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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Looking ahead to the Big 12's NFL Draft

By David Ubben


Colleagues Todd McShay and Mel Kiper are your guys from here until April for NFL draft coverage, and they rolled out plenty of updates this week.

Kiper updated his Big Board Insider, a list of the top 25 prospects, and McShay released his first official mock draft Insider now that the season is over.

The highest pick in the Big 12 on McShay's mock draft? West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who McShay says is headed to Arizona to fix the Cardinals' quarterback issues and toss a few balls to Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals are fresh off a 58-0 loss to Seattle this weekend.

That will be much needed. The derby for the No. 1 quarterback will be pretty intriguing during draft season, and I like Smith's chances to hold onto that No. 1 spot through the combine and pro days. Still, you never really know.

You'll need Insider to see McShay and Kiper's full comments, but Smith checks in at No. 25 on Kiper's Big Board.

McShay has Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro headed just a few hours north to my neck of the woods as the Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick at No. 19. Kiper has Vaccaro as the No. 20 overall prospect in the draft.

The last Big 12 flavor on the duo's draft coverage: Tavon Austin to New England at No. 30 in the first round. That would be a match made in heaven right there. The Patriots love guys who were productive in college, and you know they would find ways to get him the ball in the open field. Kiper loves Austin as a slot guy in this draft. Could he be groomed as Wes Welker's replacement? Talk about a perfect fit, no?