Oklahoma had seven players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. It was the last Sooner selected that was a harsh reminder college production is one of many variables used by pro scouts and general managers.
Linebacker Travis Lewis finished third on OU's all-time tackles chart (445) but dropped to the seventh round, the 223rd overall selection by the Detroit Lions.
That's quite a fall for the only player in school history to lead the Sooners in tackles all four seasons.
“It’s not about stats sometimes. It’s about how fast you run, how high you can jump,” Lewis said. “I’m just happy (the Lions) saw something in me and that I’m going to prove them right and I’m going to prove a lot of teams wrong.”
One of three OU players selected by the Lions, Lewis turned down an opportunity to leave a year early. His stock plummeted following a subpar senior season that was hampered by a broken toe he suffered three days into fall camp.
Lewis finished with a career-low 84 tackles after averaging 121 his first three seasons. It was obvious the broken toe affected his play. But Lewis probably was as a mid-range pick even if he had an injury-free senior season due to limited range and quickness.
Informed he might improve his draft stock if he bulked up, Lewis weighed 246 pounds at the NFL combine but ran a 4.88, third lowest among linebackers. He ran a 4.75 in Norman, a time that would have finished in the middle at the combine, but he still fell to the last round.
In a conference call with the Detroit media, Lewis was asked if he has a chip on his shoulder.
“Absolutely there’s a chip,” Lewis said. “All I can think about is I have two weeks to get into the best shape of my life and show up at mini-camp ready to roll.”
Other OU selections on Saturday included:
* Defensive end Frank Alexander (Carolina, fourth round, 103rd overall pick).
* Outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis (Detroit, fourth round, 125th overall pick).
* Tight end James Hanna (Dallas, sixth round, 186th overall pick).
One of Lewis' teammates in Detroit will be Ronnell “The Hammer” Lewis. He played the past two years at defensive end but is expected to move to outside linebacker. Slipping to the fourth round, lower than expected, Lewis could specialize as a pass rusher and special teams standout.
Alexander, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, isn't as explosive as defensive ends taken earlier in the draft, but he's big and strong. And he might have enough speed to occasionally play linebacker in nickel packages.
Hanna has good speed for a tight end and tested well at the NFL Combine. Hanna must read coverages better and be more physical in one-on-one battles. But Hanna has the ability to stretch the field.