We're only a few days past the 2011 NFL Draft, but 2012 is fast approaching. Only 360-some more days!
Draft analyst Todd McShay revealed his first mock draft for next year, and there's plenty of Big 12 talents you'll recognize. Here's where he slotted them.
No. 15, Miami Dolphins: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
We still need to study more film on Jones. Although he continues to improve and has prototypical size and the arm strength to make all the throws, to work his way up to this point, he needs to become more consistent in terms of footwork, accuracy and decision-making in 2011.
No. 19, Chicago Bears: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Bears remain in the market for a big wideout to complement their speedsters on the perimeter, Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. Anyone who saw Blackmon use his size and strength against Prince Amukamara last season knows he would be the right man for the job.
No. 23, New York Giants: Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
Robinson is maybe the most underrated defensive prospect in the nation. He constantly jumped out during film study on other players last year, doing a great job of getting off blocks and showing good closing burst in pursuit.
No. 24, Philadelphia Eagles: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
Lewis is a quicker-than-fast weakside linebacker and one of the most productive in the nation the past two years. I'll be interested to see after studying film how much of that is due to the scheme and how much is due to his tools, but he does appear to have the closing burst to contribute in the NFL.
No. 29, Indianapolis Colts: Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M
Fuller broke out as a playmaker in 2010 and should only get better in his second year with QB Ryan Tannehillin 2011. Fuller has the size (6-4, 215), ball skills and playmaking ability to transition nicely to the NFL.
No. 30, Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State
A versatile prospect, Osemele (6-4, 325) starts at left tackle for Iowa State and is arguably the best overall player for the Cyclones. He could potentially play guard or right tackle in the NFL.
A few thoughts:
This is the first time I've really seen first-round buzz for Keenan Robinson, but it's not too surprising. He and Jackson Jeffcoat probably have the most raw talent of anyone on Texas' defense, so it's not too surprising. He's got great speed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, and there aren't many guys in college football this year with that kind of combination.
Ryan Broyles' production and talent is clearly there, but if he's going to be a first-round pick, he'll have to convince NFL teams that his size (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) won't be a problem at the next level.
It seems like Landry Jones could be a polarizing player for scouts at the next level. In our first look at 2012 last week, Mel Kiper didn't have Jones in his top five quarterbacks. McShay has Jones as the third quarterback available, behind Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. It should be an interesting year ahead of him, and if I'm guessing, I think Jones sticks around another year, even if he's a first-round pick.
On that note, it'll be interesting to see where McShay pegs OSU's Brandon Weeden and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill, both ranked above Jones by Kiper. I'm guessing conference play next year will go a long way in sorting those three out.