One season after they thought they would compete for the Big 12 title, Oklahoma State returns a team that is in many ways stripped of talent. Our top Cowboy ranks as a third round choice and the quality quickly drops off after that.
Kendall Hunter struggled through an injury plagued campaign last season yet at the top of his game he’s an elusive ball carrier that consistently creates yardage. He’ll make several defenders miss over the course of a single run, shows and explosive burst and runs north/south. He’ll fit the role of third down back/specialist at the next level.
Hubert Anyiam is a solid receiver prospect who did a good job filling in for the suspended Dez Bryant last season. Quick releasing off the line into routes, he shows better-than-average downfield speed and is a consistent hand catcher. He’ll get vertical and come away with the ball in a crowd.
Defensive end Ugo Chinasa is an adequate defensive end yet someone who never lived up to expectations. Chinasa can bend off the edge, plays with good lean and is rarely off his feet. He has a long build and looks imposing on the field yet does more chasing than playmaking and is easily controlled at the point of attack.
Markelle Martin is a good looking safety prospect. Martin is solid defending the run, takes good angles to the action and squares into tackles. He displays solid ball skills between the numbers.
Chris Donaldson is a fiery defensive tackle with good first step quickness. Breaking down well he plays with consistent knee bend and fires through the gaps upfield.
Oklahoma State Pro-Prospects
What happens when a program has three of the initial four picks of the draft as OU did last April? It means you’re going to take a hit on the field and in war rooms across the NFL the following year. That’s true of the Oklahoma Sooners, though the roster still possesses a good amount of next level talent.
Opinions are mixed on DeMarco Murray and we are not all that high on the ball carrier.
Murray is a quick back that displays a burst and follows blocks everywhere on the field. Patient, he displays good vision and finds the lanes. Overall Murray does not have the pure speed to run to daylight, does not possess a quick and explosive change of direction and slows down when he must immediately alter his angle of attack. Unfortunately he also gets dinged up all too often. Murray is a solid receiver out of the backfield or when lined up in the slot, which is good as we project him to be a third down back at the next level.
Cory Brandon is a developing blocker with better-than-average footwork in pass protection. Flashing athleticism, he blocks with good lean and has nice length and size. At times Brandon seems unsure of himself on the field and tends to do a lot of clutching and grabbing. Most think the details of his game will be ironed out as he receives more experience. Brandon does come with an upside.
Ryan Broyles is an explosive, sure handed receiver very effective running after the reception. He’s a bit undersized and loses out in battles yet does show solid downfield speed.
Brandon Caleb has a better build and does a terrific job using his body to shield away opponents to protect the pass. Strong, he wins out in battles and is effective blocking downfield. Celeb lacks the second gear yet has the makings of a fifth receiver on the NFL level.
The Sooners offer a nice amount of talent in the defensive front seven, starting with end Jeremy Beal.
A terrific athlete, Beal moves well on his feet and plays with leverage. Quick if asked to twist or stunt, he’s effective making plays in space besides being a solid pass rusher. Beal lacks bulk and is easily handled at the point. He also does not show great skill in space or in pursuit.
Defensive tackle Adrian Taylor is much like his predecessors from OU; a shade undersized yet athletic, explosive and very quick. Taylor works his hands to protect himself, immediately alters his angle of attack and makes plays in every direction of the field. His body strength is solid and Taylor does not get neutralized at the point. Its’ really tough to grade Taylor considering he is returning from the gruesome leg injury he suffered in the Sun Bowl against Stanford last December. We presently rank him as a fourth round choice but as we saw with a number of highly rated defensive linemen last April, primarily Arthur Jones, injuries could push Taylor way down the list.
Travis Lewis is an athletic weak side prospect who, in our opinion, had a disappointing campaign in 2009. Lewis makes plays up the down the line of scrimmage, displays the ability to stay with opponents in coverage and shows speed sideline to sideline. Hard-hitting against the run, he flies up the field filling gaps and plays with a large amount of explosion. We think he’s got a terrific amount of upside yet would like to seem him be a little more consistent.
