12 Landry Jones, Quarterback, Senior 6’4″ 230 pounds
Jones is a very good quarterback prospect who slightly struggled in the spotlight in 2011-12. Despite being one of the highest ranked QBs in the country going into the season (I had Jones ranked 1b with Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley), Jones threw for a ton of yards and not as many touchdowns as you would like. In a stretch late in the season, Jones struggled mightily to put the ball in the end zone. For a three game period, Jones didn’t throw a single touchdown pass and the loss of Ryan Broyles really hurt his production. One thing that Jones really struggled with was consistency with his accuracy. We all know he is one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country at an extremely prestigious university, but there were four games last year where his completion percentage dipped below 55 percent. It’s not like the defenses in the Big 12 are extremely tough to pass on, as it has been proven by some other first round QBs from the class of 2012, but Jones struggled nonetheless. Still, there is a lot to like about this guy. He has a strong arm and a short memory when it comes to making mistakes. He knows how to win ball games and put points on the board, and though he struggled with consistency in 2012, he should once again emerge as a Heisman candidate with a lot of upside at the next level. If guys like Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and even players like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder are first round picks, then Jones should be in line for a first round selection unless he completely destroys himself this year. Oklahoma’s roster is absolutely stacked, so if he somehow manages to play poorly, Jones could see a serious drop in his stock.
NFL mocks preseason scouting report
Started 24 of 27 games that he has played at Oklahoma, and has vaulted himself into the discussion as a potential top 10 pick in 2011. Saw his accuracy increase dramatically as a sophomore in 2010 when he went from 58.1% completion to 65.6%. Honorable mention All-American in 2010 after throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns (12 interceptions). Works primarily out of the shotgun but has very good vision down the field,as well as excellent footwork in the pocket. Goes through his progressions and knows how to read defenses. Has the arm strength to be able to fit the ball into tight spaces. His accuracy has dramatically increased, as I pointed out, and he has a very quick release. Not a scrambler by any means, but knows how to work outside of the pocket and use his athleticism to his advantage. Arm strength overall is good to very good. Great placement on his deep throws, and I would love to see him decrease his interception totals even though the Sooners are a big time passing offense.
PROS: Accurate quarterback…good athlete…can spread the ball around really well…gamer….solid athlete…poised…not easily rattled…good deep accuracy…good footwork in the pocket….completion percentage has consistently improved…very productive
CONS: Plays on dominant team…doesn’t have overly strong arm, but can still make all the throws….slightly disadvantaged because of OU’s offense (fast paced shot-gun offense..hard to get a good feel for how well he goes through progressions)…throws a few too many INT (not a lot though)…looked very fidgety especially in the pocket vs FSU in 2011…has struggled with pressure in his face
Whaley burst onto the scene as one of the nation’s most talked about running backs last year after starting his college football career as a reserve at Langston, an NAIA school. He didn’t see hardly any action while a member of the Langston squad, and didn’t play in 2010 before walking on at Oklahoma in 2011, where there were really little/no expectations for him. He wound up turning his walk on opportunity into a starting job on one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country, and he really capitalized. Whaley carried the ball 113 times in just six games and already had nine touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. His explosiveness and nose for the end zone were a perfect complement to the aerial attack that Oklahoma possesses, and he showed he has star potential with three 100 yard games in his first six as a member of the Sooners. Whaley is still really raw, but he is a playmaker and he has a ton of upside. This is the kind of guy who could really surprise people in 2012 if he is able to come back from a left leg injury that caused him to miss most of last year after his fantastic start. When Oklahoma lost Whaley last year, it really hurt their offensive flow and it’s probably no coincidence that they wound up losing all three of their games that they did last year when he was out of the lineup. He is an impact player with very good speed and breakaway ability. He doesn’t have great size and obviously doesn’t have a ton of experience, and now there is a potential durability issue.
Stills is a guy with a lot of speed and really just a complete overall receiver who doesn’t stand out to me particularly in any one area. I think he could have a huge season as a junior, where he will likely be more of a focal point in the Oklahoma offense. As a sophomore, he had 61 catches for 849 yards and eight touchdowns, good for second on the team. Obviously, Ryan Broyles’ production at Oklahoma was legendary, and those shoes are going to be too big for anyone to fill, but Stills has an interesting style of play, definitely a different kind of player than Broyles is/was for the Sooners. Stills has phenomenal concentration, especially in one on one, deep ball situations. He knows how to make adjustments when the ball is in the air and doesn’t often lose those types of battles. He is capable of making incredible catches look easy, but the one thing I worry about with Stills are concussions. Once you’ve had one, the next one becomes more and more likely and those are clearly one of the more devastating injuries a football player can receive. Sometimes, players don’t even realize they’ve had a concussion, and that is what obviously makes this game that much more dangerous. Hopefully Still is able to stay healthy enough to be the receiver he is capable of being. In his junior class, he is certainly a top 10 player at his position and while he doesn’t have great size or elite production to this point, the potential is there for him to be a very good receiver.
