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Eagles 2023 NFL Draft prospects: Big 12 players to monitor

A number of potential late-round steals are coming out of the Big 12, including the spiritual successor to Darren Sproles.

Kansas v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

I watch what many might consider an “unhealthy” amount of college football. When you combine that with all of the time I spend consuming college football content via other media you can see why my children already know that they won’t get to watch Bluey on Saturdays ever. I was hoping to turn this “problem” into something useful for Eagles fans, so I started compiling a list of players, one from every Power 5 team plus some Group of 5 and FCS prospects too, that I think the Birds should at least kick the tires on come draft weekend. (where available, measurements are from the NFL Combine)

PREVIOUSLY: B1G prospects | SEC prospects | ACC prospects

Here is the next conference of prospects to take a look at, the Big 12!

Baylor: DL Siaki Ika, 6-foot-3, 335 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 24 tackles (2 TFL), 2 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, AP, Phil Steele); 3rd Team All-American (Phil Steele)
  • The first thing you’ll notice about Ika is his size. He is a massive interior defensive lineman who could serve as insurance if Jordan Davis gets injured again in the middle of Philadelphia’s defense. While watching his highlights it’s striking how athletic he is for a person of his size. He isn’t a pass-rushing force or anything, but he can help collapse the pocket and get after the QB on occasion. It is good to see his weight down 23 pounds from what the Baylor website lists him at, because playing at 350+ is not really sustainable. He might be considered a “luxury pick” by some, but having depth across the defensive line is never a bad thing and players like Ika don’t come around every season.

Iowa State: EDGE Will McDonald IV, 6-foot-4, 239 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 36 tackles (7.5 TFL), 5 sacks, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-Big 12 (coaches); 2nd Team All-Big 12 (Phil Steele, AP)
Northern Iowa v Iowa State
Will McDonald LOVES getting after the quarterback.
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
  • I suppose McDonald’s senior season was technically a “down year” for him, but he was still productive and was also at the top of opposing team scouting reports all year. In 2021 he was an All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year after racking up 11.5 sacks and 5 force fumbles. His 34 career sacks is tied for the Big 12 record and he is ISU’s all-time sack leader. McDonald, who is from Wisconsin so I have a long time watching him from my time covering Badgers football recruiting, is an ideal prospect for an EDGE rusher. He’s athletic, he’s tough, and he’s relentless. If he is able to add a little more strength/weight without sacrificing his mobility, I think he could be a potential Pro Bowl player with the Eagles.

Kansas: OT Earl Bostick Jr. , 6-foot-6, 309 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 36 career starts (59 career games played); caught a 2-point conversion pass in 2021!
  • 2022 honors: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (coaches); 2nd Team Academic All-American
  • Bostick came to KU as a tight end, which is why he was probably able to catch that 2-point conversion, but was moved to OT after his freshman season. He played on both the right and left sides of the line, but was mostly a LT for the Jayhawks. He’ll need to show teams that he’s stronger than he looked last season, but he has a ton of tools that will cause teams to take a chance on him as a developmental swing tackle piece.

Kansas State: RB Deuce Vaughn, 5-foot-5, 179 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 293 carries, 1,558 yards (5.3 ypc), 9 touchdowns, long of 88 yards; 42 receptions, 378 yards (9.0 ypc), 3 touchdowns, long of 80 yards
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-American [all-purpose] (AP, AFCA, Sporting News, The Athletic); 1st Team All-Big 12 [all-purpose] (AP); 2nd Team All-Big 12 [running back] (coaches, AP); Consensus All-American in 2021 and 2022
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
  • Vaughn, who is the shortest player they’ve ever measured at the NFL Combine, left Kansas State with a slew of honors and records in tow. Dumb teams will fixate on how short he is, but he produced year after year in the Big 12 and a smart team will be able to use him as a change-of-pace guy in a running back rotation. He was never hurt, he can catch the ball well out of the backfield, and he’s tough to knock over due to his low center of gravity. He obviously isn’t a feature back in the NFL, but he will make plays for whichever team drafts him.

