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.
Cornerback Zack Sanchez
Strengths: Sanchez has NFL-ready ball skills right now. He has quick feet, competitiveness in the air, an elite jumping ability and above average hands for a defensive back. He has plus speed, which allows him to carry vertical routes down field and under-cut routes. Sanchez can track routes well and understands professional route trees. He has also shown a ton of heart as a three-year starter at Oklahoma, playing through injury on more than one occasion.
Weaknesses: Sanchez’s gambling style is biggest knock, and he can be beaten fairly easily by good double moves – something he’ll see consistently in the NFL. With a slight frame, he might have to move inside and play more nickel back than field or boundary corner. Sanchez is a true feast-or-famine cornerback who also lacks good tackling ability and struggles in run support. He’s an ultimate freelancer in pass coverage, which can be a benefit or a burden.
Now Trending: Sanchez is moving up more draft boards than down because of his un-teachable traits. After the first day and a half, teams will look for elite traits that can’t be taught and try to teach the rest. Sanchez has that. A team might have a chance on him believing that they can teach him to be more patient, which isn’t usually a tough trait to teach.
Closest NFL player comparison at best: Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
Sooners’ Illustrated’s final, fun yet oddly exact NFL Draft prediction: Third round, Washington, 84th overall