NORMAN — One of the reasons Oklahoma is on the national championship contenders’ short list for 2014 will be on display beginning Thursday in New York.
The Sooners went 11-2 and topped Alabama in the Sugar Bowl without a player the NFL currently considers worthy of a first-round selection. No OU players are expected to be taken when the draft begins Thursday night in New York.
That scenario was solidified when cornerback Aaron Colvin suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament back in January.
“It was just a shame that he got hurt because I think he could’ve been a late first- or second-round pick,” ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said.
Injuries are part of the reason an OU player isn’t expected to be selected until the third round on Friday and possibly the fourth round or later on Saturday.
What NFL draft analysts see is a lot of middle to late round value from the Sooners. It’s a matter of positional need. Long ago, NFL general managers put a heavy financial importance on six positions. On offense, quarterback, left tackle and big wide receivers. On defense, linemen who can rush the passer and cornerbacks that can match up with big wide receivers.
Financially, it’s a passing league. Those who can either improve it or defend are in high demand.
Despite the injury, Colvin is considered a safe middle-round pick because of what he did during his college career.
“I think he would have been a late one to mid two if he hadn’t had the ACL,” NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “I think he’ll probably go still in the fourth round and somebody is going to get a tremendous value on him.”
Whether Colvin can play next season remains to be seen. The timetable is typically around eight to 11 months. He likely won’t be able to play most of the regular season.