It’s time for another edition of the Cowboys Ride For Free Roundtable, where our staff of editors, writers, and contributors offer their thoughts on Oklahoma State athletics. This week we’re talking about the NFL Draft, specifically the former Cowboys now trying to make a team and which Cowboys still on the roster are likely to be NFL-bound next year.
Without further adieu...
Oklahoma State had two players drafted this year, Vincent Taylor and Chris Carson. Which one is more likely to actually stick with his team?
Gallagher Martin: I don't see why they both can't stick with their team. Taylor is going to be a handful on the interior defensive line and the Seahawks need depth at the running back position. We all expected Taylor to get drafted, but I'm excited for Carson. If he had duplicated his senior success into his junior year, he's probably a higher draft pick than the 7th ground. Regardless, the potential is there for him to succeed.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: If I have to say one, I would say Vincent Taylor. As I wrote after he was drafted, Miami is not very deep at DT. There are two starting DT spots on the team and Miami has six bodies listed on their roster to fill the two spots, and two are rookies that were drafted yesterday. In contrast, Seattle has ELEVEN RBs on their roster, with names like Thomas Rawles, C.J. Prosise and Eddie Lacy expected to carry the ball. Carson has a ton of competition, while Taylor will likely be on the active roster week one.
Phillip Slavin: Since I said one, I’ll go with Taylor as well. Not because I don’t think Carson will stick in the NFL, I just don’t think he’ll stick with Seattle. As Tyler mentioned, Seattle has an overabundance of running backs on the roster. Not that Carson can’t make the roster, I just think there’s a better chance he doesn’t and ends up getting picked up by another team that doesn’t have the running back depth.
As for Taylor, I think his ability to get to the quarterback is going to make him valuable, at worst, as a back up behind often-in-trouble Ndamukong Suh. I think he’s in a Dolphins jersey on Sundays next season.
Brodie Smith: Odds are Taylor is going to be the one to stick as an earlier selection at a position that needs as many bodies as possible throughout the course of the season. I'd like Carson to make it because he's a good back with a great story, but I also know NFL backs are almost a dime a dozen and often don't last very long in the league. Here's hoping for both to beat the odds.
Cade Webb: Because of his skill set, I'll give the slight lean to Chris Carson. I think he will be a tremendous fit with the Seattle Seahawks, and they are in need of a running back. He will be able to go in and position himself for some immediate playing time. That being said, I don't see any reason as to why Vincent Taylor can't have a prosperous NFL career as well. He is a little shorter than most NFL DT's, but he makes up for it with strong hands and explosiveness. I think both of them stick around in the NFL for at least a few seasons.
Joel Penfield: I think both will stick with their teams. Taylor may not start right away but he'll get a lot of reps on the interior. Carson will make the Seahawks as well, his physical style of running molds perfectly with the types of running backs they have brought in in recent years. He'll probably start on special teams for a couple years but I could see him getting some time in short yardage situations.
Which former OSU player were you most surprised wasn't drafted?
Gallagher: Nothing surprised me about the draft as far as Oklahoma State goes. I thought Jordan Sterns would be a 6th or 7th round draft pick, but it's not like the NFL passed him up completely.
Tyler: I was surprised Jarwin wasn't drafted. A TE who can catch, run and block? With the experience at Cowboy Back for OSU, it shows he can work well out of the backfield as well. It wasn't long after the draft that he agreed to terms with the Cowboys, but I was still a bit surprised nobody used a pick on him.
Phillip: I went into the draft REALLY believing that Jordan Sterns would get drafted. I figured he would be a seventh rounder, but still I thought he’d get his name called. He may not have the traditional speed you want from a safety, that never stopped him from being averaging 100+ tackles a year his last three seasons at OSU. Not to mention those HITS
However, as a Chiefs fans I am PUMPED he got picked up by Kansas City and think he’s a perfect fit. I’m not the only one.
Brodie: None of them really surprised me. We understood going in that the crop of former Cowboys wasn't as deep as we would've liked to see. The hope was to see more draftees, but it just didn't work out for this group. Now, they'll each get a shot to prove they belong in the NFL. They just have to work extra hard to make it.
Cade: I was actually pretty surprised to see Blake Jarwin not get drafted. The TE position in the NFL is heavily valued and I think Jarwin has most of the necessary tools to be a successful TE in the NFL. I'm also glad he landed with my Dallas Cowboys.
Joel: Jordan Sterns. He can drop back in coverage and he can also lay the wood on the run. Even though he didn't get drafted, I think he fits in perfectly in Kansas City. Working with Eric Berry, the best safety in the NFL, will do so much for him.
Of the five undrafted free agents who landed with teams (Sterns, Lampkin, Jarwin, Seales, Pipkins) who is most likely to get a contract next season?
Gallagher: I really like Jordan Sterns as a hard-hitting strong safety. If he is able to make the Chiefs and learn from Eric Berry, I really like his chances of having a nice career. I also like Blake Jarwin's versatility, and we all know Jhajuan Seales has as much talent as anyone else on the WR chart, minus Washington. I'm excited for all 7 Cowboys, however, and I think they all have potential to succeed at the next level.
