NCAA Football

2018 NFL Combine: The Oklahoma Wave

2018 NFL Combine: The Oklahoma Wave

The 2018 NFL combine is currently underway, with events taking place from February 27 to March 5. While most of the talk has been about Baker Mayfield, we must not forgot about the other 10 Oklahoman’s in the combine. The list includes Orlando Brown, Mason Rudolph, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Demitiri Flowers, Tre Flowers, Mark Andrews, Jordan Thomas, Marcell Ateman, Chris Lacy, and James Washington. The mock drafts alter day-by-day, shifting these players from high to low and back high. The combine will be the ultimate evaluation of these athletes and will be the biggest contender on where they will land.

Baker Mayfield (QB, University of Oklahoma)

Baker Mayfield was the biggest talk in college football and continues to be the focus of attention as we get closer and closer to the draft. Depending on which mock draft viewed, Mayfield is projected to go as early as No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, while others have the QB landing in Buffalo, Denver, or most recently, Los Angeles with the Rams.

Strengths: Mayfield has the power and accuracy in his throwing capability, while also being able to find a receiver on the move. Mayfield may not be the fastest QB in the combine, but his agility allows him to get out of the pocket when needed, as well as extend the play. In addition, Mayfield’s toughness allows him to take a hit and maintain his balance.

Weaknesses: Although it does seem he has changed since his last incident in Kansas, Mayfield character has been scrutinized by the media and a few NFL teams. Mayfield has also been noted as undersized, standing at 6-foot-1. Lastly, Mayfield can hold onto the ball too long at times, resulting in a loss of yards.

Mason Rudolph (QB, Oklahoma State University)

Mason Rudolph was one of the most accurate QB’s in the NCAA last year, completing 65% of his passes. Despite flying under the radar in the talk of QB’s, Rudolph believes he belongs “right at the top” with the rest of them in this draft. The latest on Rudolph has the Denver Bronco’s making a trade in the draft to acquire him.

Strengths: Mason Rudolph stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 lbs, making his the prime size for a QB in the NFL. Rudolph’s accuracy and arm strength are another positive, along with smart decision making in the pocket. Rudolph has also displayed a comfort in dropping back in the pocket, including in times of pressure.

Weaknesses: Rudolph’s weaknesses mainly occur on the mental side of the game, lacking the capability to read the defense pre-snap and during the play. Rudolph will have to adjust to the NFL style offense having come from a spread offense at Oklahoma State. Rudolph also displays weakness taking snaps from underneath after taking most of his snaps in college from the gun.

Dimitri Flowers (FB, University of Oklahoma)

Dimitri Flowers was a key piece in Oklahoma’s offense last season, mainly due to his versatility to run the ball, as well as catch the ball when needed. As to where Flower’s is going to land in the draft is unknown, but many believe he will be picked up in the first round.

Strengths: Flowers catching ability is what makes him an ultimate asset. He is capable of playing the H-back as well. Flower’s blocking capability is another asset to his game, allowing the QB time of the RB room. Flower’s blocking ability also makes him a threat on wheel routes, with defenses having no choice but to respect his blocking power.

Weaknesses: Flower’s weaknesses fall in his running style and decision making. While he is quick and strong, Flowers doesn’t have the sharpest cuts while running, resulting in wider angles. In addition to his running, he at times looks unsure of where the block is to be made.

James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State University) 

James Washington was one of the most important players in Oklahoma State’s offense last year. Washington leads all other wide receiver’s in the draft in deep receiving yards with a total of 815 yards. Washington is projected to go in the second round of the draft.

Strengths: Washington’s speed is his key asset, capable of beating cornerbacks straight off the line. Washington’s height and jumping make him that much harder to defend as well. Washington also displays the capability to adjust his speed to the ball and is a clean route runner in the deep pass.

Weaknesses: While his speed and size is an advantage, Washington is not the greatest route runner on the inside. He needs to improve his footwork with the short ball, as well as being able to shake the defender in passes shorter the 20-yards. Washington never ran complex passing routes in college, as he will need to acquire this skill going into the NFL.

Orlando Brown (OT, University of Oklahoma)

Orlando Brown was a big factor in Baker Mayfield’s Heisman season last year, consistently protecting the QB to finish the play. Brown finished his last season at OU as first-team AP All-American and All Big-12. Brown is projected to go in the first round in the draft, being one of the earliest offensive linemen’s to be drafted.

Strengths: Brown’s size alone makes him a huge threat, making it that much harder for defenders to get around him. Brown displays heavy hands in pass protection and quick footwork, allowing space on the outside for the RB. In addition, Brown’s father, Orlando “Zeus ” Brown, played in the NFL for 13 years.

