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Oklahoma Sooners Football: What to watch for at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine

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Baker Mayfield, Orlando Brown, Mark Andrews, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Jordan Thomas will be in Indianapolis for the combine.

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

WHAT BAKER SAYS

By now NFL scouts know what we know: Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield is the best signal caller in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’ll get plenty of opportunities to show off his arm strength, his agility and his ability to do the dougie while in Indianapolis from March 2 to March 5 at the NFL Combine. But Mayfield’s athleticism or his height—Seriously, we’re still talking about how tall the most efficient quarterback in college football history is?—isn’t going to be the trait that piques the interest of personnel around the league.

It’s going to be what he says during interviews.

Mayfield is going to have to show teams he’s the kind of quarterback and person we all know him to be. He’ll probably have to explain away planting the OU flag at Ohio State and grabbing his crotch in Lawrence. But he’ll also have to show he can be the face of a franchise—not unlike his being the face of Sooners football for the last two years.

CAN ZEUS SUMMON THE LIGHTNING?

Unanimous All-American offensive tackle Orlando Brown is on a short list of players who could’ve skipped the NFL Combine without hurting his draft stock. But he’s going to compete anyway. While that should speak to Brown’s competitive nature, he’s going to be the target of many in the draft who believe he doesn’t have the technique to go along with the strength he frequently displayed over the last two seasons at Oklahoma.

At 6-foot-8-, 345 pounds, he’s already physically what the NFL is looking for in an anchor at left tackle for years to come. But with his NFL pedigree—his father was 13-year veteran in the league—to go along with being a two-time offensive lineman of the year in the Big 12, all Brown needs to do is let his ability take over.

OGBO NEEDS TO SHOW STRENGTH

We all know Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was an absolute monster on a Sooners defense that had hard time not getting 30 dropped on it routinely. Despite OU giving up big numbers to offenses, Okoronkwo still managed to turn in a season that saw him named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American. Unlike Mayfield however, his height and weight will come under righteous scrutiny. At 6-foot-1, 243 pounds he’s shorter than many NFL teams would like their outside linebackers—let alone defensive ends.

Okoronkwo is going to have to show his strength during the bench press on Saturday, and he’ll need to turn some heads during the skill drills for linebackers and defensive linemen on Sunday. He’s certainly capable. But he needs to remove doubt that he has the strength and speed to warrant a pick in the first two rounds when the draft comes in April.

JORDAN THOMAS NEEDS TO WIN THE UNDERWEAR OLYMPICS

Cornerback Jordan Thomas was one of the 50 best recruits in Texas when he signed with Oklahoma — and he looked to be every bit the shutdown corner he was advertised to be in 2014 and 2015. But by 2016 he’d made trouble for himself by being arrested and suspended. Then he seemed to become a shell of himself in 2017 before being all but nonexistent on the field by the second half of the season.

At 6-feet, 186 pounds, no one doubts Thomas has the athleticism to play in the NFL. His ball skills are there. His consistency is not. He’ll need to lay down quite the weekend and then do well at Pro Day to jump into a decent position.

MARK ANDREWS NEEDS TO BE ON HIS DR. DRE

All this talk about the top players attending the NFL Combine, and nary a word about tight end Mark Andrews perhaps being the best prospect available this side of Baker Mayfield.

There’s been little mention about his putting together perhaps the best tight end resume in college football of the last five years. There’s been little said about him being a Unanimous All-American on Oklahoma’s 2017 team. There’s been absolutely zilch said about how he turned himself into the most reliable pass-catcher on OU’s roster after coming to Oklahoma believing he was going to be a big play wide receiver.

“He’s a great big slot receiver,” an AFC scout told NFL.com. “That’s it. He won’t block at all so what do you have other than a big slot who is an average athlete? I gave him a Day 3 grade.”

To paraphrase Eminem: Now days everybody wants to talk like they got something to say, but nothing comes out when they move their lips just a bunch of gibberish and NFL SCOUTS ACT LIKE THEY FORGOT ABOUT MARK ANDREWS!

Learn ‘em, Mark.

FLOWERS BLOOMS?

Perhaps the man with the toughest task at the combine this weekend is fullback Dimitri Flowers. He’s so versatile it’s difficult make him fit a single position in the NFL. Yes, he’s called a fullback, but he’s shown he’s so much more than that. Flowers is going to have to continue to carry his versatility around this week and hope a team sees a need he can fill. But if he shows strength and speed he won’t have a hard time gaining the interest of at least one NFL team who might see fit to take him sooner rather than later in the draft.

NFL SCOUTING COMBINE INFO

TV: NFL Network (beginning Friday)

Commentary: Rich Eisen, Mike Mayock

Live stream: NFL.com, NFL app

Results: Follow the top performers here

SCHEDULE

Running backs, offensive linemen, special teams

Thursday, March 1: Psychological testing, NFLPA meeting, PK/ST workout, media, bench press, interviews with teams

Friday, March 2: On-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)

Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends

Thursday, March 1: Measurements, medical examinations, overflow testing, interviews with teams

Friday, March 2: Psychological testing, NFLPA meeting, media, bench press, interviews with teams

Saturday, March 3: On-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)

Defensive linemen and linebackers

Thursday, March 1: Registration, hospital pre-exam and X-rays, overflow testing, orientation, interviews with teams

Friday, March 2: Measurements, medical examinations, overflow testing, interviews with teams

Saturday, March 3: Psychological testing, NFLPA meeting, media, bench press, interviews with teams

Sunday, March 4: On-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)

Defensive backs

Friday, March 2: Registration, hospital pre-exam and X-rays, overflow testing, orientation, interviews with teams

Saturday, March 3: Measurements, medical examinations, overflow testing, interviews with teams

Sunday, March 4: Psychological testing, NFLPA meeting, media, bench press, interviews with teams

Monday, March 5: On-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)