This summer, the National Football Post is breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from NFL teams in the 2010 draft.
The Oklahoma Sooners feature one of the most talented rosters in college football and have a plethora of first-round-caliber prospects on offense and defense. In the first part of our two-part series on the Sooners, the National Football Post takes a look at the team’s offensive prospects. Next week, we'll examine the defense.
Sam Bradford: No. 14, QB, 6'4", 218 lbs.
He is a confident passer who displays a quick release and seems to trust his throwing motion. He does a nice job manipulating defenses with his eyes and using the pump fake as a weapon to target overzealous defensive backs.
However, he plays in a “check-with-me” type of offense in which all audibles come from the sideline. He will need to learn to make his own pre-snap adjustments at the next level.
He's a very accurate quarterback who exhibits the anticipation to throw to receivers open on all levels of the field. Bradford possesses a full array of passes in his arsenal and throws a very catchable ball. He isn’t afraid to stare down the barrel of the shotgun and take the hit in the face of danger.
He takes the majority of his snaps from the gun and looks confident as he quickly scans the field and goes through his reads. However, he doesn’t showcase the same type of effectiveness when asked to go through his progressions from under center.
He also lacks ideal footwork in his drop. He gets a bit high and narrow with his base when he sets in the pocket and doesn’t generate much power from his legs.
But he showcases good body control and creates a lot of torque from his waist up when throwing the ball on the move. Bradford can process information quickly and make good decisions consistently when asked to bootleg or roll outside the pocket.
He possesses average NFL arm-strength but lacks the ability to fit passes into tight areas when he’s late with a read. He needs to do a better job being patient with the football in the red zone and throwing the ball away when nothing is there.
Bradford has a real poised demeanor to his game, and he's the kind of leader that teams really seem to rally around. However, he can get rattled at times when he's hit often, and he could stand to add a bit more muscle to his frame.
Overall Impression: He's a smart, decisive quarterback who’s accurate with the football and is a much better athlete than he's given credit for. He does lack great arm-strength but can certainly make all the throws at the next level and has the makings of an intriguing west coast quarterback if he can improve his footwork from under center.
DeMarco Murray: No. 7, RB, 6'0", 205 lbs.
He displays an explosive first step toward the line of scrimmage, and he's consistently able to reach the corner. He's more of a straight-line athlete who gets too upright in his running style and struggles changing directions cleanly at full speed.
DeMarco is at his best simply trying to outrun defenders toward daylight instead of making them miss. He lowers his pad level well into contact and does a nice job protecting his frame inside. However, he isn’t a guy who is going to break many tackles and has a tendency to get tripped up easily through the hole.
He catches the ball well out of the backfield and looks natural in the pass game. He has the ability to separate out of his breaks and create mismatches from the slot. He's very dangerous in space and does a nice job accelerating through traffic and allowing blocks to set up in front of him.
However, he isn’t the most patient of runners between the tackles and has a tendency to bounce the ball outside prematurely. He can pick his way through holes inside, but he isn’t as effective when asked to run in tight quarters.
Overall Impression: He's a dangerous back in the open field who can create plays both in the run and pass game. He'll be able to create some mismatches at the next level, but he isn’t a guy who will be able to carry the load.
Chris Brown: No. 29, RB, 5'11", 201 lbs.
He is an instinctive runner who displays good vision at the line of scrimmage, and he's quick to see/hit the cutback lane inside. He exhibits smooth footwork when changing directions and cleanly gets out of his breaks. He has a good first step, but is very patient when asked to allow his blockers to set up in front of him. He runs with a good pad level and does a nice job pumping his legs through contact.
However, he isn’t very explosive or physical in any area of the game, and he lacks the quickness to consistently make defenders miss in space. He doesn’t break many long runs and isn’t much of a big-play threat.
Brown does showcase a willingness to block in the pass game and displays a compact punch on contact with the lateral mobility to mirror in space.
Overall Impression: He's an instinctive runner who has the vision and footwork to pick his way between the tackles. But he doesn’t stand out in any area of the game and lacks much upside at the next level.
Jermaine Gresham: No. 18, TE, 6'6", 260 lbs.
He is a big, coordinated athlete who carries his weight well and looks fluid in the pass game. He isn’t overly explosive off the line when his hand is on the ground, and he's at his best when split out in the slot.
However, he showcases a natural burst out of his breaks and does a nice job changing gears. He lacks elite straight line speed but is a long strider who can run away from man coverage and separate down the field. He isn’t a very sharp route runner and has a tendency to start leaning into his route before the break. He gets sloppy with his footwork, and he doesn’t consistently do a good job setting up defenders underneath.
He's an explosive leaper who showcases the ability to go up and snatch the football at its highest point. He locates the ball quickly in the pass game and possesses the body control to consistently adjust to the play. However, he has a tendency to have lapses in concentration and gets inconsistent with his hands on occasion.
He exhibits a narrow base and struggles generating much power from his lower half as an in-line run blocker. He has the length to get into opposing linemen quickly, but doesn’t possess the strength to get much push off the ball. However, he works hard down the field and displays the body control to hit and seal a moving target away from the play.
Overall Impression: He's an athletic tight end who does a good job changing speeds and striding past defenders down the field. But he isn’t a great route runner and reminds me a bit of Jaguar's TE Marcedes Lewis.
Brody Eldridge: No. 83, TE, 6'5", 264 lbs.
Eldridge is a limited athlete who struggles sliding his feet laterally in pass protection, and he lacks the power to hold off opposing linemen once they gain a step on him. However, he does a nice job of quickly getting off the ball in the run game and working his legs through contact. He possesses a strong upper body, and he's tough to shed completely at the point of attack but lacks the fluidity to consistently stay in front of defenders in space.
Overall impression: He has a big body that helps out as a blocker, but he lacks the athleticism to consistently stay on his man.
Trent Williams: No. 71, OT, 6'5", 308 lbs.
He's a flexible lineman who displays a quick initial kick-step off the ball and has the athleticism to reach the edge. He does a good job dropping his pad level on contact and extending his arms into blocks.
But he lacks ideal power in his punch and consistently takes the brunt of the bull-rush. Still, he does a nice job quickly re-setting his feet and staying in front of his man on the outside.
He redirects cleanly in pass protection and showcases good lateral mobility when asked to quickly slide inside on the counter move. He exhibits impressive body control in space and does a great job turning and sealing opposing linemen away from the ball on bootlegs outside the pocket.
He isn’t a guy who consistently latches onto defensive linemen at the point of attack and, at times, he allows defenders to bounce off his blocks and make plays away from his frame.
Overall impression: He possesses the footwork to mirror defensive linemen on either side of the line of scrimmage at the next level. Although, he needs to learn to do a better job staying on his blocks in order to advance his game.
Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.