Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Landry Jones needs to go back to school, simple as that. If he declares after this game I am convinced it is because he talks with Bob Stoops and Stoops tells him he can’t guarantee Bell won’t get more snaps and that there won’t be a quarterback competition. There are some people that think playing Bell might be the better direction for the program, and it’s hard to blame them the way Jones finished the season. He threw only one touchdown in the last four games while he threw more interceptions (8) than he had thrown in the previous nine games (7). This coincided with Ryan Broyles’ injury, but that kind of drop off from losing your best receiver shouldn’t be so drastic, especially at a talent-laden program like Oklahoma. I think it demonstrates how reliant Jones was and is on the talent around him which exemplifies exactly why he will never be a franchise quarterback. He has quality size, pretty good arm strength, but his throwing motion looked like it was in slow motion yesterday and his ball velocity was very unimpressive. I had wondered about these potential issues before, but they never seemed as evident as they did yesterday. He struggled to make anticipation throws, he was missing high very consistently and he seemed hesitant to let it fly at times. A few times he got ready to throw but would then pull it back down which can happen when a quarterback struggles and doesn’t trust what he is seeing. If Jones declares some team will draft him based on his size, production and perceived potential. However, I am very confident that he will never be a franchise quarterback and that he would struggle mightily in the NFL even if he had some talent around him. He is surrounded with talent at Oklahoma and still made plenty of questionable decisions and poor throws, particularly under pressure. I wouldn’t draft him in the first four rounds at this point, and even after that I don’t really see the upside in selecting him.
Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma: Bell is the quarterback who seems likely to replace Jones should he leave or even, possibly, should he return and be forced to participate in a quarterback competition. It was brought to my attention that he was one of the top pro-style quarterback prospects coming out of high school and was converted into the battering ram for Oklahoma’s offense after he got to college. It will be interesting to see how Bell develops once Jones is gone, but there are some people that think he should take over next year. I can’t say how anyone in the Oklahoma program feels, but it will be interesting to see whether Jones leaves or stays, and if there is a quarterback competition if he comes back. After the way he played this year I think it would be fair to open the starting spot up to competition.
Roy Finch, RB, Oklahoma: I thought Finch caught the ball out of the backfield more than he apparently did, but Iowa just couldn’t figure out a way to take away the swing pass to him in the flat, he was just too fast and elusive. He had 34 receptions this year and I think he has the makings of a very good 3rd down back in the NFL. He’s very undersized at 5’7”, 166 pounds but he is very fast and contributed 605 yards on the ground (5.45 ypc) and 3 scores plus 296 yards as a receiver out of the backfield. Additionally he returned 11 kick-offs for 223 yards (20.27 average). Is he going to be a 1st round pick? No, but I do think he has plenty of draftable ability despite his size. He’s only a sophomore so he has another year or two to play at Oklahoma, but his versatility to catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage after the catch was valuable last night as he caught 2 receptions for 32 yards on swing passes.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Obviously Broyles didn’t play in this game, but his impact was felt because of how Oklahoma struggled to move the ball at times. Their defense won them this game in my opinion, and really made it pretty easy for Oklahoma to score points without being overly effective on offense. Broyles was a great receiver for Oklahoma and while I questioned his straight line speed he always created consistent separation and displayed pretty good hands. I wish him well in his recovery from his awful knee injury, but worry that it might limit his ability to create separation when that was a potential concern already due to his lack of straight line speed.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma: Stills has upside thanks to his athletic ability but he did not impress me yesterday. He had a couple of catches, but on deep passes he was unimpressive and didn’t show much effort or ability to adjust to those throws. He dropped a couple catchable passes and overall didn’t live up to the hype he seemed to be accumulating over the course of the season. Not a fan at this point.
Kameel Jackson, WR, Oklahoma: Jackson is a quality receiver and I really like his upside. He flashed much more consistent hands than Stills did and started to come on late in the year after Broyles went down with an injury. He’s only a freshman and wasn’t the focal point of Oklahoma’s offense by any means, but he caught 9 of his 12 passes for 134 of his 165 yards receiving on the season. He didn’t have a touchdown, but he showed he has the hands and the athletic ability to be a big playmaker in the future. Keep an eye on him, I loved what I saw from him last night even if it was a small sample size.
