The Big 12 is well known for producing some of the top talent entering the NFL and this year they have several players that should be able to break into the NFL and make an impact.
In the second part of our series looking at the draftable talent in the Big 12, we will take a look at players from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado.
We will take a quick look at their performance in the combine and how they look heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.
Dan Bailey, K: Kickers don’t get drafted that much and we well know but anything is possible and if there is a kicker that could be drafted in this year’s draft then it's possible Bailey could.
The 2010 Lou Groza Award winner has been very consistent during his time with the Cowboys and was very productive.
Teams that need a kicker may decide to take a lat- round flyer on Bailey but if they don’t expect him to land with a team as an undrafted free agent with a solid chance to make a roster somewhere in the NFL.
Ugo Chinasa, DE: Chinasa is not a well-known prospect but he has a lot of potential and could be someone that we hear much more about in the NFL.
At the combine, Chinasa ran his 40 yard dash in 4.71 seconds, ran the cone in 7.07 seconds, had a 27.5 inch vertical leap and did 9’9” in the broad jump.
Chinasa is a pretty good player for the position and is very productive. It’s possible that he could catch someone’s eye in the middle rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft and make it as a situation pass rusher on the team that drafts him.
Expect him to have a learning curve but also expect o hear his name at some point on Sundays in the future.
Kendall Hunter, RB: Hunter is in the mix as being one of the better running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft and could see his name called early on the second day of the draft.
Hunter’s combine performance was nice as he ran a 4.53 40 yard dash, had a 35 inch vertical leap, an 11.19 second 60 yard run, a 6.74 second cone drill and a broad jump of 10’2”.
Hunter’s career at Oklahoma State was pretty productive but he comes with some concerns. His size worries some NFL scouts and he has some trouble blocking in the passing game as well as catching the ball.
It is his size that may cause him to drop a little bit in the draft but someone should like him enough to take him somewhere in the late second or third round of 2011 NFL Draft.
Orie Lemon, ILB: Lemon may not be as popular as Hunter is but there is some talent there and it just might catch the eyes of some of the NFL’s talent evaluators.
Lemon’s combine performance wasn’t great but it wasn’t that bad either as he ran a 4.99 40 (not that good for a player at his position) as well as a shuttle run of 4.40 seconds, a 60 yard run of 11.88 seconds as well as a 7.45 second cone drill. He did 27 reps on the bench press, had a vertical leap of 27 inches and a broad jump of 9’5”.
Lemon has nice size for the position and is a smart player. He gets around well and can make plays. What he doesn’t do well is stay healthy.
He had a lot of problems staying healthy with the Cowboys during his career and has some issues with his mechanics. It’s likely that someone could take him in the later rounds of the draft or pick him up as an undrafted free agent and use him as a reserve or a special teams player.
Andrew McGee, DB: McGee didn’t run any of the drills at the combine due to some injury problems but did do some work at his Pro Day.
He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.76 seconds and had a 4.34 second time in his 20 yard shuttle to go along with a 7.46 second three cone drill.
Injuries have hampered McGee often and came at the wrong time for him during the ramp up to the draft. He had a productive career at Oklahoma State and does have some nice attributes that could be translated over into the NFL well but he’s got a lot to learn and would probably never be a starter in the NFL.
Look for McGee to either be a seventh-round pick or find his way onto a team somewhere in the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
Jeremy Beal, DE: After winning several honors and awards at the University of Oklahoma, Beal is poised to make an impact in the NFL if he can find a team that is interested in him.
Depending on whom you talk to there are some people that aren’t as high on Beal as others and there are several people that feel that his stock has dropped enough to put him close to being a late-round pick.
At the combine, Beal ran a 5.16 second 40, had a cone drill of 7.19 seconds, did 22 reps on the bench and had a vertical jump of 28.5” and a broad jump of 8’10”. Needless to say it wasn’t a good performance.
Beal brings some nice qualities including solid pass rushing skills, the ability to play physically and the ability to hit hard. His poor showing at the combine and workouts has caused him to drop in the eyes of NFL scouts and general managers.
He would require some significant work to get up to speed in the NFL and this may cause him to be a later round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Quinton Carter, FS: Carter comes in as one of the higher ranked safeties in safety class that is one of the weakest in a long time.
