The Big 12 Conference produced 14 NFL draft picks in 2017, which is the lowest output for the league since it was formed in 1996 and 21 fewer selections than any other Power Five conference.
That number was a topic of conversation during annual spring meetings in Phoenix, and the focus of a story by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg published Monday. As you might expect, Big 12 coaches downplayed the impact of producing so few draft picks.
“It’s not our job to be a farm league,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “It’s like I tell kids in recruiting. It doesn’t matter if you play at a 1A high school or a 6A high school. If you’re good enough to play at Texas, we’ll find you. The same thing goes true for college. If you’re good enough to play in the NFL, they’re going find you. … It’s irrelevant what conference you played in. It’s irrelevant what school you went to. It’s, did God bless you with enough talent?”
While Herman has a point — the NFL cares about 40-yard dash times, not logos on a helmet — you’d better believe he would be singing a different tune if the numbers were in his favor. Instead, he inherited a program that had just one player drafted for the second-straight year.
Since arriving at Texas, Herman has touted his staff’s history of producing NFL talent. Check out this tweet from last week pointing to NFL players coached by Longhorns cornerbacks coach Jason Washington.
And this one, which claims 166 NFL players produced by the current Texas coaching staff.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) April 20, 2017
So while Herman may not see his programs as NFL “farm systems,” he certainly sees the value of sending players on to the next level and will expect to do so while he is at Texas. If things go according to plan, the 2018 NFL Draft may just give him something to brag instead of defend.
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