They weren't at the NFL Combine, but don't be surprised to see the OSU Pro Day movers in safety Jordan Sterns, tight end Blake Jarwin, and wide receiver Jhajuan Seales move up the Draft boards later this week.
The NFL Draft is a funny thing. There is as much misinformation being spread leading up to the first round of the Draft on Thursday night in Philadelphia as there is accurate information. You can see the Draft on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on ESPN and the NFL Network. Oklahoma State fans will likely wait until Friday or Saturday to hear one of their heroes names called. In our first preview we highlighted the NFL Combine attendees of defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, running back Chris Carson, and cornerback Ashton Lampkin. Today we feature another trio that made strong impressions on the Cowboys Pro Day in Stillwater just a week after the NFL Combine. Actually, safety Jordan Sterns and Cowboy back (tight end) Blake Jarwin were seen and scrutinized prior to the NFL Combine when they each played in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Jarwin also played in the East-West Shrine Game and the third player in our preview today, wide receiver Jhajuan Seales played out west in the NFLPA All-Star Game.
Playing in one of those games may actually be better than attending the NFL Combine, it is real football and at the end of the day that is what NFL teams are looking for. Sure, they want big, strong, and fast, but they want guys that are football players and make football plays.
"I put up some pretty good numbers and at the Combine they put you through a lot, keeping you up at night and all the medical testing," Sterns explained. "I'm sure I could have done it, but it could have been a blessing in disguise and I had a good Pro Day and I showed that I could open up my hips and do football things that I wanted to prove I could do."
"I got to the Senior Bowl a few days late, but I played in the East-West Game and I think that it is maybe better to be in those games," Jarwin said. "My agent (Kelli Masters) told me that those postseason All-Star games are getting more popular with the pro staffs."
It would make sense that Vincent Taylor, Chris Carson, and Ashton Lampkin might get picked ahead of all other Cowboys, but if you look at the mock drafts floating around the internet you will find that safety Jordan Sterns is as coveted as any other Oklahoma State NFL prospect except for Taylor at defensive tackle. Sterns told us he has visited Oakland and Kansas City and has talked to a number of teams this past week, but on the mock drafts we saw one had Oakland taking the 5-11, 196 pound Sterns in the fifth round with the 168th selection. Two other mock drafts had him going to Detroit, one in the fourth round with the 127th pick and the other in the seventh round with the 250th selection.
"Those sound good, and I liked both Oakland and Kansas City," Sterns said. "I'd never been to Cali, so that was fun to see someplace new. I could see myself at either of those teams or really whatever team picks me, I'm going to be excited to get there and play for them."
Sterns tested well in Stillwater and said he was even thankful for an extra week to prepare for the testing as a result of not being invited to the Indianapolis and the Combine. Sterns ran a 4.55 in the forty, had 15 on the bench press rep test, a 36-inch vertical jump, and a 121-inch broad jump. He has 31 7/8ths inch arms.
After leading Oklahoma State in tackles during three of his four seasons as a Cowboy and finishing with five career interceptions he has the reputation of being a tough, physical tackler and a ball tracker on pass plays. In the pick you apart world of draft analysis his strengths seem to be that he is tough and smart, has above average football instincts, is aggressive with a fast trigger to come up and play run, can play the robber safety, and would be expected to play a lot of special teams.
On the negative side, one scout said his hips are stiff, something Sterns thought he disproved in Stillwater on Pro Day. He has a slower than average backpedal, Is aggressive again, and that causes hard bites on play-action and double move routes like a sluggo. He is said to lack the long speed needed to be a center-field type safety, but is a good box safety style player.
You will get a serious player that loves football and will represent any organization with class. Sterns is a leader.
"I read some of those, but not to knock them or other players but I believe I'm the best," Stern said. "I believe I can be better than all of them and not to knock the analysts but I'm a football player and I've played and I know that I can play the game. How ever I get there, I know I can play."
