By John Helsley
For Oklahoma’s NFL draft hopefuls, there’s nothing certain about what will happen come Saturday and Sunday.
No certain first rounders, although it’s possible.
No certain take on any of the prospects, with varying opinions attached to all.
No certain way to handle the agony of waiting around to hear your name called.
And yet, it’s worth staying tuned for at least three hopeful former Sooners: Duke Robinson, Phil Loadholt and Juaquin Iglesias. Any and each of the three could be gone by the early stages of the second round.
That’s the glass-half-full scenario, for sure.
The glass-half-empty version: Nobody goes until Day 2.
And either scenario is possible. That’s how clouded the crystal ball appears entering this year’s draft for the Sooners. Some teams like OU’s prospects, some not at all. So depending on who’s choosing and who’s available at that slot, there’s no telling when they’ll go off the board.
Over at ESPN, Todd McShay has Loadholt going first among the Sooners, with the 22nd pick in the second round and No. 54 overall, to Minnesota. He’s got Robinson going midway through Round 3 and Iglesias going in Round 5, just ahead of teammate Nic Harris. And get this, McShay has Lendy Holmes going in the seventh round — last overall, as Mr. Irrelevent.
Still, while McShay is sharp, it’s just one man’s take on a draft that may be as difficult to project as any in recent memory.
Loadholt is a great example. There are teams that don’t like him at all, fearing his pro career will resemble the Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia, when he was beaten regularly by the speed rush. And there are teams that get a load of the big man’s size and athleticism and believe he can be a fixture at offensive tackle for years to come.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the kind of team that loves linemen like Robinson, a power-blocking force in the running game. And they’re getting old along their front. There’s some thought he could go to the Steelers with the last pick in Round 1.
Iglesias isn’t a deep burner, which hurts him in some eyes. But he’s a disciplined route runner who isn’t afraid to go across the middle, making him an ideal slot receiver. And those guys — thanks to Wes Welker — are enjoying an elevated status of late. So the 5th round may be too late for Iglesias.
But who knows?
The only thing certain about this NFL Draft is that nothing’s certain, especially when it comes to the Sooners.