Oklahoma football: Countdown for former Sooners and the NFl Draft

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /

Oklahoma football players hopeful of pursuing careers at the next level put their skills on display for NFL coaches and scouts at OU’s annual Pro Day held in Norman last week.

Representatives from all 32 NFL organizations were on hand, as 19 different Sooners participated in strength, speed and agility drills showcasing their talent in hopes of boosting their stock ahead of next month’s NFL Draft. The sessions were held indoors at the Siegfried Strength and Conditioning Center and the Everest Training Center on the OU campus.

While 19 former Sooners took part in the Pro Day workout sessions, the real attention was on a handful of OU NFL hopefuls.

The biggest attention, obviously, was on Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former Sooner quarterback was impressive in his NFL Scouting Combine session earlier in the month, and he didn’t disappoint in his Pro Day appearance, either. Throwing to familiar faces in a familiar environment at the OU indoor training facility, Mayfield displayed his uncanny accuracy hitting his receivers in virtually every route in a hurry-up rapid fire tempo.

The biggest knock against Mayfield’s NFL future is his height. Listed at 6-foot, 1-inch, which might be a stretch, the three-year Oklahoma starter is considered too short for success in the NFL at the quarterback position. Despite that, Mayfield is projected to go among the top-10 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.

From all accounts, Mayfield’s passing skills continued to impress scouts and NFL personnel in attendance, including Denver general manager John Elway and head coach Vance Joseph.

Mayfield, who may go down as the best quarterback in Oklahoma’s storied football history, reportedly had workouts this past week with the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.

What Mayfield wanted to show at the OU Pro Day was his mobility and his ability to make accurate throws moving with the football. Among the receivers catching passes from Mayfield at Pro Day were fellow NFL prospects Mark Andrews and Dimitri Flowers.

Andrews’ size, foot speed and pass-catching ability are not of major concern by scouts and team officials at the next level. What is in question, however, is whether he can block effectively in the NFL. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 256-pound tight end is projected as a potential late first round or second round pick in next month’s NFL Draft.

Offensive tackle Orlando Brown had some things to prove at Pro Day after a less than stellar performance at the NFL Combine. Rated as a high draft prospect throughout the 2017 season, Brown was able to improve on his Combine scores in four testing areas (40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump and bench press).

Brown contended that his numbers at the Combine were season lows and that the results of the drills during Pro Day at OU were more representative of where he has been all last season.

Linebacker Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo performed well at the Combine, but did even better, given a second chance at Pro Day. He improved his 40-yard dash time and also did better in the three-cone agility drill. Okoronkwo will likely go in the second or third round in the NFL Draft.

While most of the attention at the OU Pro Day was on Mayfield, Brown, Andrews and Okoronkwo, the best performance of the day was turned in by wide receiver Jeff Badet. who led all of the Sooners who participated in the Pro Day workout in three of the seven skill and strength tests.

A graduate transfer from Kentucky, who caught 26 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns in his one season at Oklahoma. Badet posted the top score in the 40-yard dash (4.27 seconds), broad jump (10 feet, 11 inches) and vertical jump (39 1/2 inches).