evans TFB’s First Annual ‘Staff Picks’ (Round One)

Image via Sooner Sports

Some of you that followed me here from my previous Internet stop may remember this feature, although we have decided to give it a different name. (But I believe those who are familiar with the previous version will still know what I’m referring to. If it matters, which it probably doesn’t.) It was something I started and figured we could continue on the tradition here at TFB. For those unfamiliar, this was an idea originally attributed to Baseball Prospectus and since then, there have been any number of variations derived from that original premise. It’s always a fun thing for me to put together and, of course, also offers all of you a chance to tab your own ‘My Guys’ and share them with us in the comments section. It’s also something we can revisit following the season to see how each of us did.

In an effort to avoid duplicate picks, we’ll go about our selections in something of a draft format. The beauty of this is there really is no set criteria for how you determine your picks. We’ll offer up a relatively brief explanation as to why we picked who we did (and you are welcome to do the same), but aside from that however you justify your picks is entirely up to the individual. You can pick someone who you know will play an important role in the coming season, or you can pick a guy who you believe others are sleeping on and could have a breakout season. Before they play a snap, there are no wrong picks. Generally, I’ve tried to pick the non-obvious guy who may be a little under the radar, or an up-and-coming underclassman perhaps. There’s certainly nothing wrong with taking a guy like Eric Striker, but it’s always struck me as a little Captain Obvious of sorts.

But don’t let that deter you. As I said, there are no wrong picks prior to the first snap. So with that let us get started. And after be sure to share your picks with us in the comments.

* Ed. note – We’re going to split this into multiple posts in the order in which we ‘drafted’ our picks. We’ll start with the first round, then second, and so on. We did a snake-draft (I’m going to assume the majority of you know what that means) with an order of myself, JY, then K.

Jordan’s First Pick: Steven Parker

It seems as though from the first day he set foot on campus, we’ve heard almost nothing but rave reviews on the former Jenks standout. And from the day he committed, I believe it was Mike Stoops’ intention for Parker to play as a true freshman. There are some believe he could be the most talented safety since (The Real) Roy Williams was patrolling Owen Field. While I’m not quite ready to go there just yet, there is no denying his talent. So much so that it would appear M.Stoops is willing to shuffle his secondary around a bit in an effort to give Parker every chance to see the field early and often this season. Whether it’s at safety, nickel back, or somewhere else, I’m absolutely convinced the coaches are going to find a way to get Parker on the field. And knowing the type of player he is, I’ll be stunned if Parker fails to make a significant impact.

JY’s First Pick: Jordan Evans

I don’t think anyone had a better spring than Evans.  He was blowing up screens, physical in the run game, and his frame allows him to do things that other backers can’t.  He played really well against Jace Amaro from Tech last fall and was able to run with him and cover like a corner.   He’s that rare guy who can play the Mike in a Cover-2 scheme and get really deep on his drops with ease.  I look for Evans to be all conference this year and be on some Butkus watch lists a year from now.

Super K’s First Pick: Julian Wilson

This might be a bit of an emotional pick for me. Julian has been doubted for a long time, but I know how hard he’s worked and want things to work out for him. There is a reason DCs love big corners, but there is also a reason they are hard to find. Corners have to be able to change direction. When bigger, taller people move in one direction, it takes more force to counteract the energy in that direction to bring the body back into balance. Corners, like fighters, have to imagine an imaginary pole running through their body, and they need to maintain a fairly even weight distribution around that pole. I think the question about whether Julian can actually shift his weight back-and-forth and change direction is a legitimate one, but I believe he’s going to show that he can do it.

One of the things anyone who has competed at high level will tell you is that what you are now, and what you can become with hard work and attention to detail, is so vastly different that the change feels miraculous. Former FSU CB Stanford Samuels once told me that “what is comfortable is what we do repeatedly.” Julian did a good job covering guys in space last year at the nickel spot, and at the CB spot he’ll have the sideline to help him. And by all accounts, he’s really learned to use his size to be physical with receivers. As we’ve told you throughout the spring/summer, Julian has worked hard with Coach Viney to really refine his game. And I believe that those details are what will help him demonstrate the necessary agility and precision to play the finesse aspect of the game.

But beyond all the physical is the mental aspect that Julian, as a veteran senior, brings to the game. Corner is as much about identifying routes as it is about having the athleticism and technique to match up with WRs. As you get further away from the line of scrimmage, a WR’s options on the route tree begin to dwindle. If you know what you might see at 10 yards, and then at 20 yards, you can make up for any lack of explosion by simply understanding what the WR is doing before he does it. I really hope Wilson has a great year!

