Only one Big 12 player was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft (first time since 2008) and only two were chosen in the first two rounds, the lowest since the Southwest Conference and Big Eight merged in 1996.
Will the conference rebound in 2018 after having just 14 total players selected in 2017? Probably not.
While the Big 12 should more than one first-round selection and far more than 14 draftees, the conference once again lacks both first- and second-round talent and may be forced to watch the Big Ten and SEC dominate the first half of the draft.
And after two teams did not have a single player chosen last year, can the Big 12 have representation from all 10 teams in 2018? Here is the 2018 NFL Draft prospect for each Big 12 team.
Baylor – Taylor Young, LB
Baylor had just one player selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, tying their fewest selections in the last decade. They might have zero draftees in 2018.
Their best shot, right now, is Taylor Young, a 5-foot-9, 225-pound outside linebacker who has 34.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in his career. Entering the season, head coach Matt Rhule called him their best defender by far, and though the system change from coordinators Phil Bennett to Phil Snow has caused a few hiccups for the entire Bears' unit, Young has played well.
He's above average in coverage, can rush the passer and is responsibly aggressive in run support. Young has the size and instincts of a hybrid linebacker/safety have become commonplace in the NFL but he has zero experience in the secondary.
Third-day selection is best case scenario.
COMPARE: Taylor Young vs. Any Player
Iowa State – Allen Lazard, WR
Allen Lazard could've been a mid- to late-round pick in last year's draft but opted to return for his senior season, which proved to be one of many reasons why Iowa State is contending for a Big 12 title.
At 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, the former four-star recruit is a massive target that may remind some fans of a bigger Alshon Jeffery. Lazard is surprisingly quick for his size — for example, he averaged more than 20 yards per punt return last year — and attacks the ball on contested throws.
Despite the production (nearly 3,000 total yards and 21 touchdowns), he's still buried in a deep group of receivers, largely thanks to subpar hands, route-running and top-end acceleration.
Lazard's draft stock won't change much from where it was last year. You can expect to see him selected anywhere between the third and fifth rounds.
COMPARE: Allen Lazard vs. Any Player
Kansas – Dorance Armstrong Jr., DE
Dorance Armstrong's massive 2016 season (20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks) not only put him in the 2018 (or 2019) draft discussion, it made him a top-end prospect with first- or second-round potential.
A former three-star recruit and the 46th-ranked weak-side defensive end in the 2015 class, Armstrong had a quarterback pressure on more than 14 percent of his pass-rush snaps last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
Although he hasn't been as dominant this year (seven tackles for loss, one sack), mostly due to increased attention as the Jayhawks' only pass-rusher, and he's fallen to a day-two pick, his all-around game is slowly improving. He's been better in run support and never gives up on plays.
Kansas State – D.J. Reed
Kansas State hasn't gone without a draft pick since 1993, and while the Wildcats don't have a bevy of NFL-bound talent, both guard Dalton Risner (if he leaves early) and cornerback D.J. Reed should be selected. Reed is the better prospect of the two.
He is a 5-foot-9, 188-pounder playing his second season in Manhattan after two JUCO seasons. He's a sound tackler with good closing and catch-up speed who plays far bigger than his size.
Special-teams potential gives Reed's stock a slight boost. He's averaging 36.4 yards per kickoff return and 16.8 yards per punt return in 2017.
Oklahoma – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB
An outside linebacker with end-like pass-rushing skills, the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder has 25 tackles for loss and 16 sacks in his last 20 games. His 59 pressures were by far the most of any returning Big 12 edge rusher.
His tackling and pass coverage has improved a little this year but there's still work to be done. He's often fooled by quick ball carriers and can struggle with coverage awareness.
Still, Okoronkwo is a top-five outside linebacker prospect and could be selected early in the second round, if not late in the first.
Oklahoma State – James Washington, WR
James Washington passed on the 2017 draft for a final season in Stillwater.
The 6-foot, 205-poounder is an elite big-play threat, averaging 20 yards per reception for his career, including 22.3 this year. His vertical numbers and averages are better than former Oklahoma State deep-ball legends Dez Bryant and Adarius Bowman.
Half of his 1,380 receiving yards last year came on passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield. And while his quarterback Mason Rudolph has put him in position to rack up huge numbers, Washington is superb at gaining separation and high-pointing the ball.
Average height and breakway speed will keep him from being selected in the first round next April, though his hands and ability to play bigger than his size give him second-round potential.
TCU – Kyle Hicks, RB
Another team void of high-end prospects, Kyle Hicks is TCU's best chance for a mid-round pick.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder is an all-purpose running back who's approaching 2,000 career rushing yards and has 84 career receptions. Hicks isn't the biggest back but breaks tackles as well as any player in the Big 12 with a combination of spins, jukes and the occasional truck stick.
He's buried in a deep running back class that features not only elite talent in Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice and Bryce Love, but also second-tier prospects such as Royce Freeman, Nick Chubb and Josh Adams.
Best case scenario, a team takes a shot on Hicks in the fourth round. Worst case, he falls to last two rounds of the draft.
Texas – Connor Williams, OT
Connor Williams entered the season as a consensus top-five selection. He's still one of the best draft-eligible linemen but has fallen to the middle part of the first round.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle is an elite all-around player with no glaring holes in his game. He's fluid in both pass- and run-blocking, doesn't take plays off and fits any scheme.
The biggest issues are his health — Williams has been a little banged up this season, missing time with a knee injury — and reach against long, elite edge rushers.
Pre-draft medical evaluations may be the most important piece of Williams' draft stock. He could move back in the top 5-8 with good reports.
Texas Tech – Nic Shimonek, QB
Nic Shimonek has been sensational as Patrick Mahomes' replacement. He's not averaging 421 yards like the now-Chiefs' quarterback but he is completing 70 percent of his passes while averaging 8.6 yards per attempt.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound fifth-year senior moves well for his size, is comfortable outside the pocket and has more arm strength than he gets credit for.
Shimonek also has a quick trigger, isn't afraid to throw it away or take a checkdown and keeps his eyes downfield most of the time.
He's not as athletic as the top quarterbacks in the class, nor is his upside as high, which will push him to the latter part of the draft. Seventh round seems like a safe bet, unless a team loves his skill set and take a chance.
West Virginia – David Sills V, WR
David Sills' journey from seventh-grade quarterback phenom to legitimate NFL receiver prospect is worthy of a 30 for 30 film.
A 6-foot-3, 203-pounder, Sills is averaging 15.9 yards per catch and ranks first nationally with 15 touchdown receptions. He's learned to use his big frame beautifully in the red zone and has enough speed for separation elsewhere.
His lack of experience will be scrutinized — he entered the season with seven career receptions — and his route-running needs a little tweaking, but his elite ball skills make him a top-10 receiver prospect.