The first round of the NFL draft is in the books, and there's more on the way today, but what about next year? The Big 12 could be set for another big year, and draftnik Mel Kiper already has his top five for each position heading into the 2012 draft. Here's a look.
No. 1: Cody Johnson, Texas
No. 2: Michael Egnew, Missouri
No. 4: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
No. 2: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
No. 4: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
No. 5 Grant Ressel, Missouri
And a few thoughts from yours truly:
You know what I see in that group? A whole lot of offense and not much defense. That could mean some big fall fireworks. The Big 12 is going to be pretty weak at cornerback and safety next year, but quarterback and receiver? Loaded. Landry Jones and Jeff Fuller didn't even make this list and they'll be some of the league's best at their positions next year.
I'm pretty surprised to see Tannehill on the list and not Jones. Tannehill should be solid, but from what I saw last year, other than athleticism, there's not much Tannehill does better than Jones. Jones has the experience and accuracy, and arm strength is a wash. Decision-making is pretty close, and Tannehill is exceptional in that regard, but Jones got a whole lot better last year and I figure that continues into 2011.
I'd be surprised to see Egnew hang on to that spot once he begins the draft process. It's hard to imagine NFL teams didn't learn their lessons from drafting two tight ends from Missouri that were markedly better than Egnew: Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker. Neither has caught on with their NFL teams so far. Coffman won the Mackey Award, was a third-round selection, but the Bengals actually released him after just a year last September. Rucker was an All-American who went in the fourth round but has already bounced around to three teams since being drafted in 2008 and hasn't made a real impact anywhere. The truth is, we have no idea how good of a run blocker Egnew is just yet, but the guess here is, with as little experience as he has doing it in a traditional sense, he'll struggle at the next level. The tight end spot gives Missouri's offense a nice edge, but it hasn't proved conducive to NFL success.