As we said above, we’ll continue to post our picks round-by-round, but for now tell us and your fellow TFB readers who your first pick would be and why in the comments below.


  • Zack

    For my first pick I’m gonna go with bell. He’s always been a favorite of mine and I hope he has years of success at TE here and at the next level.

    • Jordan Esco

      Love the pick.

    • Chris Pedersen

      Yeah this is my heart of hearts pick…a great year would make the legend of the belldozer tough to ever top

      • Zack

        I hope he ends up with 10 receiving touch downs. He would have a very historic career if he managed to get those numbers.
        24 rush td, then 12 pass td, and 10 rec td…

    • Shifty

      I really think Bell (and the tightends as a group) is going to have a big year and make an impact on our offense vertically…watching some of Bells longer runs has to get fans excited about his ability running in space 1 on 1 against smaller dbs…he just abuses them! The Belldozer isn’t retired, it’s moving towards open track…get ready to hear the horn!! Cuz the trains coming!!

  • Grandadsooner

    Derrick Woods. One catch made a lot of difference, even though he has two.

    • Jordan Esco

      I could definitely see that. OU has so many guys at WR who could breakout in 2014.

  • Chris Pedersen

    I’m going with darlington…too many other sexy choices so I’ll take the butt ugly one..(no offense ty!) no one is talking about what we’re losing at center this year and my prediction is no one will notice as it will be a very seamless transition and he will quietly solidly anchor our o-line

    • Jordan Esco

      solid pick

      • J J

        Shoot. Gabe Lynn is gone huh?

        • Jordan Esco

          You can still pick him if you’d like, I’ll grant you an exemption.

          • J J

            Once is enough for me thanks! But he performed well last year… For the circumstances

          • soonermusic

            Can I pick Clay again? :-)

        • Chris Pedersen

          I’m hoping a someone on the cowgurls or shorthorns gets a gabe Lynn replacement

          • J J

            Lol! Some of their secondary choices make Gabe Lynn look all pro! Gabe is someone (like Lindy Holmes) that the coaches moved around way too much IMO

  • CPSooner

    I will take KJ Young. Seems like a perfect fit for the slot. I love the way he catches and immediately gets north and south. OU has had a pretty good history recently with successful slot receivers, and KJ will be the next.

    • Jordan Esco

      Solid. I’m expecting him to start in the slot and could have a big role in the offense this season.

      • JJsooner1

        Jordan, does he have the ability we saw Jalen spoil us with?

        • Jordan Esco

          Not quite (tho he’s a talented player in his own right), but IMO Quick absolutely does and he’ll see plenty of time in the slot as well.

      • http://batman-news.com Stuart Burman

        I guess that means Shep has pretty much moved to the outside then?

        • Jordan Esco

          That seems to be the plan (at least for now.

  • JJsooner1

    OK, great idea Jordan!! I’ll go with one obvious choice 1st. Jordan Phillips, assuming good health, is due to impress even more. Alex Ross is my second choice. I think Coach got in his head a lil bit and he’ll be taking out more on opposing tacklers rather than losing his cool. My last will be going way out on a limb. Baker Mayfield, if he wins his eligibility, will save a game o two for us and provide the offense with more options(as if they need any).

    • Shifty

      No cheating…you only get one choice…:D

      • JJsooner1

        Ooopsie!! Then I’ll take Ross:-)

        • thedeez

          Alex was a “my guy” last year. I like his chances of making an impact even more this year.

  • J J

    This is gonna be a really long 10 days…. I’ll take Tapper

    • JJsooner1

      What made you pick him JJ? Maybe the SB play where he ran down a receiver from behind?:)

      • J J
        • JJsooner1

          Kudos.

  • Perry Dickey

    I’ve been really excited about two players in the past. They were, ‘my guys’. Jejuan Rankins and Jermie Calhoun. I suck at this. But look forward in every way to what you guys have!

