TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: (L-R) Travis Lewis #28 and Frank Alexander #84 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrate after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sooners defeated the Hawkeyes 31-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
According to OU, seven former Sooners have received invites for this year's NFL Combine which will take place February 22-28th. The Oklahoma players who were invited are: DE Frank Alexander, CB Jamell Fleming, TE, James Hanna, LB Ronnell Lewis, LB Travis Lewis, OT Donald Stephenson, and WR Ryan Broyles.
Now obviously Broyles won't be able to participate in the physical drills as he's just recently started running again after tearing his ACL. However, the rest of the guys are all expected to attend barring injury as they all likely could use the opportunity to improve their draft stock. Also per OU, the Sooners received the most player invites with A&M and OSU receiving six, Texas/Baylor/Mizzou with four, Iowa State with two, Kansas with one, and both Tech and K-State receiving zero.
In terms of the OU guys, I'd say Ronnell Lewis and James Hanna could benefit the most from the combine. Lewis for his obvious physical freakishness and Hanna as well for his athleticism at the TE position. It's hard not to imagine the NFL scouts drooling for a guy Lewis' size who can move as well as he can. And with Hanna, you see guys like Jimmy Graham for the Saints and I don't think it's a stretch to say he and Hanna have a pretty similar skill set. Clearly he never really put it together during his time at OU, but with his physical skills I could definitely see Hanna helping himself. I can also see Fleming testing well. I think he'll do very well in the strength exercises, especially for a corner, and if he runs well in the forty (which again I'd expect) he could definitely move up some draft boards.
As far as guys who might hurt themselves, I hate to say it but the obvious candidates in my mind are Big Frank and T-Lew. I think Alexander is a better "athlete" than former Sooner Jeremy Beal, but I could see him having a similar type performance in this kind of setting and it hurting his draft stock. I really, really, really hope I'm wrong because after the year he had, gutting it out at the end with a dinged up shoulder, I'd really love to see Frank get paid.
Lewis, well, I just kind of think NFL guys will label him as too small to play linebacker and hold up against NFL run games. I don't necessarily expect him to test poorly, but if that toe is still bothering him, like it did all year, that could be a legitimate problem. Unlike some, I hold no ill will towards the guy so I'll be rooting for him to do well. I just feel like because of the size thing and him really not being that superstar these last two years, he needs to test incredibly well in Indy just to maintain his draft position. And that's a lot of pressure for anyone with their potential livelihood on the line.