In recent drafts, the Big 12 has primarily produced NFL-talent in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft. While not being top-heavy with elite talent, the talent of Big 12 prospects still provides plenty of value to NFL teams at the next level. Players such as Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown, Dede Westbrook, Poona Ford, Jakeem Grant, Allen Lazard, Charles Omenihu, and Bobby Evans were all selected in the 3rd round or later in recent drafts. They all have provided value to their team far beyond their draft selection. There is a depth of 2020 Big 12 draft prospects who will provide great value in later rounds to whichever NFL team calls their name.
Parnell Motley, CB, Oklahoma
I discussed adding value to a team and then start this list with an Oklahoma defensive back. Does this sound crazy? Surprisingly not.
Motley currently grades as a third-round pick for me, but his tape at the end of the season was worthy of a much higher grade. Motley has excellent length and playmaking ability at the corner spot and is coming off the best year of his career. The Sooner ranks fifth in Oklahoma history with 33 career pass breakups. He shined in the East-West Shrine game and shut down Senior Bowl standout Denzel Mims twice, as well as LSU’s Jamarr Chase.
With the prominence of other Sooner defensive players bringing exposure to the OU defense as well as the upcoming NFL Combine, Motley can put himself on the radar of teams before the draft. He only had one real year of development at the collegiate level, and he has all the tools to succeed with proper coaching at the next level. With the 2020 NFL Draft stacked at the top with corner talent, it’s very likely Motley is drafted late Day 2 or Day 3.
Bravvion Roy, NT, Baylor
Roy is one of two Baylor defensive linemen on this list. The Baylor defensive resurgence under now Carolina Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule and Carolina defensive coordinator Phil Snow was outstanding, and Roy was a huge part of that turnaround. He paved the way up front as the nose tackle with over 50 quarterback pressures. Roy also excelled in run defense with excellent power and pad level.
Roy shined at the East-West Shrine Game, and I expect him to destroy the NFL Combine. His DL coach, Frank Okam, has almost guaranteed Roy will run a sub-5.0 in the 40-yard dash. He doesn’t have a ton of buzz right now despite all of this, but he’ll likely get the same “too short” treatment that Poona Ford got (Roy measured at 6’1). Of all the guys on this list, Roy has the upside to be one of the best 2020 Big 12 draft prospects.
Terence Steele, OT, Texas Tech
Steele isn’t as “under-the-radar” as the others on this list, as he got an invite to the Senior Bowl. But even after the event in Mobile, it seems like his draft stock didn’t move at all, which I disagree with. Steele isn’t perfect, but he’s the ideal developmental offensive tackle, which NFL teams value.
He’s got the size and measurables that NFL teams look for, measuring in with 35 and 7/8″ arms at the Senior Bowl. Steele is a great athlete who will more than likely test well at the upcoming NFL Combine, and he played at both offensive tackle spots. He had an up-and-down Senior Bowl week but showed enough to get teams interested in him. With proper development of his tools, Steele could be a big-time heist at his draft position.
James Lynch, DE, Baylor
Lynch might be the most underrated player 2020 Big 12 draft prospect, and even in the 2020 NFL Draft in general, despite being the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He’s coming off of a 13.5 sack season with over 60 QB pressures as a 3-4 DE.
Lynch isn’t the most explosive or bendy athlete, which limits his position to an inside rusher at the next level, but he’s got a quick first step and has developed a wide array of different pass-rushing moves. He’s more power than finesse, but Lynch is disruptive and productive. He won’t go very high, but give me a guy of his pedigree and talent in round 3 or later.
Cordel Iwuagwu, G, TCU
Iwuagwu is a name that I’ve not heard come up often, and I think part of it is the downturn of TCU’s offense this season. However, when people start to view Jalen Reagor, Lucas Niang, and RBs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua, they’ll notice Iwuagwu stand out. On tape, the guard is often opening up rushing lanes, particularly in the Ohio State game in 2018.
Iwuagwu was noticed enough to be invited to the East-West Shrine Game and was a stand-out performer there. Pro Football Network’s own Tony Pauline even said Iwuagwu was the only lineman who could block the aforementioned Bravvion Roy all week long. Iwuagwu has started for multiple seasons and is a team captain, and that experience shows in his refined technique. I think he can slide in at either guard spot, only adding to his value.
AJ Schulte is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him on Twitter @AJDraftScout.