Oklahoma football: Sooners tie Bama with 5th most 2022 NFL Draft picks

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma defensive lineman Nik Bonitto (DL01) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma defensive lineman Nik Bonitto (DL01) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 NFL Draft came and went over the weekend, and the Oklahoma football Sooners delivered seven players among the 262 selected in this year’s three-day NFL extravanganza.

The Sooners’ seven draft picks were the most by any Big 12 team and tied Alabama for the fifth most of any school.  This year’s seven OU selections is tied for the third most taken in the draft from Oklahoma since the 2000 season.

OU continues to be a pipeline to the NFL. This is the 15th year in a row at least four Oklahoma players heard their names called during the seven-round spectacle.

The first round was a slow one for Sooner draft prospects. No OU player came off the board on the first day of the proceedings. Nik Bonitto was the first Sooner selected, taken with the 64th overall pick, the final player taken in the second round, by the Denver Broncos.

Bonitto fits very well into what the Broncos like to do on defense. With the flexibility to play pass coverage and being an elite edge player,  gives the Broncos a unicorn of a piece to utilize.  His role will be very similar to former Bronco All-Pro Von Miller’s in this defensive scheme.

Just a few picks later in the 3rd round, the Minnesota Vikings selected LB Brian Asamoah. Asamoah is a bit undersized for a linebacker but has the instincts and sideline to sideline speed coveted for the position. He showed coverage skills in the middle of former Sooner defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s aggressive scheme and this should serve him well as a bit of a safety- linebacker tweener at the next level.

Perrion Winfrey was projected to go sometime in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, but he slid. The wildly athletic interior defensive lineman finally got his name called in the fourth round when he was selected by the Cleveland Browns. This was the perfect fit for Winfrey, as he will line up next to superstar Myles Garrett and has a clear path to the field right away. Winfrey was certainly ecstatic about the fit:

Overall, Day 3 of the NFL Draft would be the pinnacle for Sooner draft picks. After Winfrey’s selection came safety Delarrin Turner-Yell, who joins one of his best friends, Bonitto, in Denver.

Turner-Yell was selected by Denver in the 5th round with the 164th overall pick. There is a lot to like about the athleticism and the various roles the former OU defensive back can do for you on the defensive side. He can run, he can hit, and he has good football IQ. Turner-Yell had some misfortune with injury in 2021 or he likely would’ve gone a two rounds earlier, but fit is important and he found that in Denver.

WR Michael Woods’ time came in the 6th round. The Arkansas transfer who played one season for Oklahoma, has a lot of the measurables you like to see in a wide receiver. Although his production was not there at OU, he can have better success at the next level. Woods was considered a border line draft selection by a number of experts, but the Cleveland Browns decided they did not want to bid for the wide out in the unrestricted free-agent world.

Woods has a good chance of seeing the field this year, as the Browns already give Donovan Peoples-Jones a good deal of offensive snaps. People-Jones was also a 6th-round selection, and Cleveland does not have a lot of depth at the position.

In the 7th and final round a few Sooners who were expected to be mid-round picks slipped right into the hands of a few suitors. The Arizona Cardinals took guard Marquis Hayes who was expected to be a 4th-round pick, according to multiple mock drafts. Hayes has everything you would want for an NFL offensive lineman from a physical tools standpoint . Hayes could wind up being one of the steals of the draft.

The same can be said for defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas, one of three Sooners selected by the Browns on Sunday. A player who was expected to go in the 4th round, Thomas slipped ostensibly because of some off the field concerns dating back to last summer. Thomas has the size and skill to be a starter in the NFL, and if he can get up to snuff from a strength standpoint he could be in a rotation quickly for the Browns.

Another year, and other successful draft for the powerhouse Sooners. Next season, expect at least four more names to be called as well. Oklahoma continues to be one of the most recognized brands in the sport and, as such, will continue to get recruits at a high clip, continue to develop them and put them in position to play at the next level.