Key replacements for draft departures

Updated: February 22, 2013, 8:25 AM ET
By Travis Haney

With the NFL combine beginning Friday in Indianapolis, we thought it would be an appropriate time to establish which future pros will leave the largest holes for their former college programs. These were some of the more valuable players on their teams last season, and now the heat is on for those replacing college football MVPs.

A year ago, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III left the most glaring gaps, filled, eventually, at Stanford by Kevin Hogan -- but not before Josh Nunes struggled to find footing -- and, capably, at Baylor by Nick Florence. Alabama backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon provided a seamless transition from Trent Richardson. Oklahoma State is still looking for its next Justin Blackmon, who was the next Dez Bryant.

Who will it be this fall? Who will take over for names that had become most familiar to us? Here is a sampling.

1. Kansas State Wildcats quarterback

Out: Collin Klein
In: Daniel Sams

He might not be a big name this week in Indy, but Klein -- at least the way he played, generating offense when there weren't many capable options -- is going to be extremely difficult to replace at the college level. He accounted for 6,620 yards and 79 touchdowns, 50 of them on the ground, the past two seasons. For the number of times he had the ball in his hands -- 524 carries and 585 pass attempts his final two years -- Klein was extremely durable.