Top Five Big 12 NFL Draft Picks From the Past Decade
The Big 12 and its distinguished football programs have put hundreds of players into the NFL draft over the past decade. Some of these schools will be on their way out soon, while the league will have new institutions joining this upcoming football season. Let’s take a look at the totally subjective top five players from the Big 12 from the past 10 years.
5. Creed Humphrey, Center, Oklahoma, 2021 Second Round, Pick 63, Kansas City Chiefs
Humphrey has started every game of his two-year career since being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He has quickly become one of the top centers in the NFL, earning first-team All-Rookie honors in 2021 and then being voted to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro in 2022. He also helped the Chiefs get to and win a Super Bowl in 2022. The arrow is pointing up for Humphrey who will likely be a staple on the Chiefs’ offensive line and snapping the ball to quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the next decade.
4. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma, Third Round, Pick 86, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews has ascended to become one of the top tight ends in the NFL. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019, 2021, and 2022 as well as being selected as a first-team All-Pro in 2021. Andrews, who will be entering his sixth NFL season in 2023, could reach the 5,000 receiving-yard mark for his career this year if he hits his yearly yardage average. He’s just entering his prime and will be a fun player to watch for the next several seasons.
3. Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State, Third Round, Pick 69, Seattle Seahawks
Lockett is one of the more underappreciated wide receivers in the NFL. All he’s done is post four straight 1,000-yard seasons between 2019-2022 and will be looking to add a fifth straight 1,000-yard season this upcoming year. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2015 and second-team All-Pro honors in 2016 and 2017. Throughout his career, he has produced over 10,000 all-purpose yards, an impressive feat for any NFL player. Lockett is 30 years old, and an eight-year veteran, so his best years are likely behind him. However, he is still producing at a high level and is an exciting player to watch each time he takes the field for the Seahawks.
2. Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor, 2016 Second Round, Pick 38, Miami Dolphins
Howard has become one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL over the past 5 seasons. He was voted into four Pro Bowls and earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and first-team All-Pro honors in 2020. He led the NFL in interceptions in 2018 and 2020 and has 28 career interceptions. The former Baylor Bear has been an impressive pro and the Dolphins are looking to improve upon last season’s wildcard playoff run.
1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech, 2017, First Round, Pick 10, Kansas City Chiefs
What more can we say about Patrick Lavon Mahomes II that hasn’t already been said? He has produced the best start to an NFL career of any quarterback in NFL history, and he only started one game in his rookie season. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl every season since he took over the starting job in Kansas City in 2018 and was the NFL MVP and a consensus first-team All-Pro in 2018 and 2022. Mahomes has thrown for 24,241 yards and has rushed for 1,547 yards during the regular season in his career so far. He has led the Chiefs to an AFC West title in each of his years as a starter and his postseason numbers are as impressive as his regular season stats. He’s almost had a complete season of postseason starts, 14 total, so far in his career. He’s 11-3 as a starter in the playoffs, including three 4th quarter comebacks and 4 game-winning drives, while throwing for 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Mahomes has also won two Super Bowls which included two Super Bowl MVP awards as well. In six seasons as a starter, Mahomes has already put together a Hall of Fame career. If Mahomes can stay healthy throughout a majority of his career, there’s a good chance he will own every NFL passing and touchdown record in the history books. Simply put, Mahomes is the best NFL player to be drafted out of the Big 12 in the past 10 years. He’s also the best NFL player to have been drafted out of the Big 12, period.
The two most notable names to be left off this list have to be Tyreek Hill (Oklahoma State) from the 2016 draft class and Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) from the 2020 draft class. Hill is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. Hurts just led the Eagles to a Super Bowl and became the highest-paid player in NFL history. I left these two off the list because they didn’t spend their entire college careers in the Big 12.
Lane Johnson (Oklahoma, 2013) had an argument to be made, and he won a Super Bowl with the Eagles, but Humphrey is set to be one of the best centers in the league for years to come and only one offensive lineman could crack the top five. Kyler Murray (2019, Oklahoma) and Baker Mayfield (2018, Oklahoma) were both #1 overall picks but have not lived up to the hype in their NFL careers. David Montgomery (Iowa State, 2019) had a good rookie contract stretch with the Chicago Bears but has not been an All-Pro. He recently signed with the Lions. CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma, 2021) has been an impressive receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and will likely continue to have a flourishing career as the years go on. Jalen Pitre (Baylor, 2022) put together an impressive rookie season with the Houston Texans that included five interceptions. He could be one of the better safeties in the league as his career continues to unfold.
As the NFL Draft approaches, it’s fun to look back and see some of the studs that came out of the Big 12 doing well at the highest level. Who will be on this list from the 2023 class when we do a 10-year lookback in 2033?