2020 NFL Draft: Analyzing the Big 12’s biggest breakout stars

The Big 12 isn't often known for its depth in the NFL Draft. But this year's Big 12 class should be more fruitful than usual, due in part to these eight breakout players.

Every draft cycle, players emerge under the spotlight over the course of a season and become legit NFL Draft prospects. The Big 12 has so many for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft that it was hard to narrow down just eight players for this list. I think this 2020 NFL Draft group is the deepest class the Big 12 has had in several years. There are great talents on both sides of the ball.  

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Has there been a better storyline in college football this season than the rise of Jalen Hurts? From bitter endings at Alabama to bacchanal times with the Sooners, Jalen Hurts fits in a 30 for 30 movie. He’s also been a pretty good quarterback for the Sooners, posting a 226.1 passing efficiency mark, as well as tying for 2nd in points responsible for. He’s the only quarterback since 1996 to record at least three games of an efficiency rating over 245.0, and he’s done it five times this season. Pretty crazy turnaround for the player who was benched in the national title. Hurts has firmly entered the first-round conversation. 

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Chuba Hubbard entered the season with a lot of promise to his name. He split carries with Justice Hill last season, but the flashes of what he did with those carries had Pokes fans salivating at his potential. It’s safe to say Hubbard has definitely delivered on that hype this season. His explosiveness as a runner has put him first in the country in rushing yards and tied for first in rushing touchdowns. Hubbard has the potential to turn every touch into a score and is in the running for the Doak Walker award. Hubbard can be a top-100 selection if he shows receiving chops in the offseason. 

Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Devin Duvernay has (in my opinion) been the best pro prospect of all the Texas wide receivers the last couple years. After a breakout game against LSU, Duvernay has emerged onto the national stage. Duvernay has become a slot-god this season for Texas, and the offense has flown through him. He’s a legit 4.3 speedster with great hands and route-running skills. He reminds me of Deebo and Curtis Samuel, and that could mean a high draft selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Andrew Parchment, WR, Kansas

Andrew Parchment has been the top dog for the Kansas offense this year. While the Kansas offense is nothing to write home about, Parchment has been an under-the-radar playmaker for the Jayhawks. He’s had a few drops (including a big one against Texas that could have won the game), but his speed and ball skills are top-notch. He might not declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, but it could happen with a few more big games under his belt. 

James Lynch, DL, Baylor

The Big 12 has been a little sparse on top-level defensive line talent in the last few NFL Drafts. Charles Omenihu and L.J. Collier were talented players in their own right, but they were the only two Big 12 defensive linemen selected in 2019. James Lynch is a player who can change that trend. He’s been an incredibly disruptive force upfront for the Baylor Bears this season, notching 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss this season, as well as two blocked field goals!! With his quickness, he’s a “dancing bear” so to speak,  and his skill set translates well to the next level. 

Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU

Ross Blacklock entered the season relatively unknown, due to a leg injury in his sophomore season. This year, however, Blacklock has gone back to his freshman self and has been an effective pass rusher for the Horned Frogs with 3.5 sacks. He’s been a menace up front for every team that has gone up against TCU, and I really love his overall blend of size, motor, and power to go along with explosion off the line of scrimmage. I haven’t heard much NFL buzz due to TCU’s relative struggles, but I’m a fan. 

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

If it weren’t for the aforementioned Jalen Hurts or LSU’s Joe Burrow, Kenneth Murray would take the cake for being the most improved player in the country. Murray is the heart and soul of the revitalized Oklahoma defense this season and looks to be a shoo-in for the Butkus Award at this point in time. I’ve heard his name pop up in the first-round talks for the 2020 NFL Draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where he went. He’s the best Oklahoma linebacker since Curtis Lofton.  

Douglas Coleman, DB, Texas Tech

If I told you a Big 12 defensive back led the country in interceptions, you might be a little skeptical. If I further elaborated by saying it’s a Texas Tech defensive back, you’d probably call me crazy. Guess what? I’m crazy. Douglas Coleman currently has six interceptions in seven games this season, and they aren’t fluky interceptions either.

Coleman’s got sideline-to-sideline range and length. These traits, paired with good tracking ability and tackling skills, have established Coleman as a top-flight defensive back. He’s a Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist. He absolutely should earn that ticket to Mobile for the Senior Bowl, and that could be his emergence into the top-100 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

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