Projecting the Big 12's first-round picks


Colleagues Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. dropped their second mock drafts with a couple months left in the draft process. Who'll be the first Big 12 player drafted? The duo disagrees.

McShay says it's going to be West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who'll be headed to the Buffalo Bills with the eighth pick and the first quarterback drafted. Kiper? He doesn't even have Smith going anywhere in the first round.

Kiper's first Big 12 player taken is a much less sexy position. He's going with converted juco quarterback Lane Johnson, who emerged as an offensive line standout over the past couple years for Oklahoma. Kiper says the Sooner will be the first Big 12 player taken, all the way down at No. 16 to the St. Louis Rams. McShay has Johnson going even higher, at No. 11, to the San Diego Chargers.

A spot later, McShay has Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro going to the Miami Dolphins. That'd be an interesting fit in Joe Philbin's team, which went 7-9 this past season. Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman surely knows Vaccaro's skills well from his days as Texas A&M's head coach.

McShay doesn't have any Big 12 players going in the rest of his mock draft, and neither does Kiper, but he says Vaccaro will be off the board at No. 21, when the Cincinnati Bengals pick him up, calling him a big upgrade at either safety spot.

It's going to be a quiet first round for the Big 12 this April without a ton of NFL-bound talent, but we'll see how the leagues' talents fluctuate throughout the draft process with pro days and the combine still to come.