The anticipation of the NFL Draft has crescendoed to this day.
Many former Sooners await their names to be selected while the teams are on the clock. Here is a list of Sooners prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft:
LB Jordan Evans
RB Joe Mixon
RB Samaje Perine
S Ahmad Thomas
DT Charles Walker
WR Dede Westbrook
There are many questions that have come about the last couple months leading to tonight’s draft. The biggest questions of them all have been concerning Joe Mixon.
Which round will he be selected? First round? Second round? Late rounds? What team is willing to take on the public relations nightmare with Mixon’s past issues? Your guess is probably as good as any other NFL Draft insider.
All the NFL Draft insiders do agree on one thing. Mixon is a first round talent. A great running back with top-end speed running a 4.45 with tremendous athleticism and receiving ability. Mixon has a history of making game-changing plays. A good number of teams have hosted Mixon for pre-draft visits. The Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Chargers, Packers and Raiders among other teams who have reportedly hosted him.
Projection: Day 2, second round
Evans did a solid on his draft stock with a great results from OU Pro Day. He ran a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash, which would’ve been No. 1 out of all the linebackers in the NFL Combine. Evans has good experience as a three-year starter at inside linebacker for OU and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior. Whichever team drafts Evans will mostly use him as an outside linebacker for their pass rush. Evans should work his way up in the NFL as an eventual starter.
Projection: Day 3, fifth round
Perine has certainly been a fan favorite in Norman the past couple years. We all know his historic mark of breaking the NCAA record rushing yards in a single game with 427 against Kansas back in 2014. His short, strong stature makes it tough for teams to bring him down at 5’10, 233lbs, and a bench press of 30 reps, which is the top performance among NFL Combine running backs. Perine doesn’t have the best speed with a 4.65 40 yard dash at the Combine but is a great asset to get those tough yards in short yardage, goal line situations.
Projection: Day 2, third round
Thomas has been a reliable part of the Sooners secondary during his tenure. The Sooner safety racked up 223 tackles with 7 pass breakups and 4 interceptions while at OU. Most NFL Draft insiders have him anywhere from the 30th to 38th best safety in the Draft. Thomas doesn’t have the best height at 6’0 but does show athleticism with good awareness of the field. Ahmad is on the edge by NFL Draft experts of being drafted. If not drafted, some team should reach out to him in free agency.
Walker had a controversial ending to his career in Norman. The Sooner defensive tackle only played the first four games of last season and was shut down the rest of the season after an undisclosed injury concern. Walker declared for the NFL Draft in November while receiving some criticism from Coach Bob Stoops. A few days ago, Walker came out about his lifelong battle with depression. He battled concussions last season though some of the symptoms have now been diagnosed as actually coming from his depression. Walker has great physical and athletic talent for his size at 6’2, 310lbs with a 4.96 40 yard dash and 25 reps on the bench press. NFL teams certainly have to do their homework on Walker’s mental situation, but he does possess the tools to become a starting defensive tackle in the league. Walker is projected as the 20th-30th best defensive tackle on the board.
Projection: Day 3, fourth round
The Biletnikoff Award winner last season, Westbrook was a crucial part of the Sooners offensive success. Dede was an absolute playmaker with blazing speed and game breaking ability setting the OU record of 17 receiving touchdowns in a season. Westbrook has great straight line speed running a 4.34 40 yard dash on his pro day, which is the third fastest if ran in the NFL Combine. His body strength isn’t the greatest, but he has good quickness and acceleration to create separation from defenders. Westbrook will fit well as a slot receiver with his 6’0, 180lb frame. Westbrook is projected as a top 10 wide receiver in the draft.
Projection: Day 2, third round
Be sure to catch where all the Sooners will be selected in the 2017 NFL Draft starting with the first round tonight at 7:00pm, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday at 6:00pm, and finishing with the fourth through seventh rounds on Saturday at 11:00am. Coverage will be on ESPN and the NFL Network.