One of the biggest dreams for any kid growing up is having their name called at the NFL Draft. I used to dream about it while I was playing flag football at recess and act like I scored the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.
This past weekend 262 players made that dream a reality and became NFL football players, including multiple familiar faces from the great state of Oklahoma.
Edge rusher Nik Bonitto was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 64th overall pick. He had 117 tackles and 18.5 career sacks at OU in 39 games. He is 13th all-time in career sacks at OU and was the PFF’s big 12 defensive player of the year in 2021.
Bonitto has drawn a lot of comparison to former Bronco and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and will try and fill his shoes in Denver.
Sooner Linebacker Brian Asamoah was drafted just two picks after his former teammate Nik Bonitto by the Minnesota Vikings. Asamoah had a breakout season in 2021, where he posted a team-high 90 tackles. He was also a second-team All-Big 12 selection and a Butkus Award semifinalist in 2021.
Asamoah will try and help the Vikings as they were one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year.
Defensive Tackle Perrion Winfrey was one of three Oklahoma players drafted by the Cleveland Browns this year. The Cleveland Browns drafted Winfrey in the 4th round with the 108th overall pick. Winfrey finished his OU career with 42 tackles and six sacks and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021.
Safety Delarrin Turner-Yell was also drafted by the Broncos alongside Nik Bonitto with the 9th pick in the 5th round. Turner-Yell accumulated 191 tackles and four interceptions in 31 starts for OU and was another second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021.
New Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero wants to be aggressive on defense, and Turner-Yell’s fly around the field and make plays mentality should fit well in that scheme.
The Browns drafted their second sooner player wide receiver Michael Woods with the No. 202 overall pick. He played three seasons at Arkansas before transferring to Oklahoma for his final season. Woods had 118 receptions for 1,648 yards, and 12 touchdowns in his career and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick in 2021.
With the departure of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. in the last season, the Browns desperately need depth at the wide receiver position, and the long and athletic Michael Woods meets that need.
The Sooner leader Isaiah Thomas was the third OU player picked by the Browns with the 2nd pick in the 7th round. The Tulsa native finished with 81 tackles, 18.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles in 43 games at OU and was another second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021.
The Browns need depth on the defensive line, and Thomas will help address that need while also fitting nicely into Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods’s scheme.
The last Oklahoma player taken was offensive lineman Marquis Hayes who the Arizona Cardinals drafted with the 257th pick. He started in 37 of OU’s last 38 games and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021.
Hayes goes to Arizona, where he will try and protect former Sooner quarterback Kyler Murray.
Wagoner, Oklahoma native Malcolm Rodriguez was the No. 188 overall pick by the Detroit lions. Rodriguez became only the fourth Cowboy to finish with over 400 tackles in his career and made the All-Big 12 first team in 2021.
Rodriguez will have a chance to make an impact quickly as he has experience on special teams and joins a defense with a struggling linebacker core. His speed and second-to-none tackling ability should get him some opportunities for the Lions.
Linebacker Devin Harper was the No. 193 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboy Linebacker had a breakout year in 2021, finishing with 96 tackles and six sacks. He was voted team captain by his teammates in 2021 and was also an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection.
Harper had a great pro day that showed his speed and athleticism, and he will try and make an impact for a Dallas Cowboy team that has struggled on defense in the last couple of years.
Golden Hurricane Offensive Lineman Tyler Smith was the 24th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2022 NFL Draft. He received first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2020 and second-team awards in 2021.
Smith is very strong and a freak athlete for an offensive lineman and, with some good coaching, could become a consistent starter for the Cowboys.
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