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 Eric Striker
Strengths: Three years worth of work as one of the top pass rushers in college football, a willingness to confront major issues and serve as a team leader, a lightning quick first step and a relentless desire to get to the quarterback: Striker’s strengths are obvious and have been for the past few years. He’s a talented football player on the field, even if his numbers on paper say otherwise. He provides offensive linemen with issues because he presents many different angles when rushing the passer. When dedicated to improving in pass coverage for the first time last year, Striker did show a spike in production – although his coverage skills are still a work in progress.
Weaknesses: At the combine and the Oklahoma Pro Day, Striker didn’t impress with his speed, proving that he doesn’t have the ability to run nor play safety like some though he’d have to do in the NFL. His frame is still thin to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 and maybe even too thin in a 4-3 as a Will linebacker. Striker can get to the quarterback in college, but a big question revolves around if he can to it against NFL-sized tackles – with the talent to boot. He needs to develop an all-around pass-rush attack in order to be really effective in the NFL. On paper, Striker is a dangerous pick.
Now Trending: Striker has really settled in as a possible Day 3 pick. Some think he won’t be drafted while others are looking as high as the fourth round. He’ll have to wait a couple days before his name is called but he’s not moving up or down boards, which is a good thing.
Closest NFL player comparison at best: Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore Ravens
Sooners’ Illustrated’s final, fun yet oddly exact NFL Draft prediction: Sixth round, Pittsburgh Steelers, 220th overall