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Potential Pokes To Go Pro: 2016 NFL Draft Projection

Which Cowboys have what it takes to play on Sundays?

Emmanuel Ogbah speaks to reporters at Big 12 Media Days
Emmanuel Ogbah speaks to reporters at Big 12 Media Days
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Last season we saw only one Oklahoma State Cowboy selected in the NFL DraftJosh Furman was selected by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round. The Pokes were a supremely young team and only got younger by seasons end with plenty of injuries in Stillwater, including players such as starting quarterback J.W. Walsh and cornerback Ashton Lampkin.

Given that they were so young they didn't have very many draft eligible players.  Emmanuel Ogbah would've been drafted had he went into the draft after last season but chose to return for another run with the Cowboys (thank you, Ogbah).

Things will be slightly different this season as NFL scouts should be frequenting Stillwater with quite a few draft eligible players lining up for the Pokes. Guys like Emmanuel Ogbah, Kevin Peterson, Ryan Simmons, Brandon Shepherd and Jimmy Bean are all eligible to be drafted after this season. Let's take a look at where they could go as we enter the 2015 season.

Emmanuel Ogbah - Junior - Defensive End

The returning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year looks to build off of a strong 2014 where he recorded eleven sacks and seventeen tackles for loss.

The big draft-niks like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have him going as high as 5th in next years draft.  Let's hope he can improve on his 2014 numbers, which would be beneficial to Oklahoma State and Ogbah.

"Ogbah has an intriguing skill set and was highly productive during the 2014 season," Todd McShay.

If everything goes well for Ogbah he should hear his name called in round one at this years NFL Draft, the only question then will be which team and will he go for the bro hug or the full on hug when he's welcomed by Roger Goodell.

CRFF Projection: 1st round

Kevin Peterson - Senior - CB

Despite the down year for the Pokes Kevin Peterson performed well at corner. He was credited for 13 passes defended, two interceptions and 59 total tackles during his junior campaign. Something for the scouts to look at was his virtual shut down performance against West Virginia's wide receiver Kevin White. White, the eventual seventh overall pick to the Chicago Bears, was held to three catches for 27 yards, well off his average of nine catches for 145 yards per game. Peterson has been described as "less than ideal" when it comes to speed, which means if he can go out to the combine in February and post a sub 4.5 or right around 4.5 forty he should see his stock rise. Expect to see Kevin Peterson at the Senior Bowl in Mobile at seasons end.

CRFF projection: Late 2nd- Early 3rd round

Ryan Simmons - Senior - MLB

The leader on defense for the Cowboys the past few years, Simmons posted 96 total tackles with 12 tackles for loss last season. He returns for his second year as the leader in the middle for the Pokes. He isn't going to shock with his speed or size but he is almost always in the right spot at the right time. He's also been known to arrive with some pop You can credit his pro like approach to both his on and off the field success. Scouts and general managers will like his "pro like" approach which should help him garner interest.  If he can build on last years stats he should be in Mobile to attend the Senior Bowl like Peterson (I'm starting to get mildly excited for the Senior Bowl).

CRFF Projection: Late 4th - Early 5th round

Brandon Shepherd - Senior - WR

Shepherd came on really strong once Mason Rudolph became the starter at quarterback, which would lead you to expect big things from him this coming season.  Bedlam was a breakout game for him as he snagged seven catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns.  He followed that up with a solid five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Cactus Bowl victory over Washington.  Shepherd's measurable's, 6'1" 195,  won't scare away scouts.  I'm personally expecting Shepherd to continue his budding chemistry with Rudolph and burst on to the NFL radar in a big way this coming season.

My Projection: Right now:  5th - 6th Round; Season's end:  Late 2nd - Early 3rd Round

Best of the Rest - Here's a bundle of Cowboys who could make it in the NFL but will likely be late round guys or UDFA.

David Glidden - R. Senior - WR

Everyone's favorite slot receiver. Following in fellow Mustang Bronco Josh Cooper's footsteps Glidden has quietly become the most reliable wide receiver for the Pokes. Glidden is coming off of a career best 42 receptions for 598 yards and was named the Cowboys offensive MVP (by the coaches) for the 2014 season. He posted those numbers while playing with three different quarterbacks. The recent success of smallish slot receivers like Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Cole Beasley should help Glidden gain some footing with the NFL scouts.

Jimmy Bean - Senior - DE

Bean is often overshadowed by his counterpart Emmanuel Ogbah but he's no slouch and should be taken very seriously by both opposing team's defensive coordinators and by NFL scouts. Possessing a great frame at 6-feet-5-inches and weighing in at 250 pounds, he is what some offensive linemen think of when they talk about having nightmares.

Bean collected 42 tackles with six tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in 2014.He also sacked the quarterback three and a half times. Bean could benefit from teams loading up to stop Ogbah. He also should benefit from a more seasoned secondary which should cause the quarterback to hold the ball a bit longer. I'm expecting more sacks from Bean this season which should up his draft stock.

Jordan Sterns - Junior - S

A true Junior, Sterns racked up a team high 103 tackles in 2014, including a single game career high 20 against West Virginia. Sterns is a rangy safety who packs a punch when he arrives.  He is also a very solid tackler who rarely misses. Sterns also blocked two kicks last season. If he puts up big numbers again this year the NFL may come knocking with a year of eligibility remaining.