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.
Receiver Sterling Shepard
Strengths: Shepard work ethic is almost beyond reproach and his competitiveness is very high. His hands are among some of the best in the draft. Shepard’s footwork is excellent, even if he tends to go over the top with off-the-line moves on occasion. Shepard’s play speed is even higher than his actual speed. He is a scary cover for any corner one-on-one. And don’t forget about his punt return experience, even if some Sooners fans might want to do exactly that.
Weaknesses: There aren’t many. Shepard still is a little slight of frame and can get re-directed in his routes, which is why he’ll probably start in the NFL as a slot receiver. His top speed isn’t great for an elite receiver.
Now Trending: Time has done wonders for Shepard, who also has a long resume of success to show as well. He looked the part at the NFL Scouting Combine and the Oklahoma Pro Day. Most rank him as the No. 7 receiver in the draft, which makes him a second-round pick. He could wind up in the first round, but Shepard has been a second-day pick since Oklahoma’s final game this past
Closest NFL player comparison at best: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Sooners’ Illustrated’s final, fun yet oddly exact NFL Draft prediction: Second round, Carolina, 62nd overall