The Big 12 has found great success at the Senior Bowl in recent years. Players such as Baker Mayfield, Sterling Shepard, Cody Whitehair, James Washington, Ben Banogu, and L.J. Collier all increased their draft stocks at the event last year. This year, there are only 12 total attendees from the Big 12, so this is a critical opportunity for those attending to add to the NFL prestige of the conference. The Senior Bowl is an opportunity for the Big 12 to showcase what it can do against members of the other Power Five conferences. With this opportunity, here are the Big 12 players I believe will be the biggest risers after this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know of my fondness for Collin Johnson’s running mate Devin Duvernay. However, look out for this phenom on the field during practices. Johnson is listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, and he plays like it too, demonstrating elite body control and length in contested situations.
Johnson’s biggest weakness coming into the season was his route-running, but I thought he improved in that area, working off of press coverage better this season than he did in 2018. Due to his size, Johnson struggles to separate at the top of his routes lacking relative agility. However, the big-bodied WR has the prototypical height, weight, and speed combination that the NFL seems to love. A good week in Mobile and Johnson’s name will begin to rise up draft boards.
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
I’m stunned at the general lack of buzz about Baylor’s Denzel Mims up to this point. That will change after Mobile. I’ve written about Mims and why I believe his skill set will translate immediately to the NFL, and I’m certain scouts will notice these same traits in practice. It’s a stacked receiver class at the top, but with a good performance in practice, Mims can slide into the second tier of wide receivers in the 2020 draft class.
Hakeem Adeniji, OT, Kansas, and Terence Steele, OT, Texas Tech
There are three offensive tackles going to the Senior Bowl from the Big 12: Hakeem Adeniji, Terence Steele, and Colton McKivitz. All three of these guys are projected to go anywhere on Day 3, but Adeniji and Steele are the two that I believe can improve upon their stock the most in Mobile based on the traits they both possess. Both tackles are highly developmental prospects but will check off a ton of boxes with their physical gifts. There will be questions about how they can hold up against the talented edge rushers in the Senior Bowl, but if they answer them, both can rise up into the Day 2 conversation.
Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Gallimore has been graded as high as a first-round prospect by many analysts, so why include him on this list? I believe that, at the end of the Senior Bowl, Gallimore will cement himself as a top-20 player in this class. His elite athletic traits, motor, and pass-rush ability from the interior will put teams on notice throughout the week, and Gallimore still has room to grow and improve on these abilities. The Big 12 has a bad rep with defensive prospects, but, after a good Senior Bowl week, I believe Gallimore can be the highest-drafted defensive player from the Big 12 since Kenny Vaccaro.
A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
Rounding out this list is another talented but overlooked Big 12 defensive player. A.J. Green has been a standout player for Oklahoma State ever since he took over at cornerback as a sophomore. He’s got the size, length, quickness, and ball skills to be a starting corner at the next level, but his name gets often overlooked due to the conference he plays in. A good showing in practice against a talented and diverse wide receiver group in Mobile and Green should see his stock begin to rise to its rightful position.
AJ Schulte is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him on Twitter @AJDraftScout.