It is rare for a team that won 11 games in a major conference to see only two of its players selected in the upcoming NFL Draft. Yet after a historic year in K-State football, Arthur Brown and Chris Harper appear to be the only members of the squad who are likely to be drafted. This does not mean, however, that they will be the only players who make an NFL roster come next fall.
Both players have a similar history. Both are Wichita natives who were highly touted coming out of high school. One went to the East Coast and one went to the West, and both ended up at K-State. Both made big plays when their team needed it, and both got the chance to play against their original school of choice.
For both of these players, numbers and accolades do not tell the complete story of what each individual did during their time as a K-State Wildcat.
Arthur Brown Jr. was the general of the defense. His speed, strength and knowledge of the game made him a nightmare for offenses. Going into the offseason, he was unable to participate at the NFL Combine because of a shoulder injury. This appeared to hurt Brown’s draft stock until he impressed scouts in K-State’s pro day, reminding them of exactly how dominating a player he can be.
Brown is projected to go anywhere between the middle of the first two rounds. If Brown were selected in the first round, he would become just the third K-Stater to be drafted in the first round in the last 10 years.
Chris Harper was at a bit of a disadvantage during his time at K-State. In the Wildcats’ running style of offense, Harper was frequently asked to serve as a blocker and make big catches in crucial situations. He mastered everything he was asked to do. Harper could have easily been a 1,000-yard and 10-touchdown receiver in a pass-happy offense, but that was not what K-State had.
With a draft that is loaded with wide receiver talent, Harper is projected as a mid-round draft pick. Whichever team snags Harper in the third or fourth round will be getting an absolute steal. Harper is the total package and could be playing in the NFL for a long time, much like Brown.
After Brown and Harper, the question is whether any other Wildcats could be drafted, mainly former K-State quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein.
What Klein still has going for him is his frame of work and NFL body. Klein proved time and time again that he was a big-time player and had the heart that few in college football could match. Scouts still question Klein’s mechanics and ability to adapt to the NFL-style of playing quarterback. Even if Klein does not get drafted, he will still likely get looks by NFL teams with the read-option becoming more popular in the NFL.
Braden Wilson is another player who is on the border of a draft pick and free agent signee. The only knock against Wilson is that the fullback position is becoming extinct. Five years ago, there would’ve been no question that Wilson would be drafted, but now teams know that they can get a good fullback like Wilson without having to use a draft pick.
Other members of the 2012 senior class who could make NFL rosters are Meshak Williams, Nigel Malone, Jarard Milo and Justin Tuggle. However, there is no question that any one of the senior starters from 2012 are capable of impressing NFL teams.