The 2016 NFL Draft kicks off next week, and a relatively large graduating class – and a few underclassmen – have a chance to hear their name called this weekend.
The first round begins on April 28 with the second and third round scheduled for Friday. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds will be Saturday. Over the next week, Sooners Illustrated looks at some highlights and possible destinations for some of the Sooners’ top players in this year’s draft.
Oklahoma has had 34 players drafted since 2010, which started with three Sooners being taken in the first four picks. Since the 2010 draft class,@ Oklahoma Sooners has had the same number of players drafted in the first two rounds in the last five years.
Time to break down Oklahoma’s 2016 hopefuls.
Linebacker Devante Bond
Strengths: Bond has good size for a NFL-ready outside linebacker and has explosive athleticism for someone still learning to play the game at a high level. He shined at the NFL Scouting combine in the vertical jump and the 3-cone drill, which was aided by Bond’s quick feet. He’s a sound tackler and a developing pass rusher, who had been limited in that aspect by playing across from Eric Striker. He sets up as a pass-rushing 4-3 linebacker.
Weaknesses: The potential that makes Bond attractive is also his weaknesses. His football career is still very young, and he’s still learning the intricacies of the game. Because of this, he can be caught out of position on fakes – bootlegs and play-action. He’s a bit of a straight-line player, who would be the target of mismatches in pass coverage. There are also some huge red flags as an injury risk after he missed time as a senior and hasn’t played a full D-I college season.
Now Trending: After a strong combine, Bond's draft stock might be at its highest. The shine has worn off a bit after a solid Pro Day, but he's still moving up on draft boards.
Closest NFL player comparison at best: Phillip Wheeler, Atlanta Falcons
Sooners’ Illustrated’s final, fun yet oddly exact NFL Draft prediction: Fifth round, Miami Dolphins, 147th overall