    • Chris Pedersen

      Lol pick j Winston then

  • Scott

    Dimitri Flowers

    • J J

      Solid pick. He will be a contributor

  • Shifty

    I’m gonna take Geneo…he had a decent year and finished strong in the bowl game…moving to a OLB he is going to go from having size disadvantage to an advantage…going up against OTs and Gs will really show his physicality when now going up against TEs and RBs…with his athleticism he will still be able to drop into coverage…remember we’re talking about a guy who played TE as well…in the Sugar Bowl he showed his athleticism multiple times scooping up the loose ball and making an incredible effort for the td and another return that really turned the tide, if you will, of the game at a critical point in the second quarter…a huge momentum swing…with time and film study he will learn his coverages and be one of the best OLBs in the conference (nice having two top OLBs on your team with the backer woes just too years ago huh)

    • Zack

      Great pick it was tough to not choose him for my first pick but I expect a monster year from him.

    • JJsooner1

      Great choice and sound rationale Shifty.

  • BR

    Ill take Samaje Perine

  • http://memasauthenticsalsa.com Sonny

    Alex Ross is the guy I want to see tear it up. Growing up around Tulsa I really like to watch these local guys tear it up.

    • CPSooner

      JJSooner beat ya to it….he took Ross like 5 min before you did.

    • http://memasauthenticsalsa.com Sonny

      Actually he didn’t since he chose two. My reply came before his second reply. I will take Smallwood then.

      • Drew

        Nice pick on Smallwood, thought he looked really impressive in the spring game.

  • Lesslie Stanford

    With the first pick in the first annual TFB draft I will take number 2 Michiah Quick.

    • Shifty

      Solid pick…him and Young have been standing out in the slot

  • CS

    Man! So, I go with Trevor Knight!! Captain Obvious – ofcourse

  • SoonerMike

    I’ll take durron
    He will finally get his chance and he is gonna go beast mode.

  • longshot Sooner

    D wins championships and it all starts in the middle I will take Jordan Phillips…. I know he’s been picked but I have to go with the big man.

    • Doobie74OU

      Great minds think alike!

      • longshot Sooner

        YES SIR!! Then its safe to assume just as I do that he will be the X factor for us this year.. He may not WOW anyone with stats but its the double teams and the little things he can do that will make us an elite defense this year.

        • Doobie74OU

          Yeah I was posting the same thing at the same time as you! LOL!

  • Hustle Town USA 713

    I’m taking Zach “Dirty” Sanchez Lock down corner. Shut down one side of the field

  • Doobie74OU

    Well he isn’t bursting on the scene or anything but he is making a return to the defense and for that reason I’m going to choose Jordan Phillips. In this 3-4 defense it is such a luxury to have a guy that can not only clog up the middle (like Wade did a nice job last year) but a guy that can be truly disruptive right in the face of the QB on passing downs. I think if he stays healthy Jordan Phillips has a monster year!

  • Jeremy Phillips

    Blake Bell.. Hes a huge target, should get some goaline opp., could possibly score double digit TD’s..

  • Birddawg

    no love for the oline?
    Darryl Williams ! Got to protect your qb.

  • soonermusic

    I mentioned him the other day–Woods, and would pick him as my under the radar guy. Someone named him above, so if that breaks the rules I pick the captain obvious S. Shepard.

  • roygbell

    I will quickly take Quick, Michiah of course. Of all the newcomers I think this kid has a chance to quickly insert his talents in the OU offense this coming year.

  • Soonerfan24

    I’ll take Taylor McNamara. Blake Bell has garnered the majority of the attention this offseason. However, I like McNamara to break out of Bell’s shadow and remind fans of a sooner great, Trent Smith.

  • OUknowitscomin

    Obo – I think he’s gonna have a break out year. Mostly from players comments about being extremely hard to block. Will be splitting time of course, but love his combination size, speed & strength.

  • bjwalker82

    Dimitri Flowers for me (sentimental because Trey Millard was always – from day 1 – my fav of the 2010 class). I would really love to take Tap actually.

    • trebizond

      seconded.

  • Randy White

    Hmm, under the radar. I’m going to pick the most talented player on the team and who’s skills win football games. M. Hunnicutt

  • Jed

    WhooooHah! Striker is still on the board. DAYUM! I win!

  • Boom

    Horkey will dominate. My pick is Grissom. While Wilson is trying to improve his draft stock by playing CB, I think Grissom with a big year will jump up some draft boards for a team playing the same scheme.

  • Sooner8494

    Since I’m late and everyone got the really “good” picks, I’ll go out on a limb and select Josh Heupel! WHAT you might say??? Moron you might say??? :)
    Belief that Heupel has finally come into his own and we will see the type of game planning we saw in the Sugar Bowl and this offense will vastly exceed last years production!!!
    Book it. Take it to the house.
    ………
    So “technically” I just drafted the whole offense…just so you all know.
    :)

  • Shelby is a Patriot

    I’ll take Mead, then, we’ve been hearing a lot about him and maybe he’ll get some playing time.

