Big 12 NFL draft prospects vary widely

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
4:00
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The Big 12 doesn't look likely to send quite the NFL draft class like it did in 2012, when three of the nation's top 10 picks came from the league.

Still, there seems to be plenty of disagreement on where the Big 12 stands when it comes to this year's draft class.

Mel Kiper released his Big Board earlier this week, and how many Big 12 prospects made the list? A big, round zero . Kiper says no one in the Big 12 qualified to be on his list of the nation's top 25 prospects.

But fellow draftnik Todd McShay? In his list of the nation's top 32 prospects , he's got three players from the Big 12, including two inside his top 25.

McShay's already enamored with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's arm, and has Smith as the Big 12's leader in draft stock. Smith checks in at No. 17 on McShay's list, and his fast start has turned plenty of heads. Smith has already moved up to No. 17 from No. 24 earlier in the season.

Texas' versatile defensive back, Kenny Vaccaro, shows up on McShay's list at No. 22. McShay loves his explosiveness and instinct while roaming the secondary, and the 6-foot, 210-pounder obviously has a bright future ahead.

Vaccaro's as hard of a hitter as there is in the Big 12, but McShay's on the money when it comes to Vaccaro's football IQ. He knows how to be in the right place at the right time.

You can't teach speed, either. That's why Tavon Austin checks in at No. 32 on McShay's list. The 5-foot-8, 173-pounder has big questions about his size, the same kind of questions we heard about Ryan Broyles a year ago. It may keep Austin out of the first round, McShay writes.

It's true, but you can't deny his explosiveness. McShay compares him to Percy Harvin.

I'm not sure I agree so much with that assessment. Harvin and Austin both have similar straight-line speed, but Austin's shiftiness and quickness is significantly better, in my opinion.

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