Oklahoma: OL Chris Murray, 6-foot-2, 308 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 49 career starts (54 career games)
  • 2022 honors: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
  • Played a few games at center during his freshman season at UCLA, but almost all of his experience comes as a right guard. Murray is a player the Eagles can most likely get as an UDFA, but if they think they can turn him into a useful lineman then using a 7th round pick on him is smart. He is a versatile, cheap option that played for two teams (UCLA and Oklahoma) that produce NFL talent and some team might see untapped potential there.

Oklahoma State: DB/S Jason Taylor II, 6-foot-0, 204 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 99 tackles (3.5 TFL), 6 interceptions, 13 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-Big 12
  • Taylor’s father, Jason Taylor, played defensive line in college…but isn’t the Jason Taylor you’re thinking of. Trust me, I checked. Oklahoma State played Wisconsin in their bowl game in December and as one of the perverts who watched the entire thing, let me tell you what…Taylor was all over the field! While he didn’t have a pick, something he did have in his previous three games, he racked up 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He tested well athletically at the Combine and he has the size to step into the box and be a plus in the run game. As with a decent amount of these guys I think that he has the ability to make the team as a special teamer who could play his way onto the two-deep at safety.

TCU: CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, 5-foot-8, 178 pounds (2nd/3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 50 tackles (2 TFL), 3 interceptions, 18 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
  • 2022 honors: Jim Thorpe Award winner (best DB in nation); 1st Team All-American (AP, Sporting News, ESPN, Phil Steele); 2nd Team All-American (FWAA, AFCA); 1st Team All-Big 12 (coaches, AP)
  • Not the son of TCU legend LaDainian Tomlinson, but he is his nephew. Hodges-Tomlinson had an excellent senior season after coming into the year with extremely high expectations. If you watched any of the CFP games, you probably saw Hodges-Tomlinson matching up with some of the best wideouts in the country and holding his own. Despite his small stature, Hodges-Tomlinson is solid in run defense and, if anything, is TOO aggressive sometimes in battling with receivers. He would be a great addition to Philadelphia’s defensive backfield and could be a starting nickelback somewhere by the end of his rookie season.
Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Michigan v TCU Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Texas: DL Keondre Coburn, 6-foot-2, 332 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 28 tackles (3 TFL), 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
  • 2022 honors: 2nd Team All-Big 12
  • Coburn is another potential option for a backup defensive lineman that can stop the run and cause other issues along the interior of the line. Much like Baylor’s Siaki Ika above, Coburn has lost some weight (12 pounds) between the end of his college career and the NFL Combine which is good for his agility and his ability to stay on the field for longer. Coburn might be gone before the final round of the NFL Draft, but if he’s still around I think the Eagles could get value by selecting him.

Texas Tech: EDGE Tyree Wilson, 6-foot-6, 271 pounds (early 1st round)

  • 2022 stats: 61 tackles (14 TFL), 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-American (FWAA, USA Today, The Athletic, Phil Steele); 2nd Team All-American (AFCA, AP); Honorable Mention All-American (PFF); 1st Team All-Big 12 (coaches, AP, Phil Steele)
  • Wilson missed the final three games of the season with a foot injury but still had impressive statistics during his final season in Lubbock. Wilson only performed the bench press at the Combine, but he is an athletic freak who will only need a little pro-level coaching to turn into an All-Pro caliber player. He has great size and is disruptive when rushing the passer and when chasing down running backs from the backside. If the Birds want to go defense with their first pick, Wilson would be a great selection to fill Brandon Graham’s spot on the roster.

West Virginia: WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, 6-foot-4, 221 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 62 receptions, 675 yards (10.9 ypc), 7 touchdowns
  • 2022 honors: 2nd Team All-Big 12 (coaches, Phil Steele)
  • Ford-Wheaton had an outstanding Combine showing that has moved him from the 7th round/UDFA fringe, squarely into the “gonna get drafted” camp. His size is obviously appealing as he can win jump balls and has a large catch radius as a target in the red zone. He isn’t an explosive downfield threat, but there is a place on every roster for a player like Ford-Wheaton and if he interviews as well as he tested, some team will take a chance on him in the 6th/7th round.

Others: WR Xavier Hutchinson (6-foot-2, 203 pounds, Iowa State); EDGE Lonnie Phelps (6-foot-2, 244 pounds, Kansas); DT Moro Ojomo (6-foot-3, 292 pounds, Texas); OT Wanya Morris (6-foot-5, 307 pounds, Oklahoma)

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