A 2022 NFL Draft without a single Big 12 representative selected in the first round probably marks a chapter from which the league would like to move on.
As the conference readies for some seismic changes in the near future, the upcoming 2022 campaign and subsequent 2023 NFL Draft may be the last impression left of this version of Big 12 football. Fortunately for the programs both staying and going, next spring should not be quite so infamous.
For one thing, it's highly unlikely Texas goes another draft without another player taken. While the Longhorns being shut out this year might warm the hearts of nine other programs in the Big 12, folks in Austin won't have to suffer through a similar indignity next year.
Meanwhile, if NFL draft-caliber talent is indicative of team success, keep an eye on TCU: The Horned Frogs usher in the Sonny Dykes era with some of the Big 12's most intriguing pro prospects.
Note: Players below are listed in alphabetical order.
Connor Galvin, OT, Baylor (Sr., 6-7, 310)
Defending Big 12 champion Baylor faces some significant changes in 2022, but not up front. Four of the Bears' five starting linemen from last year's championship squad are back, with cornerstone Galvin leading the unit. Galvin is a big, physical and agile tackle with the potential to be an early-round draft pick.
Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma (Jr., 6-6, 309)
One big reason — literally and figuratively — to assume the Big 12 will not again be shut out of the NFL draft's first round is Harrison. The star bookend for Oklahoma's potent offense may well be the first tackle taken next year.
Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU (Sr., 5-9, 177)
Hyper-athletic Hodges-Tomlinson — nephew of TCU-turned-NFL legend LaDainian Tomlinson — comes into 2022 off an All-American campaign. In 2021, Hodges-Tomlinson broke up seven passes through his combination of speed, jumping ability and ball awareness. He's also a master turnover-creator, boasting four total takeaways in 2021.
Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor (So., 6-4, 350)
A member of LSU's 2019 national championship-winning squad, Ika followed his then-coordinator/now head coach Dave Aranda to Baylor. Ika represents an evolution in the possibilities of a defensive tackle, eating up space and commanding blockers to free up teammates at a whopping 350 pounds, but with the burst at the snap necessary to get into opposing backfields, as well.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU (Jr., 6-4, 212)
Consider last season's incredible performance against Oklahoma foreshadowing Johnston's potential. At 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, Johnston has the build of a prototype possession receiver. His speed is comparable to that of a slot receiver, however, which with that frame makes him a truly special playmaker.
Will McDonald IV, DE, Iowa State (Sr., 6-4, 245)
McDonald probably would have been an early-round selection had he gone into the 2022 NFL Draft, but his return for another season at Ames could propel the difference-making defensive end to a first-round selection. McDonald is coming off winning a share of the conference's Defensive Lineman of the Year award after registering a whopping 11.5 sacks in the regular season.
Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma (Jr., 5-11, 179)
The All-Big 12 selection and electrifying big-play threat could well be a top-10 pick come next spring. Mims maximized his opportunities in 2021, offering up a sampling of his explosiveness. In 2022, expect much more production from Mims as he gets to showcase more of his reliable hands, speed and ball IQ.
DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas (Sr., 6-4, 221)
Another potential 2022 draftee who opted for another college season, Overshown heads into this pivotal campaign at UT with a guarantee about future drafts.
Overshown thrived in his move from safety to linebacker, bringing some of the speed necessary to play on the backline and converting it to make him an aggressive pass-rushing threat.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (Jr., 6-0, 221)
Robinson may well be college football's top running back in 2022, and from there, should be the most coveted at the position in the 2023 NFL Draft. Running backs' place in the pro pecking order has taken a hit in recent years, but Robinson's a unique prospect with his size and power combined with elusiveness in the open field. Whether it's with a truck move or a juke, Robinson can get free from defenders.
Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State (Jr., 5-6, 176)
Longtime followers of K-State, the Big 12 or just football in general might have wondered what former Wildcats legend Darren Sproles would have looked like in today's more offensively innovative NFL. Wonder no more. Vaughn's combination of fierce running and dependable pass-catching make him an asset to any offense seeking versatility and explosion.
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— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @KyleKensing and subscribe to his newsletter, The Press Break.