12 Oklahoma Sooners find new homes in the NFL


The NFL Draft ended with several Sooners being selected. Some were passed by in the draft, but NFL teams were quick to scoop the remaining former players. The 2013 season was a rebound year for Oklahoma in a lot of ways. The Sooners, all seniors, who have moved on to new teams were a big part of this turn which culminated in a Sugar Bowl victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Sep 7, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Corey Nelson (7) in action against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Fans will miss these athletes, but they and the guys at Stormin’ in Norman wish all these Sooners success at the professional level. Congratulations, to all and thank you for all you have contributed to Oklahoma, on and off the field.

Two Oklahoma Sooners went much earlier in the draft than expected. The first Sooner off the board was Jalen Saunders. Expected to go anywhere in the middle of the draft, he has the potential to be the next Wes Welker; a slot receiver, who is a quarterback’s best friend. Oh, and he’s an exceptional punt returner. That always helps.

For Saunders to go to the New York Jets in the fourth round with the 104th pick, it is not all surprising. Some outlets however, had him going as late at the 6th round. He should do well in the league for a long time.

The surprise, was Aaron Colvin. Not for the fact of his playing ability, but he is only mere months having his ACL repaired, after it was injured during a practice for the Senior Bowl. The Jacksonville Jaguars added depth to their secondary by taking Colvin. He is a player, once he is cleared to participate, that can make an impact.

Jacksonville appeared to make some good picks throughout the draft. Colvin was no exception. They saw that he is worth the wait. He has shut down ability, and plays aggressively on every down. Like Saunders, Colvin was projected originally around the fifth to sixth round prior to the injury.

Two of the best teams in the league drafted two Sooners who could end up being fantastic steals. Trey Milliard, and Corey Nelson. Nelson was selected in the 7th round by the Denver Broncos as the 242nd overall pick. Millard a few picks later at 245 with the San Francisco 49ers.

Both these players are extremely intelligent football players. Millard, a fullback, is part of a dying breed in the NFL—the fullback. This fullback, though, can do everything, and he has the potential to move to tight end. The 49ers have a ton of options to utilize him.

Nelson, on the other side of the ball is able to perform pass coverage duties as well as being able to apply pressure on the quarterback. Prior to his injury, he would make adjustments to the linebacker core, and most generally made the correct adjustments.

Denver appeared to have a good defensive unit until they got shredded by the Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl 48. Now with the off-season moves adding the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Nelson is joining a what should be scary good group. He would be a contributor on passing situations in the nickel, as well as a potential special teams ace.

Not every Sooner made it to be drafted, but quickly found homes with NFL teams to attempt to earn their spots on these 53 man squads, or be a part of their teams’ practice squads. As reported by the OU Football Twitter page:

I said there would be a head scratcher. The head scratcher is Gabe Ikard. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans. He was rated as the 4th overall center in the draft, however the need for centers was not that high. A very skilled player who was projected to be drafted by a team in the 4th or 5th round fell all the way past Mr. Irrelevant. The competitor that Ikard is, this should put a fire in his gut to prove he was worthy of being picked in the draft.

Most of these players all have a great shot at being part of a roster and start playing on Sundays, or making it onto a scouting team. With the conclusion of the NFL Draft, we don’t have much to listen to, but crickets for the next 16 weeks in terms of football. Which can be good in the fact no injuries would be reported in that time. However, I like many football fans, am ready for the season to get started.