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
Analysis: “I’m loading up on defensive lineman. I want to create havoc for any quarterback who steps on the field against Brown, Hunter, Tapper and Reed. I like creating nightmares.” -- Chatmon
Trotter: WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Chatmon: CB Daryl Worley, West Virginia
Olson: SS Sam Carter, TCU
Analysis: "In Grant and Shepard, I snatched up two of the league's budding stars at receiver for Petty. I'll have to come back and get some bigger receivers later. But good luck blitzing Petty against this offensive line with those two dynamos operating out of either slot.” -- Trotter