Baker Mayfield and 5 other Sooners set to take next career step

Baker Mayfield may go down as the best quarterback in Oklahoma football history.

He proved all the critics wrong at the collegiate level. Now he want to do the same to those who doubt his ability to continue to play at a high level in the National Football League.

In a couple of weeks, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and five of his Sooner teammates will be taking part in the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, being held March 1 through March 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

In addition to Mayfield, offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Mayfield’s primary protector the last three seasons at Oklahoma, fullback Dimitri Flowers, tight-end Mark Andrews, linebacker Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo and cornerback Jordan Thomas have all been invited to participate before NFL scouts at the Combine. All but Brown and Andrews, who were juniors this past season, have completed their eligibility.

Five of the six Sooners deserve their invite to the NFL Combine. The one I take exception to is Thomas, who did not have a good senior season. He was repeatedly beat on deep throws and didn’t particularly tackle well, in my opinion. He was hurt in the Oklahoma State last season and was replaced by freshman Tre Norwood late in the season. We’re talking about a two-time All Big 12 selection in Thomas, who didn’t perform anywhere near that this past season.

Mayfield’s college numbers speak for themselves – What in the world was Texas Tech thinking in letting him go? Flowers and Andrews had great 2017 seasons, and Okoronkwo may have made the greatest progressive improvement of any of the Sooners invited to the Combine during his time at Oklahoma.

We’ll see how the six Sooners do in their auditions before NFL scouts leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.

NFL Network commentator and draft analyst Mike Mayock rates Mayfield as the fourth best quarterback available in the upcoming NFL Draft. He rates Andrews as the fourth best tight end. But he does not have Brown or Okoronkwo in his top five picks at their respective positions. I have to be honest. I am surprised that Brown is not rated as a top-five prospect on the interior offensive line.

ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper has Mayfield going 10th in his latest NFL mock draft. That would have the reigning Heisman winner going to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders in the first round.

It will be almost seven months before preseason training camp and the start of the 2018 college football season. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how this group of former Sooner players, and perhaps a few others as free agents, do in April’s NFL Draft.