  • Stats

    Jordan Evans. Was thinking it before I read he was JY’s choice, but I’m willing to be JY’s team if we’re not allowed duplicate picks. Drinking so much Kool-Aid that I’m wondering if we have any starters that won’t be All-Americans, or at least All-Big12…

  • Drew

    This might seem like a more “captain obvious” pick, but I’m going to take Sterling Shepard. Now, I know we all expect a ton from him, but I feel like he’s been overshadowed by Saunders the past couple years, and I don’t think that’s fair to him. No disrespect to Saunders, I’m a huge fan of his as well, but from the moment Shepard stepped on the field, he was the one I felt was the heir to Broyles. I really hope, with him being the veteran on the corp this year, that he shines and gets the media attention he deserves.

  • ohiosoonerdevildog

    I will go with Dirty Sanchez. If he learns to not bite on the double move he has a chance to be a shutdown corner.

    • ohiosoonerdevildog

      And if like Colvin he can shut down one side of the fiel, that makes our d even better.

  • Taylor Willmann

    You know what? Sure you can say Mr. KJ, but I’m going with Mr. QUICK. Michiah Quick will have an even better year than KJ Young. I suspect Quick to actually flourish quicker and get the ball more often than people expect. He’s my Super Sleeper 1st pick.

  • Mike Reed

    Since we are going “under the radar”, I’m picking Jordan Smallwood. Haven’t heard much about him in fall camp but I believe he can be a good one. Good size for a receiver and can get physical.

  • ToatsMcGoats

    I’m going with Obo as well. It was between him and Perine, but I like the under the raw guys as well.

  • OmorganU

    It may have already been mentioned, I hope not but Durron Neal is a guy that has a chance to take over and be a true leader among the WR group. I still remember drooling over his HS film and seeing how great he was. He has been over shadowed by a lot of great WR’s but he’s in the spotlight now and I expect him to tear it up. Calling it now, he will be a sooner great and win many trophies.

  • The Walk on

    Special teams pick here, Horky, the new deep snapper will be perfect all year.

  • Kevin Moore

    I’m surprised no one has taken Rip yet. With the commitment to running the ball I look for him to rip a few linebackers and defensive backs heads off this year! ; )

  • Brad Warren

    Great stuff! So excited for the season. Houston Nutt watched practice yesterday and was impressed by everything he saw. From defense, WR, RB, O line…across the board. Boomer!

    • Jed

      Gigitty!

  • kt-raida

    I’m glad you are doing these i use to love Em!!!!

  • SamSooner

    I’m picking Trevor Knight. There’s more to him than we see. With the offensive line we have, and an effective zone read, RB talent waiting to bust loose, I expect he will complete 70% of his passes or better. In addition, the receivers will tote the rock after the catch. Don’t be surprised to see a 4,000 passing yard season from Trevor.

  • Gary Robbins

    I’m going with Dominique Alexander. Believe the game has slowed down for him and he will DOMinate this year.

    • Zack

      Gary you took my 2nd pick

      • Zack

        I’m thinking 120+ tackles this season.

        • Gary Robbins

          I hope so. He has bulked up and it looks like all muscle.. Schmitty and crew are doing their thing.

    • soonermusic

      He’s my second pick as well or maybe third if I pick trevor…

    • ToatsMcGoats

      “DOMinate”…nice!

  • Josh

    Speaking of Impact Players making Impact Plays….
    10 Days Till Football Time in Oklahoma!!! These players made an impact in Sooner history with some signature plays over the years… The Kick, The Pick, and The Belldozer!! Boomer!!

    • EasTex

      That “dime” jersey was worn by so many great Sooners.
      Got to give you credit, Josh, you overcame your kicker bias and showed some love for a gamer.

      • Josh

        Uwe directing the band is one of the classic moments in Sooner history! Ice Water in the veins!!

        • Boom

          Gotta love an Okie Scott Case and he was a hit man. Good career in the NFL too.

  • Kody K.

    I am going out on the edge and pick a player that might not see the field. None the less I am picking DGB. Only way I loose on this one is if he is not cleared. A receiver like this will do wonders for knight.

  • JB

    I liked the picks of Blake Bell and Geneo Grissom, both of whom I expect to have breakout years in their respective positions. But I’m going with Alex Ross. I think he is the best of the RBs, even though Ford seems to have endeared himself to fans with his search-for-contact style. Regardless of who’s number is called to start the season, I expect Alex Ross will have the most carries by the end of the year.