Weaknesses: Brown will need to improve his lateral movement off the snap going into the league. He will need to shoot his punch with more quickness off the line and be careful on his mauling, as it may result in holding penalties in the NFL.

Tre Flowers (S, Oklahoma State University)

Tre Flowers finished his career at Oklahoma State at the top, holding the most tackles on the team for the final season with 79 total. Flowers also had two interceptions on the season and finished with first-team All Conference honors. Flowers is projected to go in round 5 or 6 of the draft.

Strengths: Flowers comes from an athletic family and displays constant football IQ on the field. Flowers long arms allow his to challenge passes others can’t, as well as increases his tackle radius. Flower’s speed and ability to close early on passes would make a great addition to any team.

Weaknesses: Flower’s play strength is a concern, as some say he looks more like a basketball player then football player. While he is quick, Flower’s hips are tight and movement in space is fragmented. Flower’s also has too many missed tackles in his background that he will need to improve upon.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE, University of Oklahoma)

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, also known as Obo, was Oklahoma’s biggest defensive threat this past season, recording 76 tackles along with eight sacks. Okoronkwo shared Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year with Malik Jefferson from Texas in his last season. Okoronkwo is projected to go in round 4 or 5.

Strengths: Okoronkwo not only displays the NFL strength, but he is displays the speed of the ball as well. Okoronkwo attacks the pocket with natural instinct, displaying hesitation moves along with changing pace in order to get to the QB.

Weaknesses: Okoronkwo’s length is criticized for an OLB in the NFL despite his strength. He needs to improve his technique and consistency setting edge. Okoronkwo lacks ability in coverage and gets lost at times. He will also need to improve his skills with his hands, rather than just being a wrecking machine.

Marcell Ateman (WR, Oklahoma State University)

Marcell Ateman was another one of Oklahoma State’s offensive weapons this last year. Ateman earned second-team All Big 12 honors in his final season, where he accounted for 59 passes for 1,156 yards and eight touchdowns. Ateman is project to go in round 4 or 5.

Strengths: Ateman has great size for a WR in the NFL, with a height of 6-foot-4. Ateman has the ability to run the entire route tree along with the natural hands needed for the catch. He catches the ball with full arm extension and is a great toe-tapper when nearing the sideline.

Weaknesses: Ateman’s route speed will need improvement, along with his ability to get free from the corners. While his speed is great in motion, Ateman will need to be more explosive off the line. Ateman is also limited to primarily deep outs and go routes.

Mark Andrews (TE, University of Oklahoma)

Mark Andrews finished his college career at the top TE in the NCAA in his final season. Andrews was Baker Mayfields top target this past season, piling up 62 receptions for 958 yards and eight touchdowns. In addition, Andrews won the John Mackey Award in his last season. Andrews is projected to go in round 3 or 4.

Strengths: Andrews size and football IQ are his biggest strengths. While he is not the quickest, Andrews is great at finding ways to become uncovered. He is able to handle complex routes and is the go-to man in the red-zone, averaging eight years per catch during his college career.

Weaknesses: Andrews speed is the down-fall for him, allowing the separation window to close quickly on him. He is a poor blocker with little hand usage and angles in that area. Despite his size, Andrews is unreliable in the run game as well.

Chris Lacy (WR, Oklahoma State University)

Despite not getting as much attention as Marcell Ateman or James Washington, Chris Lacy’s determination is what landed him a spot at the NFL Draft. Lacy only started three out of 12 games in his last season, catching 20 passes for 264 yards. Lacy is projected to end up a free agent through the draft.

Strengths: Lacy displays great size for an outside receiver. He has great speed and leaps for inaccurate catches, as well as working around the defender. In addition, he has a wide catch radius.

Weaknesses: Lacy was injured for a lot of his college career, making that a concern to the NFL teams. His route tree was basic in college and he often gives routes away. In addition, Lacy lacks the strong hands needed for the NFL.

Jordan Thomas (CB, University of Oklahoma)

Jordan Thomas finished his final season at OU with 27 tackles and one interception. Thomas faced some disciplinary actions while in college, which has caused minor skepticism for NFL teams. Thomas is projected to be drafted in round 6 or 7.

Strengths: Thomas’s ball skills are impressive, as he uses every inch of his arm length when challenging catches. Thomas has great hand-eye coordination and is efficient at reading receivers eyes and leaping to break-up the pass. He is able to recognize routes and is quick on his feet.

Weaknesses: Thomas has struggled physically throughout his career, battling various injuries. He displays average recovery speed and is known by some scouts as an “over-thinker” with low confidence. He is has struggled to stay with the deep ball and been inconsistent tackler.

The NFL draft will take place from April 26 to April 28. The NFL Network will air the draft

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