James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma: I like Hanna, and think he’s a possible sleeper for the tight end position. He had 9 total touchdowns the last two years and upped his reception total to 27 along with 381 yards this year, but his touchdown total decreased to two after netting seven the year before. He’s listed at 6’4”, 243 pounds and has a listed 40 time of 4.86, so he isn’t going to be a burner in the NFL. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him drop a pass and his hands strike me as reliable. He’s underappreciated much like David Paulson from Oregon is because of all the weapons he is surrounded by, but I think he has more reliable hands than people think. He’s a late round prospect, but I think he has talent worth drafting late.
Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Frank Alexander has solid size for a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 but I don’t think he has the athleticism to be a consistent pass rushing threat. He will have to get stronger and add weight, but I don’t see much pass rushing upside in the NFL. He was able to bull-rush Riley Reiff last night but that has more to do with Reiff’s lack of lower body strength than Frank Alexander’s NFL upside. He struggled to beat Reiff off the edge and really all he could do was bull rush him.
Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma: Lewis also didn’t play in this game, but for a different reason than Broyles. Lewis was suspended for this game and that meant we didn’t get to see him match up with a potential top 10 pick in Riley Reiff. Ronnell Lewis is a possible 1st round prospect should he declare early in large part because of alleged 4.5 speed. He’s very fast off the edge and has a lot of upside as a pass rusher as an OLB though I’m not sure he is the smartest player. He was suspended for the game against Iowa because he was ruled ineligible for the game because of academic reasons. That doesn’t make me think he will come back, though it does give him some reason to declare even if it might be for the wrong reasons. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do, but it would be a sign of immaturity if he didn’t come back because of laziness or lack of effort academically. He’s got upside, but he’s got some red flags around him.
R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: R.J. Washington rotated in for Oklahoma against Iowa and he had success rushing the quarterback against Iowa. He is a bit of a pass rush specialist at 6’3”, 248 pounds and had 2 of his 5 sacks on the season last night against Iowa. He will be a senior next year and it will be interesting to see if he can fill the void left by Frank Alexander graduating and possibly by Ronnell Lewis leaving early.
Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma: Lewis is a quality linebacker though he doesn’t have great size. He’s listed at 6’2”, 227 pounds and has a relatively unimpressive 4.72 listed 40 yard dash time. He’s an athletic player though and is also a good tackler. I worry about how he will hold up versus the run in the NFL because of his lack of size and he hasn’t shown the ability to shed blocks to make plays. It’s not a 100% requirement to play WLB in the NFL, but it does help. At his size his game is using his athleticism to avoid blockers and flow to the ball, but if he doesn’t time well at the combine it could make scouts wonder if he’s athletic enough to compensate for his lack of size and strength to get off blocks. I like Lewis, but I need to watch him more to give him an accurate grade.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma: Jamell Fleming was featured in my list of potential break-out players for this season. He didn’t have an unbelievable statistical season but he did have a good year and finished it with a great performance against Iowa when he was consistently matched up with Marvin McNutt. He doesn’t have elite size or speed as he is listed at 5’11”, 192 pounds with a listed 40 yard dash time of 4.54. He makes up for it by being a very fundamentally sound cornerback with impressive ball skills and quality tackling. He has a pretty good burst to close and used it to deflect 10 passes this season and intercept 2 passes. I think he’s going to be a quality corner in the NFL despite not being a 6’1” corner with a 4.4 40 yard dash time. He matched up with the taller McNutt effectively though I don’t know how well he would be able to mirror corners with better straight line speed. I like him though.
James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa: Vandenberg was perplexing to watch all night and really all season. He’s a bit of a gun slinger and has above average arm strength but made some very risky and questionable decisions in this game. Like anyone who ever spent time watching Brett Favre knows sometimes those decisions work out, like when Vandenberg threw across his body for a 4th quarter touchdown to continue Iowa’s comeback attempt. However, sometimes they don’t and those turnovers have plagued Iowa all season long. He made a valiant effort leading Iowa back in this game, but he lacked pocket poise and didn’t make good decisions under pressure. He’s too inconsistent for my liking, but he did flash some positive traits last night. It will be interesting to see how he looks next year with a year of starting under his belt, though I anticipate some similar play.
