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NFL Draft Prospect Series: Jordan Sterns

We continue our prospect breakdown with the hard-hitting safety.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft begins this Thursday, April 27th. Multiple former Oklahoma State players are hoping to hear their names called this weekend. We’re breaking down the draft profiles of each one through out the week leading up to round one of the draft.

We already looked at Chris Carson. Today we focus on Jordan Sterns.


Jordan Sterns

A large percentage of Oklahoma State fans would select Jordan Sterns first from the latest class of Cowboy NFL draft prospects. He has all the intangibles you want both on the field and in the locker room and a stat line you love to see from a defensive anchor.

However, the college and pro game are different and NFL coaches and general managers use a wide gamut of measurements to select a roster. Thus, Sterns may find it a bit rough breaking through in the next level.

Sterns’ on-field production alone qualifies him as a deserving draftee. He was a three-year starter for the Cowboys and totaled more than 100 tackles in each of those seasons, annually leading the team in that category. He’s instinctive against the run and improves when he plays near the line, which helped him notch 5.5 tackles for loss last year.

The Big XII honored Sterns with All-Conference honors twice—second team All-Big XII after the 2015 season and a first team selection his senior year.

It will be hard to ignore his production and leadership.” – Larry Zierlein, NFL Draft Profile

But an NFL safety needs to be able to tackle bigger, faster ball carriers and defend against pass-heavy offensive attacks. Sterns has shown an ability to make plays when the ball is in the air with three interceptions and five passes defensed in his senior season.

Sterns didn’t come down with the ball all the time, but he sure made it difficult for opposing receivers to do so or to feel comfortable traveling across the middle of the field.

However, even with his size and bulk potential, he lacks the elite athleticism, smooth transition and recovery speed to match the talent he’d be matching up against on Sundays.

More From Sterns’ NFL Draft Profile:

Strengths

Has adequate NFL size, but should be able to add more bulk if needed. Triggers fast against the run and had rare tackle production over a three-year run. Has ability to play robber spot and above average instincts give him a head start to challenge throws. Reads plant foot of quarterback on three-step drops and will jump slants. Tough and smart. A favorite of the coaching staff. Will go and get tackles on kick coverage unit.

Weaknesses

Average athlete who is a little stiff in his hips. Transitions are bulky. Slow in his pedal and not a natural pattern-matcher in man coverage. Thirsty in coverage and bites too readily on play-action and "sluggo" routes. Lacks long speed to recover when beaten. Lacks the range and athleticism to play centerfield. Box safety type, but isn't a commanding, physical presence.

Sources Tell Us

"He's the type of player you want in your locker room. He has to prove he's the type of player you want on your sideline. Has to play up near the line. His instincts are nice, but you can't have him in space for very long." – Regional scout for NFC East team

CRFF Bottom Line

I don’t expect Sterns to hear his name called this weekend, but I won’t at all be surprised to see a team sign him quickly after the draft and give him a shot to establish himself on special teams and as a potential locker room leader.

My advice to him would be to sign with a team that already has an elite safety Sterns can learn from as he seeks to continue his career at the next level.

Regardless of how the chips fall for what most of us would call an underrated draft prospect, Sterns had a remarkable Cowboy career filled with great plays and leadership, as evidenced in this video:

Where would you like to see Sterns play in the NFL? Let us know in the comments below.