NFL Combine: Big 12 memories, storylines, hits and misses
The list of invitees to the NFL Scouting Combine is out and the workouts are to start in the coming weeks leading into the NFL Draft. Here is a look at some memories, thoughts and trends surrounding the players invited from the Big 12.
On a good draft night, the Big 12 could have about a handful of players taken in the first round. On a bad draft night, it could be one or two.
Only time will tell but it’s pretty expected across the board that Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson and Texas’ Bijan Robinson will be first-round selections.
From there it gets interesting because TCU WR Quentin Johnston certainly has the bona fides to be taken that early and he’s shown up in some mock drafts along with Oklahoma OL Anton Harrison, Baylor DL Siaki Ika and Iowa State DE Will McDonald.
TCU LEADS THE WAY
So much talk is always about Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 but it was TCU that played for the national title this past season – albeit getting blown out by Georgia – and it is the Horned Frogs that are sending a conference-high nine players to the combine.
Only two four-stars are among the group which speaks to the job coach Sonny Dykes did with this group (or some rankings misses along the way, too) as quarterback Max Duggan is one of two to achieve that ranking. Early mock drafts put him around a sixth-round pick. Wouldn’t it be a story if he ended up being Mr. Irrelevant like Brock Purdy, who defied so many odds this season?
Wide receiver Quentin Johnston is the other one and he could shoot up draft boards because he’s so talented. Three-star OL Steve Avila and two-stars RB Kendre Miller and DB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson have definitely outplayed their ranking while in Fort Worth. Three-star OL Alan Ali, three-star WR Derius Davis, two-star DL Dylan Horton and three-star LB Dee Winters round out the invitees.
BIJAN ROBINSON: THE LONE FIVE-STAR
In the history of Rivals dating back to 2002, there have been 84 five-star running backs. There have been hits and many misses and some players who are still earning their keep.
Robinson should go down as one of the biggest hits since rankings are based off college performance and expected draft position as the former Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe standout is an expected first-round pick. It almost seems asinine a running back would be taken ahead of Robinson this draft cycle although some have Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs in that conversation as well.
Robinson was phenomenal in high school and ended up as the No. 1 all-purpose back in the 2020 class right ahead of Gibbs (who signed with Georgia Tech before transferring to the Crimson Tide). The five-star really separated himself following a dominant performance at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in the summer before his senior season.
Then Robinson went to Texas (over USC) where he finished his college with more than 4,200 all-purpose yards and 41 touchdowns.
He might be the only five-star from the Big 12 invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but Robinson sure is a good representative.
PLAYERS THAT WE MISSED
There were some significant misses when it came to Big 12 players in the rankings process and while there aren’t many first-rounders on the list there were some egregious two-stars that will play in the pros.
On this list include TCU DB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and RB Kendre Miller along with Kansas State DL Felix Anudike-Uzomah and WR Malik Knowles. Some three-stars that were definite misses were Texas Tech DL Tyree Wilson, Iowa State DL Will McDonald, TCU OL Steve Avila and Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn.
BIG 12 TEAMS MUST DO BETTER
There are 10 teams in the Big 12. Half of them are sending only two players each to the combine. The good news is that every team should be represented but it will be a light touch for that conference.
Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia and Texas Tech are the five teams with two invites each for 10 total. TCU, which made it to the College Football Playoff, had nine invites alone.