2013 NFL Draft - Top Big 12 Prospects

Posted Apr 16, 2013

2013 NFL Draft - Top Big 12 Prospects. Who are the best and brightest NFL prospects from each league?

2013 NFL Draft

Top 5 Big 12 Players

By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 

2013 NFL Draft Analysis
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
- Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers 

Top 5 Conference Prospects
- ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC 

1. OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma 6-6, 303
There was a time when tight ends would love to have worked out like Johnson did this offseason. Ridiculously fast and athletic for an offensive lineman, he went from being a good prospect to a must-have with a few big workouts and a great Combine. Not just an athlete, he has the technique and the tools to do everything right. He might not have quite the overall skills of Luke Joeckel or the upside of Eric Fisher, but blockers with his talents are rare. He could stand to be a bit bigger and isn’t going to be a powerful blocker, and he might need more time to grow into an NFL talent – there’s an obvious big jump from the Big 12 to the next level. He’s still learning on the fly and he’s not a finished product, but in time he should become a special all-around blocker. However, considering where he’s likely going to be taken, he could be a slight disappointment right away – that will quickly change.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia 6-2, 218
Here’s the problem: he’s a Texas Tech-like quarterback who’ll only work in the right system, and he needs a ton of tweaking to become a pro-style pocket passer who can take a deep drop and fire. He has to be in a rhythm and has to be able to make plays in a groove, and while he’s not a runner in any way – despite his excellent speed - he throws well on the move and is good at improvising under a heavy rush. Great at keeping his eyes and head down the field, he doesn’t give up on a play and will buy himself just enough time to get off the throw. More than anything else, when he’s on, he’s absolutely deadly at getting the ball to his guys on the move in places where they can do something with it. The arm strength isn’t a question and he can make all the throws with excellent accuracy and touch, but he’s not huge at just over 6-2, has smallish hands and fumbles WAY too often. More of an ultra-productive college quarterback than a franchise-making pro star, there isn’t a current NFL quarterback who necessarily translates to his style.

Don’t expect Andrew Luck, RG3 or Russell Wilson; he’s going to need breaking down and building back up again to get the mechanics right and into more of a pro set. The fear is Tim Couch; he’s going to start taking more of a beating than he did in college, and while he’s tough, he’s going to have to get used to hanging in the pocket and getting blasted. Smith worked behind a mediocre O line at West Virginia, but the style of offense didn’t get him popped on a regular basis. Worst of all, when things didn’t work out, he wasn’t able to crank the offense up a few notches and translate yards into points. Yes, he was phenomenal against Baylor’s miserable defense, but once he had to deal with Ds that could play, the passing game bogged down. He’ll be way, way, way overdrafted in a mediocre class of quarterbacks if the plan is to get a franchise star right away – he’d have been a late second-early third rounder in last year’s class. However, he's good enough and talented enough to hope for a big payoff in a year or three.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas 6-0, 214
Texas defensive backs always look and play NFL-ready, but Vaccaro stands out from the pack. He’s not going to be another Earl Thomas, and he’s not a blazer, but he’s big with good enough versatility to be used in any style as a free or strong safety with big hitting skills and good ball hawking ability. The attitude and moxie aren’t a problem, and he’s confident whenever it comes time to make a big play. An elite special teamer, he has a bizarre knack for finding the ball on kick blocks. Needing to get functionally stronger, he had a bad offseason with mediocre workouts and not showing enough strength or quickness to think he can be among the elite of the elite defensive playmakers. However, once he turns it on and gets into shape, he’ll be a versatile force who’ll always be around the ball – but he has to want it.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. WR Terrance Williams, Baylor 6-2, 208
Last season he showed what several had been suggesting – he was the best receiver on the team over the last few years. Kendall Wright might have been the main man for RG3, but when the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was gone, it was Williams who stepped up his game averaging a whopping 18.9 yards per catch making huge play after huge play. He doesn’t have great timed speed, but when he has to track the ball and when he has it in his hands on the move, he’s gone. While he’ll work hard and do anything a coach asks, he needs the killer instinct to be able to make himself something truly special. The workouts are never going to be great and he’s not going to stand out on a scout sheet, but he’s a top producer who can grow from a great deep threat into a strong all-around playmaker with a little bit of time and more work on his route tree.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia (Jr.) 5-8, 174
4.34. His 40 time wasn’t the fastest at the combine, but he was moving in a hurry. A darting speedster, he’s great with the ball in his hands in a variety of ways, used as a running back as well as a receiver, using his burst of speed to make things happen whenever he got his chances. Uncoverable as a slot receiver, he’ll be devastating when he gets the ball on the move with the ability to breakdown and blow past a defender. He’ll never block anyone and he’s going to get crushed when he goes across the middle, but he’s a true difference maker who’ll keep defensive coordinators up at night.
CFN Projection: Second Round