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Thursday, July 17, 2008
Big 12 doesn't fare well among top NFL players

By staff

Posted by's Tim Griffin

A recent story in the Houma (La.) Today newspaper indicated that the Big 12 ranks fourth among conferences in terms of projected NFL starters for the 2008 season with 72. That number is behind the Southeastern Conference (137), ACC (121) and Big Ten (105).

And it also got me to thinking about the potential star players who were developed in the conference and how that might rank with other conferences across the country. I perused a copy of Pro Football Weekly/'s yearly preview issue, mainly because it had a list compiled of the 50 best players in the NFL. That list was developed, the magazine said, after extensive discussion with coaches, scouts and NFL personnel people.

The results were eye-opening -- and not so good for the Big 12.

Only four of Pro Football Weekly/'s top 50 NFL players were produced by Big 12 schools -- former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota, 16th on the list), former Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris (Chicago, 47th), former Kansas State defensive back Terence Newman (Dallas, 36th) and former Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams (Minnesota, 25th).

That total ranked fifth among the BCS conferences. The ACC led the list with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC and Pac-10 with seven players each and the Big Ten with six. The Big 12's collective total wasn't even as many as those players produced by Miami (Fla.), as five former Hurricanes made the list.

Oklahoma was one of 10 schools with more than one player listed. Others were Miami, Arkansas, California, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon State, Tennessee, Troy State and USC.

Pro Football Weekly's 50 best players in the NFL
1. QB Tom Brady (New England) Michigan
2. QB Peyton Manning (Indianapolis) Tennessee
3. RB LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego) TCU
4. WR Randy Moss (New England) Marshall
5. DE Jared Allen (Minnesota) Idaho State
6. OLB DeMarcus Ware (Dallas) Troy State
7. QB Carson Palmer (Cincinnati) USC
8. WR Terrell Owens (Dallas) Tennessee-Chattanooga
9. CB Champ Bailey (Denver) Georgia
10. S Bob Sanders (Indianapolis) Iowa
11. WR Steve Smith (Carolina) Utah
12. RB Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia) Villanova
13. TE Antonio Gates (San Diego) Kent State
14. OLB Shawne Merriman (San Diego) Maryland
15. QB Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh)Miami (Ohio)
16. RB Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) Oklahoma
17. QB Drew Brees (New Orleans) Purdue
18. QB Tony Romo (Dallas) Eastern Illinois
19. T Walter Jones (Seattle) Florida State
20. RB Steven Jackson (St. Louis) Oregon State
21. WR Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis) Miami (Fla.)
22. DE Mario Williams (Houston) North Carolina State
23. MLB Brian Urlacher (Chicago) New Mexico
24. DT Albert Haynesworth (Tennessee) Tennessee
25. DT Kevin Williams (Minnesota) Oklahoma State
26. WR Andre Johnson (Houston) Miami (Fla.)
27. T Jason Peters (Buffalo) Arkansas
28. DE Osi Umenyiora (New York Giants) Troy State
29. CB Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland) California
30. FS Ed Reed (Baltimore) Miami (Fla.)
31. QB Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle) Boston College
32. WR Chad Johnson (Cincinnati) Oregon State
33. CB Asante Samuel (Philadelphia) Central Fla.
34. WR Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) Pittsburgh
35. CB Marcus Trufant (Seattle) Washington State
36. CB Terence Newman (Dallas) KSU
37. LB Jason Taylor (Miami) Akron
38. WR Braylon Edwards (Cleveland) Michigan
39. DE Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) Syracuse
40. CB Antonio Cromartie (San Diego) Florida State
41. TE Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City) California
42. TE Kellen Winslow (Cleveland) Miami (Fla.)
43. RB Larry Johnson (Kansas City) Penn State
44. RB Marion Barber (Dallas) Minnesota
45. MLB Lola Tatupu (Seattle) USC
46. RS/DB Devin Hester (Chicago) Miami (Fla.)
47. DT Tommie Harris (Chicago) Oklahoma
48. G Shawn Andrews (Philadelphia) Arkansas
49. MLB DeMeco Ryans (Houston) Alabama
50. ILB Patrick Willis (San Francisco) Mississippi