Former walk-on Blake Jarwin has moved up the tight end lists despite playing that all-around and all-over hybrid position of Cowboy back at Oklahoma State.
"Chuck Pagano and the tight ends coach at Indianapolis complimented me on my versatility from playing that position and Pagano said it was good because no matter where I was needed I could be on the field for them in multiple places," said Jarwin of a conversation he had with the Colts head coach on a visit to Indy this spring.
Jarwin is 6-5 and 246 pounds. At the Cowboys Pro Day he ran a 4.62 in the forty, a 4.22 on the 5-10-5 shuttle, an 11.57 on the 60-yard shuttle, and had 21 reps on the bench press test. He also measured a 34 1/8th on the arm length. He also caught everything throw at him in the post testing drills.
Jarwin has visited San Diego and Indianapolis. He has had conversations with Houston, Detroit, Tennessee, New Orleans, and Dallas. He was mentioned in a story in San Francisco on top Oakland prospects in the Draft and was even selected by Bay area media for the Raiders in a mock draft. In the ones we saw he was picked by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round with the 188th pick. In another mock we saw he went to Dallas in the seventh round with the 228th selection.
"I'm excited and getting a little nervous now," Jarwin said of the process. "I've been spending five days in the weight room and out on the field catching passes since January, right after the bowl games. I'm prepared because we will all be shipping off and getting started somewhere as soon as Monday (of next week)."
Jarwin is versatile and the draft analysis on the former walk-on from Tuttle, Okla., is that he is smooth and accelerates well in running routes. He runs crisp routes He also has a good feel for the quarterback and does a good job working back to the quarterback. He is a good leaper and athlete and can battle very effectively at the point of the ball when it arrives. He is tough and does not mind working routes across the middle. He in fact, caught a touchdown pass on a crossing route in the Alamo Bowl, his last game for the Cowboys.
The knocks are that he is not as effective a blocker back to the inside. His strength as a blocker is not as good as when he is a receiver. He needs to work his hands more in blocking and he needs to take better angles when blocking edge pass rushers. After the catch he lacks a getaway burst, but he will drag tacklers after the catch. Those draft analysis are always a mixed bag.
There may not have been a better Pro Day performance by anybody than wide receiver Jhajuan Seales. The Port Arthur, Texas native has always been known as a tremendous athlete, but needed to show maturity and discipline after a couple of off the field incidents. He seemed to have done exactly that in his senior season. He measured 6-0, 206 pounds on Pro Day and ran a sensational 4.41 in the forty and one watch had him at 4.38. He had a 41.5 vertical jump and a 123-inch broad jump. The 4.25 in the 5-10-5 shuttle was also really impressive.
According to the Draft analysts he has the size and the speed. He is more than willing to work the middle of the field and on the sidelines has good feet and focus to complete the catch. He has strong hands and with that vertical jump can not only climb the ladder for catches up above, but is also flexible and can stoop and dive low for catches. He has excellent body control and tracks the ball very well, good on fades.
Scouts are critical of his route running and his in and out ability on cuts while running routes. He is too straight. He has to prove he can beat press coverage. He has to show he can be physical and win hand fighting. This one blew me away after watching him for four years, but one report was critical of his blocking skills and claimed he needed work and would have to prove a willingness to block downfield. That is a staple of the Kasey Dunn-coached OSU receiver corps.
We don't know on Seales, but we do know that Sterns and Jarwin will watch the Draft at home with family.
"My mom said we may have a movie marathon while we are waiting for that phone call," Sterns said of being at home in Cibolo with his family. "I wasn't thinking I would watch the whole thing, kind of stressful."
"We're just going to have a small get together, family and a few friends," Jarwin said. "By the time it is over we will probably have most of Tuttle over at the house."
I really believe that both Sterns and Jarwin will be drafted and not be waiting to sing free agent at the end of Saturday afternoon, but if they are then some team got lucky.