Nebraska looks to finish out their Big 12 tenure in grand style and have the horses to do as much. The program has a lot of talent and the ability to make several BCS appearances over the next few seasons as well as continue to impact the NFL Draft.
The Cornhuskers have a ton of talent on the offensive line with several prominent juniors.
Marcel Jones is a large, athletic blocker who moves very well on his feet. Blocking with good lean, he gets his hands into defenders, keeps his feet moving and drives opponents off the line or engulfs them altogether. He’s very effective in motion showing the ability to pull across the line of scrimmage and gets out to the second level then annihilate linebackers. He must improve his use of angles but the NU lineman offers a tremendous upside.
Keith Williams is another nasty blocker that shows quickness if asked to kick out or pull. Sized well, Williams is strong at the point and explosive. He jolts defenders with great hand punch and is another very good blocking prospect.
Michael Smith is a small area blocker best suited for the strong side. Quick and explosive, he has nice length which allows him to block down on opponents. Smith does not show great balance or blocking agility.
The offense has a number of skill players that project well to the next level.
Niles Paul was rated by scouting services as the top receiver from the senior class and there’s a lot to like about his game. He’s a consistent hand catcher that displays eye/hand coordination as well as focus. Effectively extending his hands, Paul nicely adjusts to make the errant reception down field while running full speed and shows surprising quickness for a 220-pound wide out. He lacks the second gear and is a one speed receiver yet a prospect that could fill the role as a number two wide out in the NFL.
Roy Helu is a strong north/south runner that patiently waits for blocks to develop then hits the hole hard. A little straight-linish, he lacks the speed and agility to turn the corner.
Senior Mike McNeill is a reliable pass catcher that consistently extends to make the reception away from his frame and shows good eye/hand coordination. He finds the open spot on the field then uses his frame to shield away opponents and protect the pass. McNeill blocks with good knee bend but shows minimal strength at the point of attack. He’s a potential move tight end that could also fit a west coast offense.
The Blackshirts have a number of exciting players that grade as early first round selections as well as underrated prospects that will go in the late rounds.
We’ve discussed Prince Amukamara on a number of occasions and the cornerback enters the season as one of the two highest rated seniors in the country.
There’s a lot to like about Amukamara’s overall game. Fundamentally he’s fluid and smooth in all his mechanics. Quick pedaling in reverse, Amukamara flips his hips transitioning to run with opponents and is physical throughout the route. He does a good job in zone coverage, recognizing routes and following receivers out of their breaks. He has a nice burst to the action and voluntarily defends the run. At times Amukamara takes unwarranted chances which leads to receptions for the opposition but he has all the makings of a starting corner at the next level.
Alfonzo Dennard is not as skilled as his teammate to this point yet is someone who bears watching. Dennard displays a nice break to the throw and has a physical game.
Dejon Gomes is primarily used as the teams nickel back yet is a quality cornerback in his own right. He does a nice job reading and diagnosing the action, stays with assignments and takes proper angles to the action. Gomes is fast in a straight line or laterally and is always around the ball making plays. He shows good head for game and does a nice job getting his teammates in proper position.
Safety Eric Hagg is a guy we liked the more we watched him on film. Hagg plays smart football, works well with cornerbacks and constantly puts himself in a position to make plays on the ball. Occasionally lined over the slot receiver, he’s quick flipping his hips, shows good recognition and does a solid job in coverage. Physical, he shows toughness and aggressiveness defending the run. We really think he’s a guy with next level skill.
Jared Crick will be the center of attention on the defensive line now that Ndamukong Suh has graduated to the NFL. Crick plays with great explosion, displaying terrific first step quickness and uses his hands to get off blocks. Easily changing direction, he immediately alters his angle of attack to chase the action in pursuit. Crick must be more consistent playing low to the ground and must add football strength as he’s easily controlled at the point. He must also show he was more than just the beneficiary of the double and sometimes triple teaming of Suh the past few seasons.
Pierre Allen is a solid athlete that also makes plays in every direction of the field. He’s a decent pass rusher yet very slow to shed blocks once engaged at the point.