This year, the Oklahoma Sooners will confront a sobering reality: They have gone two full seasons without winning the Big 12 championship. This is a rarity for the Sooners under head coach Bob Stoops, who won league crowns in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. The general consensus among smart sportsbetting students is that Stoops is not bringing in the same amount of talent to Norman, Okla. The Sooners are not getting the imposing and physically impressive defensive linemen they used to snare on the recruiting trail. Therefore, the team is struggling. Oklahoma teams of past years would have been heavy favorites to win a weak Big 12 such as this year’s edition. The Sooners, though, will step on the field in 2013 as just one of several teams with a chance to win the league. That’s a sign of a program in decline.
As you realize that OU is no longer as robust on defense as it once was, it should not surprise you to realize that the Sooners’ best NFL hopefuls all reside on the offensive side of the ball. This is where Oklahoma has retained more of its talent in recent years, all while the defense has lost so much of its sting.
Wide receiver Jalen Saunders is one of OU’s best NFL prospects. He possesses noticeable quickness and an ability to get open, working the middle of the field extremely well and running cornerbacks ragged on short to intermediate routes. Saunders is not a devastatingly fast sprinter, but he makes quick cuts and sharp bursts in traffic to get separation from opposing corners. He is an above-average possession receiver, the kind of player a quarterback dreams of having for a third-and-six situation.
Another player pro scouts will pay a lot of attention to this season in Norman is running back Damien Williams, the agile and no-nonsense running back in the Sooners’ stable. Williams is shifty enough to make the first tackler miss in the flat. Williams can turn the corner and turn a zero-yard gain into a five-yard gain. That’s an important attribute for an NFL running back. The other thing that talent evaluators will really like about Williams is that he goes north-and-south on a regular basis. So many running backs try to run backward to set up big gains, but that process of running backwards can often lead to drive-crippling losses. Williams just runs straight ahead to maximize yards in tight spaces. This will endear him to a pro team out there on a future draft dayOklahoma’s other NFL-level playmaker on offense is wide receiver Jaz Reynolds. What stands out when evaluating this receiver – who has more flash and dash than Saunders – is his pair of hands. Reynolds is and has been the Sooner receiver who makes the spectacular kinds of catches you see on highlight reels late at night. He owns a degree of acrobatic ability that will catch the eye of NFL scouts.
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