Tyler: I would guess Jhajuan Seales. The Chicago Bears don't have a lot of successful guys at wide receiver. Part of this is because Jay Cutler couldn't hit a WR if it was an offense-only practice, so nobody worth their salt sticks around. That will probably change now with Cutler gone and successful QBs such as Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez and newly-drafted Mitchell Trubisky now on the roster.
ANYWAYS, I think Seales has an opportunity to go in and become a regular receiver for Da Bears, as long as he can get the ball in his hands. Now, here's a quick preview of the Bears this season.
Isn't trash talking fun?
Phillip: I think you can see my answer above. I absolutely think that Sterns finds a place in the NFL, likely with the team that picked him up. He’s the kind of hard working, hard hitting guy you want on your team. After that, I think Jarwin has a good chance of sticking with the Cowboys. As good as Jason Witten is, he’s not getting any younger. Plus, Jarwin’s abilities as a blocker will only help boost an already solid run game.
Brodie: I think it will be Jarwin or Seales. Though defensive backs are needed now more than ever—the NFL is a passing league—the offensive side of the football gives unheralded players more and more opportunities to shine and break through, especially with stars on the outside attracting double coverage. If you can catch and gain some yards, the odds are ever in your favor.
Cade: I think it is Jordan Sterns by a landslide. I absolutely love him being in Kansas City. He could be a tremendous fit in that defense, and he'll get to learn from arguably the best safety in the AFC in Eric Berry. This is a fantastic situation for a player with an extreme work ethic. I think he sticks around in KC for a while.
Joel: I thinks Sterns has the best chance, his physical play will work on that KC defense. It also wouldn't surprise me to see Blake Jarwin get a contract as well. Jason Witten is getting towards the tail end of his career so Jarwin could see time in Oklahoma State South.
Looking to next season, OSU could have their biggest draft year since having three players drafted in 2012 including two in the first round. Which current OSU players get drafted next year?
Gallagher: Obviously Rudolph and Washington are potential first round selections. JJ McCleskey, Chris Lacy, and Marcell Ateman will at least get looked at by the NFL. I could also see Chad Whitener getting some love from NFL scouts. There's also Clemson grad transfer Adrian Baker. Haven't seen much of him, but he could be a potential UDFA that gets signed.
Tyler: Mason Rudolph and James Washington will obviously be drafted in the first round barring - God forbid - a total collapse and/or career-threatening injuries.
I also think a couple of sophomores have a chance to be drafted next year. If Tyron Johnson is the super-athletic freak that we have been hearing about, he could be instrumental to OSU's success. The more likely sophomore to go would be Justice Hill. There's a reason Hill was in the top three of our most important Cowboys in 2017. A repeat of a season like the one he had in his freshman campaign could spell the end of his college career a couple years early. Maybe Ramon Richards? Nothing against the kid, but I'm gonna have to see a lot of improvement in the season if he wants to be drafted - maybe a late rounder. However, a breakout year and a national championship does wonders for a player's draft stock...
Phillip: Aside from the obvious of Mason Rudolph and James Washington, I’m curious to see Aaron Cochran, the offensive tackle grad-transfer from Cal. If he is as good as we are being led to believe, a great season with OSU could be just the thing to make him an NFL Draft pick. The other guy I’m curious about is Marcell Ateman. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve actually seen him play. If he’s healthy, and can stay that way, he could finally live up to the expectations. Even with the depth at receiver, if Ateman can be the player we’ve all been waiting for, I think there’s a good chance he’s at worst, a late round draft pick next season.
Brodie: #waittilnextyear actually has a positive ring to it here. Rudolph and Washington are sure things, provided they can avoid injuries. McCleskey could see a tremendous boost after another year in the offense. I also expect Ateman to have a triumphant return to the field. However, perhaps the most unexpected success will be revealed with the drafting of a couple of OSU linemen and another couple from the defensive unit. The lack of picks from the Cowboy stable this year will more than be made up for in 2018.
Cade: The two obvious draftees, both of whom will probably go in the first round barring unforeseen circumstances, are Mason Rudolph and James Washington. After that, it's a bit of a wash. You could make the case for Chad Whitener and/or Zach Crabtree, but both of them have glaring weaknesses in their game. The NFL doesn't typically treat those kinds of players very kindly. I also don't want to write off the two grad transfers. Aaron Cochran, at 6'8" 350 could get drafted based on his size alone, if he has a halfway successful season. Adrian Baker, being a former ESPN 300 recruit and an impressive physical presence, could also find his way into the late rounds of the draft with a solid season.
Joel: Mason Rudolph and James Washington are the obvious choices here, likely they are both 1st round picks. I'll throw out a couple bold ones here, for the sake of the question. Tre Flowers has a good chance because of his run stopping ability. I also (crazily enough) think Ramon Richards could have a chance, purely from an athletic standpoint. I also think guys like Marcell Ateman, Chris Lacy, and Jalen McCleskey (if he leaves early) could get NFL opportunities.