This was already going to be the most anticipated Oklahoma pro day in several years because of former running back Joe Mixon not getting an invitation to the NFL Combine.
But it went up a few notches based on what did occur last weekend in Indianapolis. Or maybe it’s better phrased what we didn’t see in Indy.
What we didn’t see was former wide receiver, Dede Westbrook, not participate in any of the drills at all at the combine. Have also seen reports in the last 24-48 hours of Westbrook faring terribly during the interview process.
Westbrook has gone from a sure pick in the second-to-third round to having to prove himself again Wednesday morning. Ever since winning the Biletnikoff Award, OU’s first winner of the award given to nation’s best receiver, Westbrook has been trending downward.
News came out of issues he’s had with the mother of his children a few years ago. He decided to decline an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He posted on Twitter he wasn’t participating in the combine so he can do it one final time in front of his friends in Norman.
Thing is a lot of people at the combine are coming back to their former respective school and doing the exact same thing but those guys also performed in front of scouts in Indianapolis.
It’s the biggest job interview of their lives to this point and any false step can come back to haunt you. It’s going to be up to Westbrook to show on the field at Everest Indoor Center why he won the Biletnikoff and why he is at least a day two selection in the draft.
Then there’s Mixon. Known for a while this could be a make-or-break type of morning for Mixon considering he didn’t get to go through the process, interview or on-the-field, last weekend.
Whether you agree with the NFL’s decision is in the past now as Mixon knows what’s at stake here going forward, beginning with pro day.
His performance in the events should be stellar. There are few running backs, if any, that have the type of all-around skill Mixon has. He should wow the scouts in attendance with his ability and with his testing numbers.
That won’t be the story. The issue will be reading between the lines. His interactions with scouts, facial expressions, gestures, keeping eye contact, that sort of thing.
Scouts will need to be convinced the Mixon of July 2014 is a thing of the past. That the Mixon who has made multiple visits to the children’s hospital is a more accurate portrayal of his character. He needs to win over those guys now in order for the conversation to progress into the next step.
Mixon is no doubt amp’d for Wednesday. Follow his social media, and it’s obvious he has been waiting for this moment for a long time.
Well, it’s here. What’s he going to do about it?
There are other storylines, too, including the return of Charles Walker for the first time in Norman since leaving midway through the 2016 season.
Will former running back Samaje Perine top his 30-rep bench performance in Norman?
Will guys like former linebacker Jordan Evans or former safety Ahmad Thomas show why they should have been invited to the combine?
A lot will be happening in Norman. Could be a banner day for some, a disastrous for others. This is the next step. The spotlight is on Mixon, Westbrook and the rest of the former Sooners. Their time has arrived.