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Russell Okung is perfect for the NFL

by Berry Tramel Published: February 26, 2010
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photo - Former Oklahoma State offensive lineman Russell Okung, right, is considered by some to be the prize of the coming class of offensive tackles, headed to Washington with the fourth pick or Kansas City with the fifth. AP PHOTO
Former Oklahoma State offensive lineman Russell Okung, right, is considered by some to be the prize of the coming class of offensive tackles, headed to Washington with the fourth pick or Kansas City with the fifth. AP PHOTO
INDIANAPOLIS — Russell Okung didn’t pay much attention to the Washington Redskins or the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL franchises most mentioned as wanting him to protect its quarterback.

It’s not that Oklahoma State’s left mountain is a respecter of teams. It’s that he’s needed elsewhere.

"I’m actually in church,” Okung said of Sunday afternoons. "I don’t get to watch too many games.”

That kind of talk is only going to make the ‘Skins or the Chiefs want him more. That kind of talk is windsong to the ears of NFL executives, who abhor committing tens of millions of dollars to ballplayers who might go all knucklehead on them after the fat bank account arrives.

Offensive tackles have become big business in pro football, and the 2010 class of quarterback protectors is deep, with as many as six projected to go in the first round of the April draft. Okung is considered by some to be the prize of that plum class, headed to Washington with the fourth pick or Kansas City with the fifth.

Okung could be the highest-picked Cowboy since Barry Sanders went No. 3 overall in 1989.

"Not my decision to make,” Okung said without attitude. "Not my place to talk about it. I’m very aware, whether it’s the seventh round or wherever I get drafted, it’s a huge blessing to be standing in front of you guys right now.”

Okung stood in front of the media at the NFL Combine on Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium, boring writers and thrilling league brass. This is the kind of guy the NFL wants.

Great ballplayer. Unblemished character. No-nonsense. Says all the right things without the flair that makes you wonder if he’s some kind of smoothie.

"My best way to do things is be honest,” said Okung. "Be up front. Be up front with the coaches and the GM. If you’re their type of player, you’re their type of player.”

Make no mistake, Okung is any GM’s type of player.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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