Top-heavy Big 12 draft breaks record with 7 first-round picks
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The Big 12 had its most productive draft in history in the first round, but failed to match those numbers in later rounds of the draft.
A record seven Big 12 players were selected in Saturday's first round, breaking the conference's previous record of six first-round draft selections in 2003.
But the Big 12 lagged throughout the rest of the draft, producing only 28 players in the seven rounds. That number was the lowest since 28 players were picked in 2007 and tied for the second lowest in conference history behind only the 24 selections in the 2000 draft.
Missouri led all Big 12 teams with six players selected and two chosen in the first round. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19th pick, Philadelphia) and defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood (32nd pick, Pittsburgh) represented the first time Missouri has had two first-round selections in the first round since Morris Towns (11th pick, Houston) and Steve Pisarkiewicz (19th pick, St. Louis) were first-round choices in 1977.
The Tigers' six picks were even more remarkable considering they had only 15 players chosen in the previous 12 drafts of the Big 12 era starting in 1997.
Here's a look at how the Big 12 compared with the other conferences in first-round picks on Saturday.
First-round draft picks
- Southeastern: 8
- Big 12: 7
- Atlantic Coast: 5
- Pacific-10: 4
- Big Ten: 4
- Big East: 3
- Mid-American: 1
Here's a look at how the six BCS-affiliated conferences ranked in total draft picks in the 2009 draft.
- Southeastern: 37
- Atlantic Coast: 35
- Pacific-10: 32
- Big 12: 28
- Big Ten: 28
- Big East: 27
Also interesting were how traditional non-Big 12 power schools cleaned up early in the draft.
Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith was the first Big 12 player in the draft, taken with the second pick by St. Louis. It tied for the highest pick in Baylor school history, with Jack Wilson by the Cleveland Rams in 1942 and Adrian Burk by Baltimore in 1950. He also is tied with Leonard Davis for the highest pick in Big 12 history. Davis was selected with the second pick by Arizona in 2001.
Here are some other school-specific draft tidbits I came up with after watching most of the draft.
- Colorado linebacker Brad Jones was not invited to the NFL combine, but was still selected in the seventh round by Green Bay. He was Colorado's only pick -- the lowest total of players selected for Colorado since the Buffaloes were shut out in 2005.
- Iowa State was shut out for the first time since 2004.
- Despite making back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history, Kansas was shut out in the draft. It marked the third time in four seasons (2006 and 2007) that Kansas did not have a player drafted. Since 1999, Kansas has been shut out in six of those 11 drafts.
- Josh Freeman of Kansas State was the Wildcats first first-round selection since Terence Newman was picked with the fifth pick of the first round by Dallas in 2003. He was only the fifth first round draft pick in school history, joining Newman, Chris Canty (1997), Clarence Scott (1971) and Veryl Switzer (1954). Freeman was the only KSU player selected, making it the fewest Wildcats picked in the draft since one player was picked in both 2005 and 2006.
- Missouri's six players selected in the draft were their most in a single draft since seven Tigers were picked in 1981.
- Nebraska maintains its lead among Big 12 programs after having three players picked, boosting the Cornhuskers' total to 62 since 1997. But the Cornhuskers' three selections matched 2008 and 2000 as the fewest Nebraska players chosen in the Big 12 era.
- Most surprisingly, the Cornhuskers haven't had a first-day selection in the last two drafts and haven't had a player picked higher than the fifth round in either draft. The last time that happened in successive drafts was in 1969 and 1970.
- The biggest Big 12 surprise in the draft might have been Oklahoma guard George "Duke" Robinson, who was projected early as a potential second-round pick but lasted until the 27th pick in the fifth round when he was picked by Carolina. Robinson struggled with an arm injury that limited his work at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. And he also missed parts of two games due to violations of team rules.
- The Sooners had five players selected in the draft, ranking only behind Missouri among Big 12 teams.
- Tight end Brandon Pettigrew of Oklahoma State (20th pick, Detroit) was the Cowboys' first first-round draft pick since Rashaun Woods was picked in the first round by San Francisco in 2004. Pettigrew was the highest OSU tight end picked in the first round since Reuben Gant was picked by Buffalo in 1974. And Pettigrew was the lone Cowboy selected in the draft after OSU had been shut out in the 2008 draft.
- Brian Orakpo of Texas was the Longhorns' first first-round draft pick since 2007, but gives the Longhorns a Big 12-best 15 first-round draft picks during the history of the conference.
- I was a little suprised that Texas wide receiver Quan Cosby didn't make a roster somewhere because of his productivity. I can only think that teams might have been scared away by his age, as Cosby turned 26 in December. His college career was pushed back four seasons by his minor-league career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It wouldn't surprise me if he made an NFL roster because of his character and his productivity -- both as a receiver and a kick returner.
- Although Texas A&M's Stephen McGee said he was disappointed with his placement as the first player chosen in the fourth round by Dallas, he still made history as the highest drafted Texas A&M quarterback of the modern NFL draft era and only the fifth A&M quarterback selected in an NFL draft during that period. Others included Reggie McNeal (sixth round, 2006), Bucky Richardson (eighth round, 1992), Gary Kubiak (eighth round, 1983) and Edd Hargett (16th round, 1969).
- Michael Crabtree made history as the first first-round draft selection of the Mike Leach era at Texas Tech. He was picked 10th in the first round by San Francisco. He was the highest Tech player selected in a draft since Donny Anderson was picked with the seventh pick in the first round by Green Bay in 1965.
- Crabtree and defensive back Darcel McBath (second round, Denver) were the first Red Raiders picked on the first day in Leach's coaching tenure. And along with guard Louis Vasquez (third round, San Diego) it was the first time in school history that the Red Raiders had a player picked in the first round, second round and third round picked in the same draft.