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Which Big 12 Stars Have Been Drafted the Highest over the Last Four Years

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma

Despite both the NBA and the NHL reaching their postseasons, football is back in the limelight following the release of the NFL’s 2024 schedule. There are some mouth-watering clashes on the opening weekend, beginning with the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs getting their quest for the elusive threepeat underway by welcoming the Baltimore Ravens to Arrowhead. The pair met last term in the AFC Championship game, with Patrick Mahomes getting the better of Lamar Jackson and securing his spot in the Super Bowl for the second straight time and fourth time in five years.  

But it wasn’t just the schedule release that had supporters talking. The recent draft also captured headlines. Former USC Trojan Caleb Williams was selected first overall by the Chicago Bears, with a record-tying six quarterbacks being drafted in the top ten for the first time in over four decades. But what of the Big 12?

None of our beloved conference’s men under center were selected however, there was plenty of talent on display that will be making its debut this coming fall. The Big 12 isn’t one of the highest-profile conferences in the NCAA, but it has provided bucketloads of quality to the NFL. Here are the top five selections in each of the last five drafts.  

CeeDee Lamb 

Former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was one of the most electrifying players in college football during his tenure. Known for his exceptional route-running, hands, and playmaking ability, the three-time Pro Bowler amassed over 3,000 receiving yards – including a blistering 1,327 yards in 2019 – and 32 touchdowns over three seasons, As such, he was considered one of the players to watch at the 2020 draft, and the Dallas Cowboys duly obliged, drafting him with the 17th overall pick.  

Lamb quickly adapted to the professional game and his rookie season saw him catch 74 passes for 935 yards and five touchdowns, despite inconsistent quarterback play courtesy of Dak Prescott’s injury owes. In the following seasons, the former Sooner continued to flourish. Throughout his four years at AT&T Stadium, he has amassed over 5,000 yards, with the 2023 season being his most impressive. He was named the campaign reception leader with a mighty 135 picks throughout the season, a Cowboys record that brought him over 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

Teven Jenkins 

The 2021 NFL draft was a sad one for the Big 12 Conference as it marked the first time in history that no players were selected in the first round. As such, we had to wait until the 39th overall pick to see the first selection, an honor that went to Oklahoma State offensive tackled Teven Jenkins. Known for his physicality and versatility, the Kansas-born star started games at both tackle positions during his college career, but it was on the attacking side where he shone. His senior season solidified his status as an elite lineman, earning First-Team All-Big 12 honors and confirmed his status as a three-star prospect.  

Jenkins faced early challenges in his maiden campaign at Soldier Field, including a back injury that required surgery and sidelined him for much of his rookie season. However, he returned in the latter part of the season and displayed the potential that made him a high draft pick.  

By his second season, he had established himself as a reliable starter on the Bears’ offensive line, known for his aggressive playing style and ability to protect quarterback Justin Fields. Now with the mercurial Caleb Williams under center many expect the Beaars to return to contention, with the latest NFL betting odds pricing them as +350 contenders to win the NFC North next term.  

Breece Hall 

2022 marked the second straight year in which the Big 12 saw no players selected in the first round. Iowa State running back Breece All was the first man to go, being drafted by the New York Jets with the 36th overall pick. He almost almost 4,000 yards throughout his three years with the Cyclones, good enough to secure him a consensus All-American spot in both his sophomore and junior years as well as impressively finishing sixth in the 2020 Heisman Trophy voting.

His rookie season at MetLife was marked by several standout performances, including a 100-yard rushing game against the Dolphins. Now, he gets the chance to link up with four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, and the combination is aiming to lead the Green Machine to the postseason, snapping their 13-year drought in the process.

Tyree Wilson 

Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson emerged as one of the most dominant defensive players in the Big 12 in 2023. Known for his explosive first step and relentless motor, Wilson racked up 15 sacks and 25 tackles for loss over his college career, even winning  First-Team All-Big 12 honors as a senior.  

He was selected seventh overall by the Las Vegas Raiders making him the highest-drafted Big 12 player in recent years. His rookie season saw him make an immediate impact, registering six sacks and numerous pressures on opposing quarterbacks. Now, he will be hoping to transform the Allegiant Stadium outfit into a major player, which is exactly why the team was moved to Sin City from Oakland a few years ago. 

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