Over the past two weeks, there have been appetizers for the main course that has been prepared for this weekend. Power 5 football is back in the form of the ACC and Big 12. Five first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft were developed within the Big 12. Who are the names to know for the upcoming season? CBS Sports has you covered on a team-by-team basis.
Center Creed Humphrey looked like a potential first-round pick before electing to return to Norman. He is a rock at the heart of a vaunted offensive attack that has propelled Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Baker Mayfield into first and second-round selections. Although he struggled with a quicker Quinnen Williams playing nose tackle in 2018, Humphrey was a freshman at the time.
On this play, Humphrey is able to get downfield on a screen play to spring the wide receiver for a touchdown.
More to watch
Linebacker Dashaun White is a player that is moving into the limelight following the draft selection of Kenneth Murray. It will be interesting to see how those two players rise to the occasion. Edge rushers Ronnie Perkins and LaRon Stokes are a few others on that front seven with traits.
Offensive tackle Adrian Ealy is another long offensive tackle prospect with a lot of ability. His development during the past six months will be crucial to his ceiling in the 2021 NFL Draft. Wide receiver Charleston Rambo has good speed and does a nice job tracking the ball through the air. The concern is that he is easily knocked off his routes and his route-running needs improvement.
Running back Rhamondre Stevenson is a big running back that has caught my attention. He is able to do everything relatively well. It would not be a surprise if he is drafted before Trey Sermon, who has transferred from Oklahoma to Ohio State, and Kennedy Brooks, who opted out of the season. Defensive tackle Jalen Redmond also opted out.
Wide receiver Tylan Wallace is a big-play threat when on the field. Unfortunately for he and the Cowboys, Wallace suffered a torn ACL midway through the season. Wallace was inconsistent catching passes in 2018. On one play, he would contort his body in midair and make an acrobatic fingertip catch. On the next play, he would think about what to do after the catch before he secured the ball and it led to drops. The Texas native consistently gets behind defenses and does a good job adapting his route with more physical cornerbacks.
On this particular play, Wallace's eyes and body are synchronized to sell an inside route. It sounds simple but there are plenty of examples illustrating a receiver cutting or turning his head first and it does not look believable. The cornerback bites and, as soon as the cornerback commits forward motion, Wallace breaks to the outside for a fade in the end zone.
More to watch
Running back Chuba Hubbard is lightning in a bottle. He rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. There are concerns about whether or not his frame would hold up to the constant jarring that a feature running back sustains in the NFL. His quarterback, Spencer Sanders, is unlikely to exit for the 2021 NFL Draft but he showed a lot of development last season. Offensive tackle Teven Jenkins is a really talented lineman that is widely underrated right now.
Cornerback Rodarius Williams, brother of Greedy Williams, a second-round pick by the Browns, looks as though he plays flat-footed at times and is late anticipating a move by the receiver. At best, he is probably a Day 3 selection right now. Safety Kolby Harvell-Peel intercepted five passes and forced two fumbles in 2019. It was no coincidence that he flies around the field and is always in a position to make a play.
For the second straight year, there are no early first-round safety prospects. The competition to be the first safety taken will be fierce.
Safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar'Darius Washington are garnering all of the attention in Fort Worth. Moehrig flies around the field and has a great feel for the game. His reckless play can be as much of a weakness as it is a strength. The Texas native is willing to gamble in coverage. At times, it results in two forced fumbles and four interceptions. Other times, the results are less flattering. Washington is a fluid player. He plays with great balance and is able to change directions effortlessly. The Louisiana native does wonders playing the ball in the air.
Below is an example of being in the right place at the right time for Washington as the former LSU commitment picks off a pass:
More to watch
Linebacker Garrett Wallow drew praise from former teammate Jeff Gladney at the NFL combine. Wallow is a high-motor player with good burst. He struggles getting off blocks and is not the most fluid laterally. Wide receiver J.D. Spielman transferred in from Nebraska before the Big Ten opted out of their season. It was a wise decision on his part in hindsight.
Offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi is one of the better tackle prospects in this draft class. It is another deep group of tackle talent but Cosmi has positioned himself to be taken in the first round. Cosmi is a player that stood out last year and it was a bit unexpected for him to return to Austin for another season.
The Texas native is very athletic and has no issues getting to the second level. He will not be confused for a mauler in the ground game. The ability to seal off blocks and move naturally at that size are his strengths. On this particular play, he chops down on the defender's inside arm, which causes the defender to lose balance. The result is an easy pancake for Cosmi.
More to watch
Edge rusher Joseph Ossai will probably be a polarizing prospect throughout the process. His role needs to be more defined and in line with what would be expected of him in the NFL. At times, he plays more of an off-ball linebacker role and that is not his strength. His limitations in coverage suggest that he would be better served as a down edge rusher. His reps in that role have been limited and his room for growth is significant. The talent is there though.
Safety Caden Sterns was highly regarded going into the past season but his stock took a bit of a hit. He is used in a variety of capacities for the Longhorns. Generally speaking, he is a good tackler that sometimes suffers from a desire to deliver a bone-chattering hit rather than wrapping up.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is a great college quarterback and an even better leader. However, his projection is probably closer to Colt McCoy's career in the NFL than a long-term starter at the position. Michigan wide receiver transfer Tarik Black is very talented but was hampered by the Wolverines' quarterback situation last fall. He gets out of his routes quickly and is willing to fight for the ball.
Defensive tackles Darius and Dante Stills have a chance to be selected in the first two days of the draft. The twin brothers from Fairmont possess different frames but an equally high level of play. Between the two of them, they combined for 14 sacks last season. These are two players that I am excited to watch and learn more about.
Nice play by @WVUfootball DT Darius Stills - also tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 by @philsteele042— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 21, 2020
Watch DT56... Fast arm over at POA gets stuffed from down block, but disengages and hunts ball carrier to the numbers! Love it pic.twitter.com/lB68tRoJjr
Who else to watch
Baylor: Edge rusher William Bradley-King was intriguing while he was with Arkansas State. It will be interesting to see how he fares against better competition. Quarterback Charlie Brewer and running back John Lovett are a few players on the offensive side of the ball that have some work to do it if they want to be drafted.
Iowa State: Several draft analysts have liked what they have seen from quarterback Brock Purdy. Although the sample size is small, I am not in that camp yet. He does have a trio of tight ends that will at least get NFL looks: Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen and Dylan Soehner. Safety Greg Eisworth is likely their top prospect on defense but it is worth knowing the names of edge rusher Eyioma Uwazurike, edge rusher JaQuan Bailey and linebacker O'Rien Vance as well.
Kansas: Running back Pooka Williams Jr. is one of the most entertaining players in the conference. His movements are natural and he possesses track level speed. There are concerns about whether his frame would hold up as a feature back and his pass protection is poor. Otherwise, the Louisiana native does a good job catching passes out of the backfield.
Kansas State: The Wildcats are not bringing much to the table from a draft perspective this year. Cornerback A.J. Parker may be their best prospect. Quarterback Skyler Thompson and wide receiver Malik Knowles are a few on the other side of the ball but there is an outside chance that any are drafted.
Texas Tech: Interior offensive lineman Jack Anderson and wide receiver T.J. Vasher are prospects that will catch the attention of the NFL. Anderson will benefit from last year's relatively weak interior offensive line group.