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Big 12 had an embarrassing NFL draft, and it's not surprising at all

Despite having way fewer resources and less prestige, the American had more players picked than the Big 12.

Rice v Texas Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Big 12 is one of college football’s power conferences. In the 2017 NFL draft, it had fewer players picked than the American Athletic Conference.

Here’s the full count by Power 5 conference, with one interjection:

1. SEC, 53 picks
2. ACC, 43
3. Pac-12, 36
4. Big Ten, 35
5. AAC, 15
6. Big 12, 14

A running counter by every FBS conference, plus independents, FCS, and Division II programs, is right here.

That the Big 12 struggled to produce draft picks is not surprising.

The league doesn’t recruit as well as the other power conferences and hasn’t for years. It has one elite program these days, Oklahoma, with Oklahoma State a tier below that and Texas still trying to find itself. D’Onta Foreman was the only Texas player picked, which really hurts the league’s numbers. The Horns are making progress, at least.

It’s also a small conference with just 10 teams, and the league passed on expanding last year. The Big 12 got 1.4 picks per team, compared to 1.25 for AAC teams.

Some of the schools the Big 12 was reportedly considering most seriously — Houston, Cincinnati, and UConn — are in the league that’s now produced more 2017 picks. That isn’t a good look for the league’s administration, even if it’s just a PR hit.

The Big 12’s small membership and comparatively poor recruiting are both ingredients that make it harder to churn out professionals. The Big 12 is worse-positioned than each of the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 to get players picked.

The Big 12: college football’s fifth-best conference, but sixth in the 2017 draft.