Despite the Coronavirus pandemic that has basically eliminated all sports in the United States for the past month, and will continue to do so, the 2020 NFL Draft is locked and loaded to go for next week as scheduled.
As everyone probably knows at this point, the draft will be done entirely through virtual means this year. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be announcing all the picks from his home while all the teams and players will also be isolated in their places of residence and virtually communicate to each other throughout the entire process.
It is destined to have some hiccups and will be undoubtedly the most unusual draft we’ll ever see, but at least we get something to entertain us and there will surely be some peculiar picks along the way.
With the Coronavirus forcing us all to social distance, the amount of interaction players have had with teams is at an all-time low heading into the draft. Teams are going to be making picks based largely off tape and the NFL combine, with next to no private workouts having been held and not all pro days either. Needless to say, mock drafts have been a bit all over the place.
As for the Oklahoma Sooners, they have several guys expected to go next week. So here is a nice and comprehensive look at the range of where each of them is expected to land with their most likely suitors:
CeeDee Lamb -> Early to Mid-First Round
The first Sooner off the board next week is practically guaranteed to be Lamb, who was an absolute freak all three of his years in Norman.
Each year he amassed more yards and touchdowns, progressively getting bigger and stronger along the way.
Most mocks seem to put him right outside the top 10, usually in the 11-13 range of the New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers.
There was some thought originally that Lamb could be reunited with Kyler Murray in Arizona at #8, but once the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins that seemed to be a less logical move for them so early in the draft.
While seeing Lamb in the silver and black is probably the most exciting option, Derek Carr is probably the least reliable QB of the three potential pairings of him, Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are coming off a year where they went to the Super Bowl, so San Francisco is definitely Lamb’s best chance to win right away – but in my mind the Jets seem like the most likely spot.
Sam Darnold has shown flashes in his two seasons in East Rutherford, despite really lacking in legitimate weapons to stretch the field with.
If the Jets take Lamb, you now have a really exciting trio of Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, and Lamb. This seems to make sense for everyone involved, and if CeeDee is still there at 11 I would expect New York to snag him.
Kenneth Murray -> Mid to Late First Round
Kenneth Murray is the second Sooner who seems to be mostly considered as a first round-level of talent.
Murray was a fantastic player for Lincoln Riley in each of his three years, becoming certainly the defensive leader of the team by his junior season.
He is a perfect coin toss guy, as he would intimidate a rhinoceros. He is a freak of nature in just about every way, and his combination of size and speed is pretty rare.
Most mock drafts seem to have Murray landing in the back end of the first round, but there are some that think he could slip into Round 2.
I tend to think Murray is a first round guy, where he lands is hard to say for certain because there are a number of options that make sense but I am going to say he goes #19 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders.
This is probably the highest landing spot he could possibly have outside of maybe #17 to the Dallas Cowboys – which is definitely a possibility as well.
The Raiders have been needing a legit linebacker ever since they infamously dealt Khalil Mack to the Bears, and Murray could be that guy of the future to anchor their defense.
Outside of Dallas and Las Vegas, it seems like New Orleans at #24 and Green Bay at #30 are some of the other most likely first round spots for Murray, possibly Jacksonville as well at #20 if the Raiders pass up on him also.
Neville Gallimore -> Second Round
I mentioned earlier how this year’s mock drafts have been a bit all over the place due to the lack of one-on-one interaction the players have had with teams. Well, Neville Gallimore is a great example of that.
Depending on where you look, you could find Gallimore as high as the last few picks of the first round, or as far down as the third.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports is one who projects Gallimore to go in the first round – at #29 to the Tennessee Titans.
Gallimore is a good player, no doubt about it, but it would surprise me if he went that early. I would pencil Gallimore in somewhere in the middle of the second round.
The exact spot is tough to determine, but it seems like Kansas City at #63 overall would make some sense, or even going along Trapasso’s line of thinking with Tennessee – but in the second round at #61.
A little bit of a higher spot that might take chance on him could be the Atlanta Falcons at #47 – as that is a team that is basically always looking to add to the defense through their higher picks in the draft. If they like what they see in Gallimore, that could be a spot that makes some sense as well.
He could certainly go higher than these spots, but I tend to think in the middle to the end of the second round is where Neville is going to come off the board.
Jalen Hurts -> Second or Third Round
Jalen Hurts’ draft stock is a bit of an enigma – as really his entire collegiate career was.
On one hand, he managed to win in two different places with two very different styles in Alabama and Oklahoma while completely reinventing himself under Lincoln Riley in Norman.
He is a great runner, and has shown the ability to sling the football with very nice accuracy and strength at times.
On the other side of the coin, he has seemingly never been truly thought of as a legit NFL talent. Where he lands and the coaching he gets is going to be massive for Hurts’ development as an NFL QB.
Originally thought as a later round pick, Hurts has been slowly sliding up the board throughout the offseason – with some reports that he could potentially sneak into the first (!) round.
I like Hurts, and think in the right spot he could have a chance to be a starter in the NFL. But, if you are taking a guy in the first round he generally needs to be just about ready to start right away and I am not sure he is.
A spot I like for Hurts is honestly the Pittsburgh Steelers, either in the second round or maybe the third if he is still on the board.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need a QB for 2020 as they still have Ben Roethlisberger, but they do need to at least get a plan together for when he retires which could be any year now.
They thought that perhaps Mason Rudolph could be that guy, but he got plenty of time last year after Roethlisberger’s injury and I think it was made clear to everyone that he is not the future of that team.
Why not take a shot on Hurts? It seems to make sense for everyone involved, and for Jalen to possibly learn under Roethlisberger, a future Hall of Famer who has a somewhat similar skill set, could be really beneficial.
When the Steelers drafted Rudolph, Roethlisberger wasn’t too thrilled since he still felt like he had enough in the tank to win games. That may still be true, but he has to know he is in the 18th tee box at this point – and the Steelers need to think of the future after Ben.
After Pittsburgh, I honestly wouldn’t be suprised to see Bill Belichick and New England take a shot on Hurts either.
Obviously, Tom Brady is now gone and they need to figure out what the plan is going forward. Belichick is good friends with Alabama head coach Nick Saban – and Hurts is the exact type of mentality that Belichick loves.
Not too much flair, just a hard-worker who is going to do whatever it takes to win.
That pairing could make a lot of sense, and if there is anyone who can mold Hurts into an NFL quarterback – it is the greatest coach the game has ever seen.
I think that is going to be the extent of Oklahoma players drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there will be a number of guys who will be signed to teams in the hours immediately following the conclusion of the draft on April 25th.
The guy most people are going to wonder about is Parnell Motley, who had a very solid senior season but was inexplicably not invited to the scouting combine.
Motley still has a solid chance to sneak into the late rounds, but with the raw deal he has been handed with the lack of a combine invite or the ability to hold a private workout for teams, it seems going undrafted is certainly in play for him.
But, Motley still definitely has a chance to make it at the next level. He just has to find the right spot and seize his moment, similar to what Curtis Bolton did a year ago before an injury sidelined him for the year.
We will have full draft coverage next week with updates on every Oklahoma Sooner to come off the board right here on 107.7 The Franchise both on the air on the web.