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. He’s 6-foot-5, 307 pounds. Came to OSU from George Bush High School in Fort Bend, Texas, was the Big 12 offensive lineman of the year, made All-American and ended his career with 47 straight starts. He’s a gentle giant who is the ultimate bodyguard. "I’m going to try to hit you in the mouth more times than you hit me in the mouth,” Okung said. "That’s just the way I am.” Strong talk for a guy who ignored the NFL so he could make the 1:30 p.m. services at his Oklahoma City church. "It’s a game God led me to play,” Okung said of the irony. "He wouldn’t have put me here if I couldn’t play.” Left tackle has become an NFL position of status. The blind side. The sentry who keeps angry werewolfs off the guy throwing the ball. "The most valuable man on any team is the quarterback, and protection of the quarterback should be of utmost importance,” said Kevin Colbert, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ director of player personnel. Pass rush and quarterback protection is at the heart of the game. Ground zero. In the last four drafts, five quarterbacks, five defensive ends and five offensive tackles have been selected with a top-five pick. No other position has more than two top-five picks in that time. That makes left tackle a boom-or-bust position. You must produce. You must protect. Left tackles are franchise cornerstones. "I definitely say I’d welcome the pressure,” Okung said. "It’s a compliment just to be considered that.” Of course, there’s a downside to being Mr. Blind Side. They sort of need you on Sundays. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.