The Arizona Cardinals selecting quarterback Kyler Murray provided the headline of the 2019 NFL Draft for the Oklahoma Sooners, but seven other OU players heard their names called last week. A handful more signed as free agents in the aftermath of the draft.
Let’s recap who landed where and how they fit in with their new teams.
Kyler Murray, QB - No. 1, Arizona Cardinals
The rationale behind Arizona taking Murray first overall seems clear: The Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury for his offensive acumen, so you have to give him the personnel he needs to make his offense work. In addition to an impressive skill set, Murray is familiar with the concepts underlying Kingsbury’s system. If Kingsbury believes Murray should be his trigger man, you take him.
All of that makes sense. On the other hand, we’re talking about a coach who just got canned at a middling Big 12 program. He’s trying to overhaul the Cards’ offense with a QB who doesn’t exactly fit the traditional pro mold, and Kingsbury doesn’t have much experience with the day-to-day realities of NFL life.
Shades of Steve Spurrier and Washington back in the day, ya know? Wouldn’t be ideal to see Murray get caught up in that mix, but we’ll see how this goes.
Marquise Brown, WR - No. 25, Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore’s top three receivers in 2018 consisted of Ball State legend Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree’s ghost and John Brown. It’s actually miraculous this team finished in the middle of the NFL in Football Outsiders’ Pass DVOA metric.
Hollywood may not be the most productive receiver on the roster from the outset, but he will be the most dangerous. With the Ravens looking to build their offensive identity around an explosive running game, he stands to benefit as a big-play threat by capitalizing on single coverage and overcommitted defenses.
Cody Ford, OL - No. 38, Buffalo Bills
Draftniks might describe this as a value pick for Buffalo – a first-round offensive lineman who was still available in the second round. In fact, the Bills likely grabbed an opening-day starter with this pick.
Buffalo has so little going for it offensively at the skill positions that Ford could dominate right away and make little difference. Ford’s versatility bodes well for his own future on the next level, though.
Bobby Evans, OL - No. 97, Los Angeles Rams
An important question regarding Evans and the Rams: Where will Evans play on the offensive line?
Evans did his best work at OU playing right tackle during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He didn’t appear nearly as comfortable last year after switching to the left side in 2018.
It’s possible Evans just needs time to acclimate to the switch. L.A. may be banking on just that, given that Rob Havenstein owns the right tackle job.
Dru Samia, OL- No. 114, Minnesota Vikings
Samia climbed up draft boards during his senior season and put himself in position to nab a starting job with the Vikings as a rookie. The fourth-round selection has more than enough nasty in his game to play immediately. He also seems to fit well as a blocker in Minny’s new zone running game.
Keep in mind that that Vikes traded up to select Samia, a sign that they hope he can contribute sooner than later.
Ben Powers, OL - No. 123, Baltimore Ravens
Find you someone who loves you like the Ravens love Sooners. Brown and Powers join OU alums Tony Jefferson, Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews on the Baltimore roster after this past weekend’s proceedings.
This feels like a high-floor pick. Powers should eventually turn into a dependable guard and longtime starter on the next level. For his rookie season, though, expect Dreamcrusher to spend time developing as a backup before maturing into a first-stringer in 2020.
Austin Seibert, K - No. 170, Cleveland Browns
Not much to say about this pick. Cleveland definitely didn’t burn a fifth-rounder on a kicker without intending to use him.
Rodney Anderson, RB - No. 211, Cincinnati Bengals
Anderson’s extensive injury history clearly depressed his stock down into the territory of the late rounds. The good news for Bengals is that they got a running back late in the game who legitimately might have been the top-rated player at his position if healthy. Moreover, he doesn’t have many miles on the tires after spending so much time in the training room.
Think of Anderson who, to a certain degree, mirrors Joe Mixon from a skill standpoint. Cincy could find it’s worth keeping him on in case Mixon goes down as opposed to using him as a change-of-pace back.
Undrafted Free Agents
Amani Bledsoe, DL - Tennessee Titans
A high-upside signing for the Titans, Bledsoe’s lengthy suspension for testing positive for a banned substance seemed to prevent him from find a groove at OU. Maybe he will have better luck in the pros.
Curtis Bolton, LB - Green Bay Packers
Bolton made his mark last season as an inside linebacker, but he may have more to offer as a designated pass rusher in the NFL.
Carson Meier, TE - UDFA, Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcelias Sutton, RB - UDFA, Seattle Seahawks
Meier and Sutton look like longshots to make these rosters. However, Meier seems like a guy who might be able to find a niché somewhere, and perhaps a healthy Sutton can make an impression.