OU's NFL Combine: Offense

Soonres send three offensive linemen to Indy hoping for high draft grades

The NFL Scouting Combine begins Friday, and there are eight Sooners scheduled to participate, hoping to increase their stock for the NFL Draft in the final days of April.

It’ll be a big day for everyone.

Every second clocked, every rep counted: This is a chance for players to rise or to fall.

This is the next step for college football players. Nearly every player drafted by the NFL has been invited to the combine.

It’s time to nitpick.

Sooners Illustrated looks at the offensive seniors here:

Daryl Williams, OT (6-foot-6, 329 pounds)

What they’re saying: There aren’t many nastier than Williams in this year’s draft, and he comes with all the right character – leadership and he isn’t an issue off the field. He’s at the top as far as run blockers are concerned and comes off the ball with explosiveness and “bad intentions.”

What he needs to do: Williams has to show more control in his game – not toning his play down but showing that he can move with the skill of an NFL offensive tackle. Right now, he’s set up to possibly move inside to guard. He can show a lot at the combine but could wind up being the ultimate utility lineman.

When he’s up: Friday

Key drill: 3-cone drill and the shuttle. Teams are going to want to see foot speed and athleticism from Williams. There’s no doubting his run blocking. It’s the pass blocking that teams need to see.

Draft round ceiling Back end of the first round. It would take a lot for a team to draft a run-blocker in the first round. Williams will have to prove he’s worth it or that he can pass block well enough.

Blake Bell, TE (6-foot-6, 259 pounds)

What they’re saying: His play as a quarterback could set him apart among NFL tight end prospects because of his understanding of spacing and offense. He’s much better than he was a year ago as a blocker but still has holes in every part of his game for the NFL: Blocking and route running. He’s very young at the position. Right now, he’s similar to Owen Daniels, who played quarterback at Wisconsin until his junior year. That’s not a bad NFL career if it goes right. One NFC North scout told NFL.com: "Personally, I don't really think much of his chances to make it as a tight end because he's too far behind where he needs to be.”

What he needs to do: Everything has to improve for Bell, who has to show almost perfect hands and better route running at the combine. Because he’s not good at either blocking or receiving, he’ll have to find a way to be great at just one.

When he’s up: Friday

Key drill: Route running and pass catching. Bell is gonna make a roster as a pass catcher first not a blocker.

Draft round ceiling Fifth round with a great combine. Bell will be drafted. A team will take a chance on him developing because 6-6 with 4.7 40 speed can be a game changer.

Adam Shead, OG (6-foot-4, 339 pounds)

What they’re saying: Shead is one of those players who is going to maximize his talent. He’ll play through pain, understands blitz packages and run blocks with everything he has. He has length, which is rare for a guard but still has to improve with his technique. He tends to lean as a run blocker – relying on his 339-pound frame to move defenders.

What he needs to do: Shead has an obvious injury history that some think might have taken away his mobility. Simple enough, he has to prove that wrong – in physicals and on the field. Needs to prove he’s more than just a power run blocker, his specialty.

When he’s up: Friday

Key drill: 3-cone drill. Shead’s biggest weakness is his ability to move. A good time in the 3-cone or shuttle drill could improve his draft-ability.

Draft round ceiling Mid-fifth round. Shead has a lot to prove to get there, and it more depends on his injury tests than his play on the field.

Tyrus Thompson, OT (6-foot-5, 336 pounds)

What they’re saying: Thompson is the total package, physically. He’s a gifted athlete with great speed and agility. He has the ability to get to the second level quickly. Thompson is light on his feet for a 336-pound tackle and has the ability to recover even when beaten. He can be a starting left tackle in the NFL. He just has to be a better run blocker. It wouldn’t hurt to take a pointer or two from his close friend and fellow tackle – Williams.

What he needs to do: Show more consistency. Everything says Thompson can be a long-time starter in the NFL, but he wasn’t as dominant on a play-by-play basis as some NFL teams might have liked. That might be an unfair breakdown of Thompson, considering he’s playing down the line from Williams, one of the toughest and nastiness player in the draft. Also needs to show better use of hands.

When he’s up: Friday

Key drill: Interview. There’s no doubting Thompson’s physical skills, although he can’t slack off in any drill. Teams want to know what’s going on. They aren’t concerned about his character but want to know about his football character.

Draft round ceiling Early second round. The bottom line is only one team has to like Thompson because his athleticism warrants a second-round pick.

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