By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFL Draft's first round again was dotted with players from the Big 12 Conference.
A year ago, the first four players selected came from Big 12 schools - a record since the NFL "common" draft started in 1967. Also last year, nine players were selected in the first round - the most in Big 12 history.
In Thursday night's prime-time draft that had 32 selections, the Big 12 produced eight picks. That was second to the 10 Southeastern Conference players that were chosen.
Texas A&M defensive end Von Miller was the second player selected; he'll ply his trade with the Denver Broncos. A year ago, he considered skipping his senior season for the NFL Draft but his decision to return for his senior season turned out to be wise.
"The Denver Broncos got a lot better," ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden said of the Broncos drafting Miller. "I've seen this guy ruin games ... nobody blocked this guy last year."
Denver executive vice president of football operations John Elway Tweeted: "Von's a dynamic player with his ability to rush the passer. He'll be a big part of us bringing back the Orange Crush defense!"
As he spoke on the telephone with Denver officials, Miller was in tears in the green room was wearing a Texas A&M cap before he donned a Broncos cap before meeting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Miller's selection tied for the highest pick ever for a Texas A&M player. Quentin Coryatt (1992), John David Crow (958) and John Kimbrough (1941) were also chosen with the second choice in the NFL Draft.
Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the seventh pick. There was considerable speculation that Smith's teammate, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, might be San Francisco's pick but Smith - who as a freshman set a school record for sacks - became one of the fastest-rising players in the draft pool.
Gabbert didn't have to wait long. The Jacksonville Jaguars made a trade with Washington to move up to No. 10 and selected the Missouri quarterback.
That gave the Tigers two of the top 10 selections. Alabama also had two players selected in the top 10. Before this year, Missouri had four top 10 picks in school history. Missouri has had five players chosen in the first round of the last three NFL Drafts.
Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder was selected by New England with the 17th overall selection.
With the 19th selection in the first round, the New York Giants tabbed Nebraska corner back Prince Amukamara.
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor gave Baylor its second first-round pick of the Big 12 era; Jason Smith was the No. 2 pick in 2009. Cleveland traded with Kansas City to move up to No. 21 and select Taylor, who transferred to Baylor from Penn State.
Two picks after Taylor was selected, his teammate Danny Watkins had his name called. The offensive tackle was chosen by Philadelphia with 23rd pick.
Baylor had gone 12 years without having a player chosen in the first round but have now had three in the last three NFL Drafts. It's the first time since 1957 that the Bears had two players selected in the first round.
Like Baylor and Missouri, Colorado also had two players selected in the first round as the Baltimore Ravens tabbed Buffs cornerback Jimmy Smith with the 27th pick.
The Big 12 had 30 players taken through the seven rounds of the draft.
Big 12 Conference players in the NFL Draft
|Selection||Player, school, position||NFL team|
|No. 2||Von Miller, Texas A&M DE||Denver|
|No. 7||Aldon Smith, Missouri DE||San Francisco|
|No. 10||Blaine Gabbert, Missouri QB||Jacksonville|
|No. 17||Nate Solder, Colorado DE||New England|
|No. 19||Prince Amukamara, Nebraska CB||New York Giants|
|No. 21||Phil Taylor, Baylor DT||Cleveland|
|No. 23||Danny Watkins, Baylor OT||Philadelphia|
|No. 27||Jimmy Smith, Colorado CB||
|No. 34||Aaron Williams, Texas DB||
|No. 62||Daniel Thomas, Kansas State RB||
|No. 71||DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma RB||
|No. 95||Curtis Brown, Texas DB||
|No. 103||Sam Acho, Texas OLB||
|No. 105||Roy Helu, Jr., Nebraska RB||
|No. 108||Quinton Carter, Oklahoma DB||
|No. 115||Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State RB||
|No. 118||Jalil Brown, Colorado DB||
|No. 120||Alex Henery, Nebraska K||
|No. 146||DeJon Gomes, Nebraska DB||
|No. 155||Niles Paul, Nebraska WR||
|No. 164||Chykie Brown, Texas DB||
|No. 196||Keith Williams, Nebraska OL||
|No. 216||Mikail Baker, Baylor DB||
|No. 227||Scotty McKnight, Colorado WR||
New York Jets
|No. 229||Jonathan Nelson, Oklahoma DB||
|No. 232||Baron Batch, Texas Tech RB||
|No. 234||Andrew Gachkar, Missouri OLB||
|No. 246||Jay Finley, Baylor RB||
|No. 247||Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma DL||
|No. 248||Eric Hagg, Nebraska DB||