By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Around this time of year, Mel Kiper Jr. is everywhere, spewing opinions on all the ESPN channels you can find (and there is an ever-growing list of them).
On Thursday, he was on NFL 32, discussing the draft stock and pro potential of former OU quarterback Landry Jones with fellow analyst Bill Polian.
Polian praised Jones, calling him the best quarterback in the draft and a mid- to late-first round pick. Kiper was a bit more conservative, labeling a few quarterbacks ahead of Jones on the draft board and slotting him as a third-rounder.
But he still complimented Jones, in part, by ripping his college team and, more particularly, the talent level that surrounded Jones in Norman.
“You talk about Oklahoma’s personnel, where’s the big-time receiver?” Kiper rhetorically asked. “Kenny Stills is going to be a third-round draft choice. He’s not going to be a first-round pick. So I think there is a lot of perception that these OU players, these Sooner players, are all going to be early round picks, these All-Americans. When in reality, they are kind of like the college version of the Dallas Cowboys. They have OU on their helmet, they are supposed to be great, and I didn’t think they were. Maybe overrated is the word. In the defense of Landry Jones. He was probably a star in a group of very average players.”
In a way, you can see where Kiper is coming from. OU has been void of the top-level talent it had become accustomed to in years past.
But it’s not like they are trotting out a Sun Belt squad. The Sooners will have at least four players drafted (Jones, Stills, Tony Jefferson and Lane Johnson), maybe more.
And Lane Johnson’s likely inclusion in the top ten picks — man, has he skyrocketed up the boards — gives them one more first rounder than the Big 10 is expected to get.
…But anyway, here’s a bit more of Kiper on Landry Jones:
“When you say 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has the ideal size and NFL arm,” Kiper said. “He has shown, at various stages of his career, the ability to be talked about as the No. 1 overall pick, maybe like a Sam Bradford was, everybody thought he would follow that. He showed flashes, but then fell back in the later stages of his career.”