Sooners Illustrated takes a look at some Oklahoma players who might have their names called at the NFL Draft

Three-year starter hopes one NFL team falls in love with his ability to run sideline-to-sideline

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 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 Dominique Alexander

Strengths: Alexander likes to run and for good reason: It’s his best attribute and one that might have him move to outside linebacker at the next level. If nothing else, Alexander will likely have every chance to contribute as an elite special teamer in the NFL. He churns up tackles, making 292 over a three-year career as a starter with the Sooners. He is natural in coverage, although not refined, and has a chance to be a talented coverage outside linebacker. He also took his run-stopping to another level this year, making far more plays behind the line of scrimmage than at any other point in his career.

Weaknesses: His frame and ability to disengage from bigger blockers is by far Alexander’s downfall. Because of this, he might be forced to move to outside linebacker. He’s a downhill tackler but has to be a downhill tackler. He’s not going to strafe into a hole and make a tackle on a big NFL running back or shed a block to make a play. Alexander has no elite trait that would make him a must pick for an NFL team. One team will have to fall in love with his speed.

Now Trending: Believe it or not, but Alexander has been moving up. When he first declared, it raised eye brows, but he’s catching the eyes of teams because of his ability to run. You can’t teach speed, and Alexander has it.

Closest NFL player comparison at best: J.T. Thomas, New York Giants

Sooners’ Illustrated’s final, fun yet oddly exact NFL Draft prediction: Sixth round, Denver Broncos, 219 overall

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