With that he will benefit and probably get selected in one of the higher rounds of this year’s draft. Carter only ran select drills at the combine and came in with a 4.62 40, a 4.06 shuttle drill with 23 inches on the vertical leap and a 10’1” broad jump.
Carter was very productive while he was in school and has some pretty nice qualities for a safety. He is free of serious injuries during his college career and loves to play the game. Some of the positives in his mechanics include his ability to be physical, hit well and cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Carter may not have the ideal size for the position, misses tackles quite often and struggles with consistency overall.
Carter still comes in as one of the better safeties in the draft and could be selected somewhere from the late third to early fifth round in the 2011 NFL Draft.
DeMarco Murray, RB: Murray comes into the draft as one of the top five rated running backs and has received a lot of interest from NFL teams.
Murray’s combine numbers were pretty solid as he ran a 4.41 40 yard dash and had a 4.18 shuttle drill. He ended up having a 34.5 inch vertical leap and a broach jump of 10’4”.
Murray is one of the most (if not the most) athletic running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft and has a solid skill set for his position.
He has good vision, is able to catch the ball effectively and has had a knack for being very productive. What he struggles with is not protecting the ball well enough to keep from fumbling and he doesn’t get low enough when he runs at times.
He won’t gain a lot of extra yards after contact and may be a little bit of a liability running in the middle. He has also suffered from some injury problems while he was in school and this may scare some teams away.
Look for Murray to be a late second to early third-round pick in this draft.
Adrian Taylor, DT: Taylor did not participate in the combine except in the bench press where he did 34 reps. Taylor didn’t do anything at his pro day either and we don’t have numbers to base some of his potential.
He does have decent size and has the basics of the position down pat but he has been hurt often and needs some work.
Taylor may be appealing to someone but it’s likely he’s going to go on as an undrafted free agent and end up on a practice squad somewhere when it’s all said and done.
His health concerns are just too much for teams to bear though and he will wind up an undrafted free agent when it’s all said and done.
Jalil Brown, CB: Brown didn’t do much for the combine only running the 40-yard dash (he ran it in 4.55 40 and had 24 reps in the bench press) but is still going to be looked at by scouts as a possible backup cornerback and special teamer in the league.
Brown brings good size to the position and is one of the stronger corners in this draft.
What Brown lacks is consistency and the ability to play 100 percent all of the time. He’s not that productive when it comes to generating turnovers and still has a lot of learning to do. If he can show teams that he can play special teams well then he can get his foot in the door and quite possibly contribute on a team sometime down the road.
With that it’s possible that he could be drafted in the later rounds of this year’s draft.
Nate Solder, OT: Solder is a sure fire first-round pick that has interested a lot of teams in that first round. At the combine, Solder ended up running a 5.0-5 40, had a 4.34 shuttle drill, a 7.44 cone drill along with 21 reps on the bench press, a vertical leap of 31 inches and a broad jump of 9’2”.
Solder is a strong candidate to be selected early in the first round as teams really like his size and ability to play the left tackle position. He is athletic enough (and more) for the position and has the mechanics to be successful in the league.
There will be a learning curve with Solder, however, as he has some fine tuning that needs to be done in order for him to have a successful career in the NFL.
Some experts also feel that Solder has the potential to “flop” in the NFL while others feel that he could be the best bet in this year’s draft (at the offensive tackle position). It will be interesting to see which team selects him and how fast he can start when he gets comfortable in the NFL.
Jimmy Smith, CB: There are those that feel Smith may be a liability because of his issues at Colorado with failing drug tests as well as some other problems off the field and this may cause his stock to drop a little bit but he’s still a first-round talent.
In workouts, Smith has run a 4.42 40 yard dash, had 6.93 seconds in the cone drill, had a 4.06 in the 20 yard shuttle and did 24 reps on the bench press, 36 inches in the vertical jump and 10.25 feet in the broad jump.
Smith brings a lot of good skill to the table for the cornerback position and he’s going to be someone that teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks take a look at in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft where he could end up being taken.
As long as he keeps his nose clean and stays out of trouble then he should have a good NFL career.