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Eight In The First and 30 Total
April 28, 2011

By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

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

San Francisco

No. 118 Jalil Brown, Colorado DB

Kansas City

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

St. Louis

No. 227 Scotty McKnight, Colorado WR

New York Jets

No. 229 Jonathan Nelson, Oklahoma DB

St. Louis

No. 232 Baron Batch, Texas Tech RB


No. 234 Andrew Gachkar, Missouri OLB

San Diego

No. 246 Jay Finley, Baylor RB


No. 247 Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma DL


No. 248 Eric Hagg, Nebraska DB


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