Five Big 12 Players That Will Go In the First Round of the 2023 NFL Draft
On Thursday night, 31 (Sorry Miami) former college football players will have their names called, forever enshrining them as first-round NFL Draft selections.
Some of those players will go on to have fantastic NFL careers, while others won’t be able to live up to the hype or the expectations placed on them. The uncertainty and excitement are what make the NFL Draft one of the best (or worst) nights of the year for football fans across the country.
Among the names called tonight, there will certainly be players from the Big 12 headed to the next level. In fact, we believe that five Big 12 names will be called on Thursday night, and here they are.
Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson is locked in as a first-rounder and, in all likelihood, will be off the board in the first eight picks of the draft. As one of the most physically imposing edges in the class, Wilson demands attention from scouts and owners alike, leading him to come off the board early. The Seahawks are trying to recapture a defensive prowess that has left them of late, and taking Wilson at No. 5 would certainly help.
PROJECTION: PICK NO. 5, SEATTLE
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Regarded as the best overall prospect in the draft by several folks in the industry, Texas running back Bijan Robinson has worked himself into a great position to go as a top-10 pick tonight. An explosive runner and excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield, Robinson has the juice to be a difference-maker for whatever team takes him. I like him to go to Philadephia, to flank Jalen Hurts in a loaded Big 12 backfield for the Eagles.
PROJECTION: PICK NO. 10, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
All the hype and noise about wide receivers has seemingly turned to Zay Flowers and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but Quentin Johnston might be the best of the group. With an incredible catch radius and an elite size-to-speed ratio, Johnston has all the pieces to be a legitimate WR1 at the next level. With Adam Thielen gone and Justin Jefferson emerging as the top pass catcher in the league, I think Minnesota will nab Johnston, and give the Vikings a terrifying duo at wide receiver.
PROJECTION: PICK NO. 23, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison is about as prototypical of an offensive tackle as you can get. With long arms, incredible athleticism for his size, and great strength, Harrison has the tools to start in the NFL as a rookie, which is hard to do at left tackle. Jacksonville has likely lost Cam Robinson for an extended period of time, meaning there’s an opening at one of the most important positions in football.
PROJECTION: PICK NO. 24, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Will McDonald IV, DE, Iowa State
Will McDonald has been terrorizing Big 12 offensive tackles for years now, and Big 12’s all-time sack leader will do the same at the next level with elite bend and quickness off the edge. As if it were written in a storybook, the final pick of the 2023 NFL Draft will be reigning Super Bowl champions, Kansas City, which is also hosting the event. With the 31st and final pick (Again, sorry Miami), the Chiefs will select the former Iowa State standout, giving us five Big 12 selections in the first round.