During the next two weeks, Sooners Illustrated will rank Oklahoma’s players.
While Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo will breakdown the best Sooners, we are talking about the most important players here – based on the opinion of Sooners Illustrated writer Justin Hite.
There will definitely be some crossover between the two lists, but this list in particular is based on who Oklahoma needs to be at the top of their game this season.
Let’s keep it rolling.
6. Eric Striker
Another guy that’s too low, right? Well, maybe. Hear me out, though.
Oklahoma and everybody else knows what it’s going to get with Striker. He’s going to have a great motor, come off the edge with ferocity and make plays in just about every game.
It’s almost a guarantee that Striker will near double-digit sacks and more than a dozen tackles for loss. That’s really not out of the question – considering that Striker is healthy for the entire season.
In two games as a starter, Striker is averaging 7.75 sacks and 13.75 tackles for loss per game. Last season, he had 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He’s still waiting for his first career interception though.
Those numbers and Striker’s ability make him one of the best players on the roster, but he’s not the most important. Last year, he was far more important. This year, he just isn’t.
With the development of Devante Bond, who Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said could be one of the big surprises of this season, the potential of Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and incoming freshman Ricky DeBerry, Striker doesn’t need to be the best.
Oklahoma will be worse without him, but that’s the case for just about all the players on this list. The biggest factor in this list is an estimated WAR – or wins above replacement. If Striker goes out, the Sooners’ defense has a chance to still be solid. It will be worse but not awful.
Maybe that wasn’t too convincing. Hopefully, the next five guys will prove that Striker isn’t the MOST important player on the roster.