16 Jaz Reynolds, Wide Receiver, Junior 6’2″ 198 pounds **SUSPENDED**
Reynolds is a really talented wide receiver who would have probably been a contender to go for 1,000 yards this season with the Sooners, but his next stop will be the NFL likely after a year off from football on the field. Reynolds is a big, lanky receiver who is capable of consistently making big plays, but he was officially removed of his scholarship at Oklahoma when he failed to meet the team’s class attendance policy. To me, that’s inexcusable and could result in Reynolds going undrafted, however he does have a chance to turn his life around and earn back some respect over the next year before he holds a pro day for NFL scouts. He averaged over 17 yards per reception last year with five touchdown catches and proved that he can make some plays. However, he has an uphill battle to climb now trying to get back on the good graces of scouts and coaches.
69 Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Senior 6’5″ 296 pounds
Very interesting prospect who started out his college football career at Kilgore College as a quarterback, and after a while there he made the transition to the tight end position. When he came to Oklahoma, he came as a tight end but has since added 35 pounds and become the full-time starter at right tackle, where he started 12 of 13 games in 2011. Hard worker in the classroom who was an Honorable Mention Academic All-Conference.
75 Tyler Evans, Offensive Guard, Senior 6’4″ 308 pounds
Been a starter at right guard since 2009, and one of the steadiest performer’s on OU’s offensive line. Honorable mention All-Big 12 performer last season as voted by the coaches, and also a good performer in the classroom. Solid right guard in college who will need to put in work to stand out among other players at his position.
61 Ben Habern, Center, Senior 6’3″ 292 pounds
One of the top returning centers in the country in 2012, but a player who does have some injury history and concerns. Still, he’s played through a lot and has been a reliable starter for the Sooners when he is healthy. Honorable mention All-Conference performer in 2010 as a sophomore, and part of one of the most productive offensive attacks in the country. One of the best prospects at his position coming out of high school and one of the team leaders heading into 2012.
91 R.J. Washington, Defensive End, Senior 6’3″ 248 pounds
Once considered one of the top prospects in the entire country, it’s taken Washington some times to figure things out. He is finally penciled in as a starter on the defensive line for his senior season after his best year in Oklahoma as a junior, where he played mostly as a reserve. Had five sacks, five tackles for loss, and five passes broken up last year off the “bench” and also had multiple sacks (his first multi-sack game) against Iowa in the Insight Bowl. Progressing player who should be able to put together a solid senior season.
21 Tom Wort, Linebacker, Junior 6’0″ 230 pounds
Very solid inside linebacker prospect who is slightly undersized but already really productive for the Oklahoma defense. Already proving to be one of the leaders of the Oklahoma defense who had 66 and 71 tackles in his first two seasons, totaling 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and two interceptions, both of which he caught in 2011. Wort had arguably the best game of his career in the Insight Bowl against Iowa, where he had 11 tackles and an interception. He’s missed some time due to injury, but he’s an exciting young linebacker prospect who can be an impact player at the next level if he continues to develop.
14 Aaron Colvin, Defensive Back, Junior 6’0″ 176 pounds
Key piece of the Oklahoma secondary who started last season as the strong safety and actually performed quite well given the player he was replacing in Quinton Carter. Finished the year with 84 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. Played cornerback in 2010, and right now is listed as a starter at that position on Oklahoma’s depth chart. Physical player who is obviously very versatile with good speed and tackling ability. Doesn’t have a ton of bulk for his size but plays hard and is a team player.
6 Demontre Hurst, Cornerback, Senior 5’10″ 181 pounds
One of the top returning cornerbacks in the country after starting the last two years at cornerback for the Sooners and proving he is an All-Conference performer. Has an outstanding 22 passes broken up over the last two seasons, though he only has two interceptions but obviously he doesn’t have trouble making plays on the ball. Good tackler with 105 total tackles and 8 tackles for loss since he became a full time starter. Smart player off the field as well as an Academic All-Conference performer in the classroom. Had a huge pick-six against Texas in the Red-River Rivalry game last year and is capable of delivering big hits. Definitely a player to keep an eye on as he continues to progress. Doesn’t have ideal size but makes up for it with effort and intensity.
1 Tony Jefferson, Safety, Junior 5’10″ 200 pounds
Jefferson has been a great performer ever since he stepped on campus for the Sooners, earning Freshman All-American honors in 2010 and following it up with an excellent sophomore campaign. Continues to progress overall as a player, racking up 65 total tackles as a freshman and 74 as a sophomore, while totaling 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, six interceptions, and 10 passes broken up. Always around the ball and knows how to read plays, and his fantastic closing speed allows him to make a ton of plays in the backfield, more than most safeties especially those his age. Takes great angles on his tackles and really makes people pay for holding on to the ball in his general vicinity. One of the top safeties in the country and should continue to progress as a fantastic young player.
30 Javon Harris, Safety, Senior 5’11″ 207 pounds
Inexperienced defensive back who has a chance to shine as a senior in 2012. Had three interceptions as a junior and started eight games, totaling 47 tackles. Has good size for a safety and really good speed for his size. Obviously works hard in the weight room and will be another key piece of a talented Oklahoma secondary. Great competitor and also a guy who can contribute in various areas of special teams.