Friday, April 23, 2010
Sooners, Big 12 enjoy draft's first round
By ESPN.com staff
Thursday's first round was relatively free of surprises (apologies to Tyson Alualu and Jimmy Clausen) to Big 12 teams.
The first four picks came from the Big 12, three from Oklahoma, and the conference added five more through the rest of the first round.
"This was historic night, a statement for our program," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in a release. "Everyone associated with our program should be proud of what was accomplished in this draft. I am just overwhelmed and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know these guys and coach them." Stoops also added a fourth first-rounder in Jermaine Gresham, who went to the Bengals at No. 21.
"To think that four guys who came in as members of the same recruiting class went in the first 21 picks is amazing."
The Sooners were the first team to have three of the first four picks since Notre Dame in 1946, which bodes well for the Sooners' future, even after losing its talent. The Fighting Irish won national titles in 1947 and 1949.
They also won in 1946 with their three draft picks, but the Sooners played most of 2009 without 2008 Heisman winner Sam Bradford and Gresham.
Plenty of critics said Bradford made a mistake by coming back. Their volume only grew after Bradford suffered a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery in a season-opening loss, derailing the Sooners' second chance at a title. Thursday night, Bradford proved them wrong by becoming the first name off the board.
"I also want to salute these guys for staying in school," Stoops said, adding that each of the four players has or nearly has a degree. "I don’t know how you could look at this draft and think that these players did anything but improve themselves by staying for another year."
Here's where each of the Big 12's nine first-rounders were drafted.
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
6. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
14. Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas, DB, Texas
19. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
24. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State