We're walking through each Big 12 team and identifying its most irreplaceable talent. He's the guy they can least afford to lose, and the guy to whom an injury or departure would have the most effect.
Let's move on with Oklahoma State.
Most indispensable player: WR Josh Stewart
2012 stats: 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. Rushed eight times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Returned two punts for 73 yards.
Why OSU can't afford to lose him: Truth be told, Oklahoma State's offense would still be OK if it lost Stewart, but that's a testament to the depth and balance of OSU's team more than anything. Still, Stewart is the only thing close to an elite receiver on OSU's roster. He still has a ways to go to prove himself as a guy on the Biletnikoff-contending level of some of the recent Big 12 greats, but did you realize he had more than three times as many catches as any player on OSU's roster, and more than twice as many receiving yards?
That's a ton of production. OSU's receiving corps is deep. Nine players had double-digit receptions and at least 150 receiving yards last season, and seven of those nine players return. Stewart is the guy defenses must focus on most, and he was obviously the most consistent target in the OSU passing game, which powered through a turbulent, injury-filled season in 2012.
There's no reason to believe Stewart won't be even better for the Cowboys as a junior in 2013, and in a pass-first offense in Stillwater, he'll have plenty of opportunities to surpass his strong production from his sophomore season in 2012. His production last season was way, way overshadowed because of guys like Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams and Stedman Bailey putting up crazy numbers in the Big 12.