Archive for Friday, April 23, 2010

Big 12 bonanza: Five of top six picks from conference

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, left, was selected No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday in New York. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, center, was taken second by the Detroit Lions. Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was selected third by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, left, was selected No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday in New York. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, center, was taken second by the Detroit Lions. Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was selected third by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

April 23, 2010

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Sorrentino's Lightning Round: NFL Draft edition

Thursday’s 2010 NFL Draft put into perspective just how good the Oklahoma University football team could have been last season had it not been for injuries.

Three of the first four picks (Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams) suited up for the Sooners in 2009. Add Jermaine Gresham to that group, and OU totaled four first-round picks.

Bradford and Gresham were injured for the majority of the 2009 season, and OU sputtered to a surprising 8-5 record, fourth in the Big 12 South. The Sooners had represented the South in the Big 12 championship game six of the previous seven years.

As a conference, the Big 12 had nine first-round selections in 2010, breaking the previous record of seven first-rounders in 2009.

I’m excited to see if Bradford can bring the Rams back from the depths of 1-15. I’m stoked to see if Ndamukong Suh — the best player in college football last year — can wreak havoc with fellow Nebraska Cornhusker/free agent signing Kyle Vanden Bosch on the Detroit defensive front.

But what might be most exciting? Seeing Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who dropped to No. 24 overall, catch the deep ball from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Eric Sorrentino, KUSports.com Big 12 blogger

— The Rockettes would have loved this show.

From an early Oklahoma party to the Big 12’s dominance to Tim Tebow stealing the spotlight from overall top pick Sam Bradford, the NFL’s first prime-time draft was worthy of its Radio City Music Hall location.

Starting with quarterback Bradford going to the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, five of the top six picks were from the Big 12 — three of them Sooners. In all, nine first-rounders came from the conference.

“That’s pretty cool because I know the Big 12 has been getting a lot of slack lately,” said Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner. “People for some reason didn’t think that we played much football in the Big 12 and sure didn’t think we played much defense, so for two defensive tackles to go in the first three picks is a credit to the Big 12.”

Give Denver credit for gambling on Tebow, the mystery man of this draft.

When the Broncos took the Florida quarterback at No. 25, it drew the loudest reaction — a mix of cheers and boos — from the audience.

Tebow was the third Florida player chosen — and by far the most controversial selection Thursday night. A winner for four years with the Gators, including two national championships and the 2007 Heisman, his unorthodox style and strange throwing motion made for widely divided opinions on him.

Not, apparently, for Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who hopes he found the long-term replacement for Jay Cutler. In his rookie season as a head coach, McDaniels feuded with Cutler a year ago and traded him to Chicago.

“I enjoyed the working process and all the critics and the negativity,” Tebow said. “It only pushed me that much more and only made me work that much harder. I can honestly say that I think that made me better.”

Bradford could be a slight gamble, as well. The Oklahoma junior who became the eighth quarterback since 2001 taken atop the draft, appeared in only three games in 2009, his junior year, before undergoing right shoulder surgery. His recovery has been so complete that the Rams didn’t hesitate to make him the future face of the franchise.

Bradford joins a Rams team that was 1-15 last season and scored a league-low 175 points. The Rams cut incumbent Marc Bulger in the offseason.

Bradford was immediately followed Thursday night by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, the AP Player of the Year; DT Gerald McCoy and OT Trent Williams, Bradford’s teammates with the Sooners.

And what about the Sooners’ run at the top of the festivities?

“It’s insane isn’t it?” McCoy said with a huge smile. “We can’t play football in the Big 12, but the first four picks went out the Big 12? Mmmmm — three of ’em from Oklahoma, by the way.”

The SEC was almost as popular as the Big 12 with seven players chosen, three from Florida.

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