By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The final four rounds brought some relief to a couple of former Oklahoma players, surprising opportunities to three more and left one completely stunned.
The Sooners had five players selected Saturday, running their total to six with the inclusion of offensive tackle Lane Johnson who was taken No. 4 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round Friday.
Quarterback Landry Jones was snatched up by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round with the 115th overall pick. Obviously, it’s not a team that has a starting spot open. Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is only 31 years old and it’s highly doubtful Jones could unseat him unless the veteran suffers a major injury.
Jones said he expects to compete for the job, but is also realistic about the opportunity.
“At the end of the day, this is going to be a great opportunity for me whether I play quick or whether I have to sit and wait for a couple of years,” he said. “Getting to sit behind Ben Roethlisberger is going to be a huge opportunity for me. He’s a guy that’s been established in this league for a long time and I can learn from one of the best quarterbacks to play the game. I’m just really, really excited to get to work with him. I’m just really excited about this opportunity.”
Of course, Jones exhausted his eligibility before turning pro. Wide receiver Kenny Stills jumped into the process after his junior season. He went to the New Orleans in the fifth round with the 144th overall pick.
“No regrets at all. I have a strong faith in my plan. God’s plan was for me to go in the fifth round and I am where I am because of that,” Stills said. “All I have to do is go to work now and prove a lot of people wrong, a lot of people that doubted me and I love it. I love being the underdog.”
Stills grew up in San Diego and was giddy that he’ll catch passes from Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
“In high school, I caught some passes from Drew Brees when he was in San Diego,” he said. “So I know what he is capable of … it’s a prolific offense and it’s a huge opportunity for me to go in and play with some veterans and learn and be a sponge.”
The surprises came in the sixth and seventh rounds. Wide receiver Justin Brown, who played last season at OU after transferring in from Penn State, was selected by the Steelers with the 186th pick. Defensive tackle David King was selected by the Eagles with the 239th pick in the seventh round. Neither was invited to the NFL Combine in February.
Defensive tackle Stacy McGee was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 205th overall pick in the sixth round. McGee was suspended for the first six games and the bowl game against Texas A&M this season. Still, he has an opportunity to make an NFL roster next season.
Safety Tony Jefferson will, too. However, the All-American safety, who entered the draft after his junior season, was not selected. He tweeted Saturday night that he’s signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
However, most draft analysts had Jefferson projected in January going in the second to third round. The 4.75-second 40-yard dash time caused him to sink down draft boards. Still, Jefferson going undrafted was one of the 2013 NFL Draft’s biggest surprises.
Jefferson will have a teammate to room with as he tries to make the Cardinals’ roster. Safety Javon Harris also tweeted that he’d signed with them.
Punter Tress Way and cornerback Demontre Hurst both indicated they had inked deals with the Chicago Bears. Defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland signed with the San Diego Chargers.
Follow me @john_shinn
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.