Iowa State vs. Oklahoma: Top NFL Prospects to Watch in Big 12 Battle

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 16, 2013

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 8:   Aaron Colvin #15 of the Oklahoma Sooners  celebrates after a big play against the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 55 to 17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Iowa State Cyclones and Oklahoma Sooners will be playing in a Big 12 matchup, and the game will give us a good look at some interesting NFL prospects.

As for the game itself, it's likely not going to be a competitive one.  The Sooners are 7-2 and coming off a tough loss against Baylor, but they're still the No. 18 team in the latest BCS rankings.  Meanwhile, the Cyclones are just 1-8 this season, with their one win coming against Tulsa.  They've lost six straight games, and the team is not looking good at all.

While the game is likely going to be a blowout, there will still be some great pro prospects to watch, as we will likely hear their names called in May at the NFL draft.  With that being said, let's break down some of these prospects and look at which round they could be selected in.


Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma

With names like Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Marqise Lee, the incoming class of wide receivers is going to be a very deep one.  One of the names that's gone a bit overlooked in the process has been Jalen Saunders.

Saunders was a former receiver at Fresno State, scoring 15 touchdowns and putting up over 1,500 receiving yards during his first two seasons.  However, he decided to transfer to Oklahoma, and after being declared eligible after four games of the 2012 season, he came in and was instantly productive, recording 62 receptions for 829 yards and three touchdowns.

This season, Saunders has continued to be a great slot receiver.  He has 41 receptions for 505 yards and five touchdowns, including the 153 yards and two scores he recently put up against Texas Tech.

At 5'9'' and around 160 pounds, Saunders certainly isn't the biggest player.  However, his size isn't too big of a concern for a slot receiver, and his explosiveness certainly makes up for it.  He does a great job of adjusting to the ball when needed and has some terrific acceleration to fly past defenders.

With all of the other receivers out there, Saunders isn't going to be drafted very high in the draft.  However, with his set of skills, some team with a need for a slot receiver will be getting some terrific value out of Saunders in the third or fourth round.


Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State

AMES, IA- OCTOBER 13:  Running back John Hubert #33 of the Kansas State Wildcats is brought down during the second quarter by linebacker Jeremiah George #52 of the Iowa State Cyclones on October 13, 2012 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.  Kansas State
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

While the Cyclones don't have the best team right now, they do have an incredibly productive inside linebacker in Jeremiah George.

Last season was the first that George started, and he played directly next to A.J. Klein, who was taken in the fifth round by the Carolina Panthers this past draft.  He was quite productive, starting in nine games and grabbing 87 total tackles with four for loss.

Now, George has become an even more productive player.  He's recorded 102 total tackles with 3.5 sacks and two interceptions to start the year.  

As an inside linebacker, George does a good job of finding the ball-carrier and quickly getting to him thanks to his solid speed.  He does a good job of covering a lot of ground on the field and isn't afraid to get into some dicey situations to make a tackle.  

What really hurts George's draft stock is his height, as he's only 5'11''.  However, his mentality and aggressiveness are tough to ignore, and some team in the sixth or seventh round would be smart to give him a chance at the next level.


Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma

Without a doubt, the top NFL prospect to watch in this one is cornerback Aaron Colvin.

Although he originally played as a safety during his sophomore season, the Sooners decided to move Colvin to corner last year.  It appears to have been the right decision, as Colvin earned First Team All-Conference in the Big 12 with 52 tackles and four interceptions.  He had the opportunity to forgo his senior year and head to the NFL, but he decided to stay.

This season, Colvin hasn't been as productive, but that's because opposing quarterbacks haven't thrown at him as frequently as they did in 2012.

As a pro prospect, Colvin is a physical corner who loves to stop the run.  He loves to use his physicality near the line to press opposing receivers and he uses this aggressive mentality well.  However, he's not an ideal corner for NFL teams looking for a speedster, as he lacks top-tier speed and quickness.  Sometimes his physicality hurts his team with pass interference calls, but overall it is still certainly an asset.

While his stock has taken a bit of a hit this season, Colvin is still one of the better cornerbacks who will be eligible for the draft next year.  If he ends this season on a positive note, there's no reason that he can't be an early second-round pick.