Baylor leads all Texas schools with six 2022 NFL Draft picks
By the time the 2022 NFL draft concluded on Saturday, six Baylor Bears had heard their name called. That number:
- Was the most of any school in Texas;
- Tied for 7th-most nationally;
- Accounted for nearly 1/4 of the Big 12’s 25 total draftees; and
- Matched the program record (set in 2016) for most players selected in a seven-round NFL Draft.
It started early in the second round, when the Houston Texas selected safety Jalen Pitre with the 37th overall pick. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, and the “one who stayed” as the only original member of his signing class to honor his commitment to Baylor in 2017, will now stay close to home. (Pitre grew up just 20 minutes from NRG Stadium, the Texans’ home facility.) At No. 37, Pitre is Baylor’s highest selection since Corey Coleman in 2016.
Thirteen picks later, the New England Patriots traded up to select wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, giving the Bears two second-round picks. In the third round, the Los Angeles Chargers chose safety J.T. Woods with the 79th pick, and then the Buffalo Bills took linebacker Terrel Bernard ten picks later. Four players in the first three rounds for the Bears is rarified air; this was just the third time in program history that many Bears have gone that high.
And Baylor wasn’t done; two more players were selected on the third day of the draft. Running back Trestan Ebner, the reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, will remain a Bear in the NFL as he was drafted with the 10th pick of the sixth round by Chicago. In the seventh round, cornerback Kalon Barnes was chosen by the Carolina Panthers, where he’ll be reunited with Matt Rhule and many of his former assistant coaches early in his Baylor career.
After the draft, five more Bears earned an NFL opportunity. Running back Abram Smith, who set the school’s single-season rushing record last fall, was signed by the New Orleans Saints, while defensive back Jairon McVea (the multitalented walk-on who made perhaps the biggest tackle in Baylor football history to secure the Big 12 title) was signed by the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Cornerback Raleigh Texada was signed by the Green Bay Packers, wide receiver Drew Estrada by the Houston Texans, and offensive lineman Xavier Newman-Johnson by the Tennessee Titans.
We can’t wait to see a group that accomplished so much at Baylor shine at the next level.
Sic ’em, NFL-bound Bears!