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa: McNutt’s stock is dropping right now. I’ve heard he’s been getting 5th-7th round grades from scouts and it’s not hard to imagine why when he’s struggled so much against some of the more physical and talented corners he’s faced this year. He struggled against Alfonzo Dennard, Leonard Johnson and didn’t do much on Jamell Fleming last night. One of his only catches against Fleming occurred when he shoved him shortly after releasing on the line of scrimmage and caught the pass a little afterwards. McNutt didn’t seem to be as physical as one might have hoped he would be given his size, and due to his lack of straight line speed and burst in and out of his breaks I think scouts are worrying about his ability to create separation at the next level. Considering all that it really isn’t that surprising that his stock is slipping. It’s too bad though, I liked him coming into the year as a 3rd/4th round guy.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: Fiedorowicz may not have a great stat line but at 6’7”, 265 pounds he strikes me as one of the next quality tight ends to come out of Iowa. He’s only a sophomore, but he had 16 receptions, 167 yards and 3 touchdowns this year. As far as I could tell based on my research he was the most statistically productive tight end on Iowa’s roster this year despite his age. He also made a critical catch to extend one of Iowa’s drives late in the game yesterday. I didn’t pay particularly attention to him yesterday, but he did stick out to me a couple times. At his size he could develop into an intriguing tight end prospect, so I for one will be keeping an eye on him.
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: Reiff is a guy that I projected to be the #5 overall pick in my first mock draft and I still believe he has the potential to go in the top 10. He’s my #2 overall offensive tackle behind the consensus #1 Matt Kalil from Southern Cal. Some have Jonathan Martin #2 overall but I am not sold on him sticking at left tackle in the NFL and think he might need to slide over to right tackle. Reiff will have to make no such transition, and while he isn’t necessarily ready to walk in and start like Kalil and Martin are in my opinion he has as much top left tackle upside as Kalil does thanks to his great athleticism, large frame and long arms. Many were unimpressed with him in this game because he was bull-rushed effectively by a number of Oklahoma defensive ends, but I was not surprised. I have been pointing out that Reiff needs to get stronger in the lower body all season, and it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s watched him before that he struggled to recover and anchor against Oklahoma’s strong defensive ends. He needs to add weight and strength in his lower body but that can be done with a quality strength program and proper determination and work ethic, so that doesn’t concern me. If he was playing with poor leverage or standing straight up out of his stance that would be one thing, but that isn’t the case. Once he gets stronger that won’t be much of an issue at all, so if you believe Reiff has the work ethic to get stronger with a NFL strength coach working with him then you shouldn’t worry about some of his issues with bull rushes last night. I believe he will be fine in that aspect, so he still gets a top 10 grade from me. He’s not ready to walk in and start at this weight obviously, but he’s got more than enough upside to warrant top 10 consideration. If Nate Solder can go in the top 20 last year with his issues with bull rushes as well as speed rushes there is no reason Reiff shouldn’t go in the top 10-15 in my opinion.
Broderick Binns, DE/DT, Iowa: Binns is a bit of a ‘tweener because he is undersized at 6’2”, 261 pounds but I think he might have to bulk up to have a chance at contributing to a rotation in the NFL. He was effective this season as he produced 59 total tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF and a remarkable 8 pass break-ups. That really evidences how well Binns does at getting his hands into passing lanes and his ability to do that led to a pass deflection and an interception on a Landry Jones pass last night in the red zone. Binns reminds me a little bit of Karl Klug’s situation from last year, and I seemed to be higher on Klug than most. He was an all effort guy that had very violent hand usage which I loved, and he has actually led the Titans in sacks this year despite only weighing 270-275 pounds all year. Binns doesn’t have the same motor and hand usage in my opinion, but if used appropriately he could be a quality player.
Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa: I am very high on Daniels. He’s another undersized defensive lineman from Iowa and I think he’s going to stick on a NFL roster and contribute, perhaps much like Klug has as a rookie. I have heard that he isn’t much taller that 6’0” even though he is listed at 6’1” 280 pounds and that will hurt his draft stock. However, he was very productive this season with 66 total tackles (32 solo), 13.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks and one pass break-up. He had 5 tackles last night including three for loss of which two were sacks. He was very disruptive last night as he has been all year and I look forward to watching him at the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl because he warrants invitation to one of those games. He’s a mid-round prospect right now, but so was Karl Klug and he has been one of the steals of the draft thus far based on how Tennessee has been able to use him.
Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa: Prater is another mid-round corner but he hasn’t had a very good season this year. He hasn’t impressed me in coverage when I’ve watched him this year and he only had 3 pass break-ups and one interception (though he returned it 89 yards for a touchdown) all season. He is a pretty good tackler though and he managed to force an impressive four fumbles, an impressive number for a DB. He didn’t stick out to me much last night but I think his stock is falling right now. He’s listed at 5’10”, 185 pounds and has a 4.49 listed 40 yard dash time so he isn’t a freak corner. He’s probably a 4th or 5th round pick right now in my opinion.