With the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, lets look at where the Big 12 players were drafted, how they fit, and predict what their NFL future will be. It is interesting to note that there was no Big 12 player selected until #14. Compare that to the 2010 NFL Draft, when five of the first six picks were Big 12 players (Bradford, Suh, McCoy, Williams, Okung).
#14 Oakland Raiders: West Virginia safety Karl Joseph
The Raiders continue to put together a solid defense and may slowy be creeping even closer to a playoff berth in the AFC. The offense is very good behind QB Derek Carr, and now add Joseph to a defense that includes Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, and former Mountaineer Bruce Irvin.
I saw a lot of people tweeting they didn’t know who Karl Joseph was. Well, I know it was Jalen Ramsey getting all the love as the top DB (corner) in the draft, but Joseph is a ball hawking safety who will make an immediate impact in the league. Joseph is a hard hitter and flies around the field. Some teams may have been scared off because Joseph went down after the first four games of his senior season with a knee injury. But, at the time, he was leading the country with 5 interceptions.
I like this spot for Joseph, joining a young, up-and-coming Raiders team that could fight for a playoff spot (thanks the the Broncos taking a step back).
#15 Cleveland Browns: Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman
I get it. The Browns have plenty of holes to fill and Coleman is the most explosive receiver in the draft. That being said, I don’t like the fit for either side. Sure, it’s a nice story to have RGIII at QB throwing to a fellow Baylor Bear on the outside. But that’s about the only thing to like about this pairing.
Coleman heads to the worst team in the NFL, who currently has a QB that is not made for the Cleveland weather/elements, and frankly, I don’t believe Coleman is a good fit in a cold weather city either. He’s a sub 4.4 40-yard dash guy, but he does not have great size (5’11”) or big hands (9”, but Marco Rubio tells me they are bigger than Donald Trump’s hands). He’s dangerous on the go-route, but otherwise, he needs work on comeback routes, and drops a lot of potential catches away from his body. That is a problem in a cold weather city with a below average quarterback.
Corey Coleman will be a serviceable NFL wide receiver, but his circumstances are as such where it could be a tough start to his career.
#22 Washington Redskins: TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson
Great spot. Great fit. Although, I’m sure as a kid from North Texas (who grew up rooting for the Cowboys), this might be a little tough. More importantly, the Redskins are a playoff team with an above average quarterback, and they need a top end wide out. Doctson will be the true outside wide receiver the Redskins can use to complement DeSean Jackson. This becomes a much better one-two punch than Jackson and Pierre Garcon.
While Boykin was considered the ‘Heisman worthy’ player on TCU, the team was absolutely lost without Doctson when he went down with a wrist injury. Oh yeah, on that wrist, don’t expect it to have any lingering effects coming the fall. He’ll be fine.
Doctson doesn’t have top end speed, but with his size, he can body up and win plenty of jump balls. I don’t believe he will end up as a true number 1 wide receiver, but he will be a solid 1A/#2 WR in the league.
Final thoughts: There were only three Big 12 players taken in the first round. By comparison, there were five Ohio State players selected. As mentioned above it’s a far cry from the 2010 draft. Last year and in 2014, there were just two Big 12 players taken in the first round each year (2015:Kevin White, Malcom Brown; 2014: Justin Gilbert, Jason Verrett). I realize the Big 12 has fewer teams than the other Power 5 conferences, but this is still not a good look for the Big 12. In comparison, the SEC, in a ‘down year’, had 8 first round picks, the Big Ten had 6 (5 from Ohio State), the Pac-12 and the ACC each had 4. These are the types of things that recruits look at. Now, with the rebound of Oklahoma and the seemingly, soon to happen, improvement of Texas, this will hopefully change… and the sooner the better.
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