As another NFL regular season comes to a close, I decided to take a look at how some of our favorite former Oklahoma State Cowboys are doing at their next-level jobs.
According to ESPN, there are 10 former Cowboys on 8 different teams. So let’s take a look at who they are, and how their season went.
Dan Bailey - Kicker, Dallas Cowboys
The former Oklahoma State all-time leading scorer has had another good year wearing the blue and silver of “America’s Favorite Team”, the Dallas Cowboys.
Bailey has made 25 of 30 field goals this season, and is perfect inside the 40 yard line. Mr. Automatic was also a perfect 45-45 on extra points, giving him a total of 120 points this season. He now has 756 career points, good for third best in Dallas Cowboys’ all time scoring history, behind Emmitt Smith (986) and Rafael Septien (874).
Bailey’s best game this season was the season opener vs the Giants. He was 4-4 on field goals, hitting from 23, 25, 54, and his season long 56 yards. He also knocked through the only extra point opportunity he had in the game.
Bailey and the Cowboys made the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC and earned themselves a bye this week.
Justin Blackmon - WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
While Blackmon hasn’t played in the league since 2013, he still remains part of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Should he ever be reinstated, he will be part of the Jags, just as he was when he was suspended.
The main reason I included Blackmon is because I want you to read this story from The Ringer. I remember reading this story when it first came out, and I just reread it now. It’s sad to see what has happened to one of the best receivers of his time.
Dez Bryant - WR, Dallas Cowboys
This season, Dez Bryant has had one of his less-than-stellar seasons in his career stat-wise, but there’s a good reason for this. Bryant missed three games early on in the season, so he only played in 12 of the team’s 16 games.
Anyways, in his shortened 2016 campaign, Bryant had 50 receptions for 796 yards and 8 TDs. His best game came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he caught 6 of 9 targets for 116 receiving yards and a touchdown.
In his seven years in the NFL, Bryant has scored 416 total points. That’s good for 6th best on the all-time scoring leaders list, and he is only 40 points behind Bob Hayes and becoming part of the top 5 in Cowboys’ history.
As mentioned earlier, the Cowboys’ season continues with the team making the playoffs.
Shamiel Gary - Safety, Buffalo Bills
In his second year in the NFL, and first with the Bills, Shamiel Gary has had a very quiet season. In fact, he has only played in two games and only has one tackle. At only 26 years old, I hope he earns more playing time and gathers up more stats.
Justin Gilbert - CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Following two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Gilbert was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. in 11 games this season, he has three tackles. Gilbert has also returned three kicks for the Steelers this season, with a long of 32 yards.
The second-string CB is looking to prove himself with his new team and move up in the rotation. The third year pro is looking to improve his career in Pittsburgh.
He might get the chance on Sunday, when the Steelers welcome the Dolphins to Pittsburgh for an AFC Wild Card game.
Emmanuel Ogbah - Linebacker, Cleveland Browns
The rookie is making quite the splash in the NFL, despite being on the lowly Browns. In his first season, Ogbah played in 15 games. In those 15 games, he recorded 27 solo tackles and 25 assisted tackles for a total of 52 in his rookie campaign.
Ogbah led the team with 5.5 sacks this season, and also added on three tackles for loss, along with three passes defended.
Ogbah’s best game of his rookie year was October 23rd when they traveled to the Bengals. He had six tackles (five solo), and two sacks.
Sounds to me like the beginning of a long and successful career.
Russell Okung - Offensive Tackle, Denver Broncos
Offensive linemen are the hardest to keep stats for, so let’s take a look at a couple of stats I feel are relevant.
According to PFF, as of week 11, the Broncos have the 25th ranked offensive line. Not good. Okung seems to be on the downswing as well, having allowed 38 total QB pressures as of week 11. At the time, that was second-most among left tackles in the league. Not good.
Trevor Siemian has taken a beating all season, as that offensive line has allowed 40 sacks and 100 QB hits, which puts them in the bottom third in both categories. Not good at all.
Okung, the #6 pick overall in 2010, has been in the league for seven years now, so it isn’t that odd to believe he is coming up to the end of his career. He won a Super Bowl ring in 2014, and the Broncos have the option to extend his contract this season. There have been rumors that the Broncos are looking at a complete overhaul of the offensive line, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t pick up Okung’s option.
Antonio Smith - Defensive End, Houston Texans
This is the 13th season for Smith, with most of his career split between the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans. After a brief year in Oakland and Denver each, Smith is back in Houston.
This season, he has four tackles and 0.5 sacks in 12 games played. Smith is another player who is likely nearing the end of his career. He has blown away the average career length of 3.3 years, and has an impressive 315 tackles, 47.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, and 10 passes defended.
Smith and the Texans will welcome Oakland to Houston on Saturday for an AFC Wild card playoff game.
Lane Taylor - Guard, Green Bay Packers
Here’s another guard that doesn’t really have any individual stats, so I’ll use the same stats as I used for Okung.
By week 11, the Packers were fifth best in the league in offensive line rankings. As a unit, they allowed 72 total pressures. That’s twice as many as Okung has individually. They allowed 35 sacks and 76 QB hits throughout the regular season. These numbers are middle of the pack in the league, but they would likely be lower if Rodgers didn’t run around and escape the pocket and force the line to try and chase him and block all over the field.
Green Bay faces New York in the NFC Wild Card round on Sunday evening.
Brandon Weeden - QB, Houston Texans
Finally, we get to the other half of the #Weeden2Blackmon combo. In the NFL, Weeden has been a backup for most of his career, getting starting opportunities with Cleveland and Dallas.
Now Weeden is in Houston, but he has not played yet. That may soon change, as Houston is running out of QBs. Brock Osweiler is looking like a $72 million bust, and backup Tom Savage may or may not have a concussion, so the Texans may be looking for a little bit of Weeden Magic in their Wild Card game against the Raiders next Saturday.
Congrats to every Oklahoma State alumnus on their season. We can’t wait to see which current Cowboys join them in the NFL in 2017.