  • Eric Tauriainen

    I pick Bell simply because he was destined to be a Sooner Legend. It has been written and the Gods have spoken. Now feast in Valhalla!

    • http://batman-news.com thebigdroot

      IMO he already is.

      • Eric Tauriainen

        Agreed. Sooner Legend he is.

      • ToatsMcGoats

        Agreed.

  • http://batman-news.com thebigdroot

    Alex Ross- Oklahoma Kid. If he has matured I think he dominates.

  • Jared Tyra

    My sleeper/breakout pick is Matt Dimon, I feel like he could be a bigger Dan Cody by the time he’s done with college ball

  • Troy

    For my first pick I’ll take Baker Mayfield. Regardless of
    whether he plays this season or not, his effective stats will be the entire defense’s
    stats. Having a scout team that is run by a qb with D1 starting experience can
    NOT be underestimated… BOOMER!!!!!!!

  • http://batman-news.com Dy

    Hatari Byrd

  • Roger Nixon

    I pick Dimitri Flowers. I think he will be used more on offense and not relegated to blocking as much as Trey was.

  • RVNVET6869

    I’ll go with Aaron Ripkowski.

  • SoonerGoneEast

    It seems my “My Guy” picks in years past have more closely resembled the SI Jinx than anything. Rather than dropping the kiss of death on one of my beloved Sooner’s again, I’ll just sit this one out for the sake of the team.

    • Jordan Esco

      shhhhhh, we’re not allowed to call it that ;)

    • Shifty

      You can always pick a poke or horn :)

  • j l

    No ones taken walker? Ill take that and run as fast as I can =) I think he starts to challenge chuka for starting time by end of the season.

    • ToatsMcGoats

      I was thinking about him too. Even coming in to spell Chuka, he’s going to make a big impact. It should be interesting come mid season to see how he’s progressed.

      • j l

        I completely agree, I see big things in his future. You could say that for many positions along the D-line. Excited =)

  • Brian

    Mixon in class today (with Quick)

    • Mike Reed

      Good to hear!! Here’s my message to Mixon…

      • Doobie74OU

        So that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not from us. We are hard-pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed.

        • Won

          Preach on!

    • Jordan Esco

      You know this how?

    • Jordan Esco

      Never mind, I see it now.

    • Shifty

      They’re roommates right…Quicks gonna keep him up

  • Defend Colfax

    So who is gonna bring the boom from the secondary this year? Gabe Lynn could be consistently inconsistent but he always laid the wood.

    • Defend Colfax

      I’ll take Moneycutt.

    • Shifty

      Thomas and Byrd are both big hitters..Seems like some spring clip of Byrd putting the boom on Ford came out on instagram…Ford was a little off balance but I think he decleated

    • Defend Colfax

      I love Gabe btw. Kid has a pretty great highlight reel for his time at OU.

  • EasTex

    Jordan Phillips.
    OLBs and DBs will get a lot of tackles because of him.

    • Shifty

      ILBs as well…he keep a guard off of em

      • EasTex

        True, but after caving in the middle of the O-line the QB/RB will be fleeing to the edges.

        • Shifty

          Be fleeing for their lives lol

          • EasTex

            He’s their Huckleberry.

          • Defend Colfax

            A touch of the consumption

          • paganpink

            A BIG touch of it, LOL.

  • trusoonerA53

    My pick is PERINE, he’ll have a new name by the end of the year. Most dangerous running back, he’s putting someone in the hospital. BOOMER. After this happens the first time no one will want to tackle Mr.Perine

  • bill w

    I did not read through all, but I will take whoever is left over between Shead and Evans. Love, love, love the OL, and with these two coming off the injuries they have, I hope they get the type of final season a warrior deserves. And if I had to pick first, it would be Evans, just with the persistence he has shown.

  • Jim

    Jim
    For today’s #10. I nominate David Vickers, a great safety of the mid-80’s.

    • Won

      Nice!
      I’ll counter with Torrance Marshall…
      BOOMER!

  • Ash Jones
    • Zack

      My thoughts were…man college kids keep getting goofier and goofier.

    • ToatsMcGoats

      LOL! Nice indiscreet photo taking!

      • Kevin Moore

        Taking a picture “WITH” the Newspaper is a common practice to show what day the pic was taken. Although I can’t make out the date on the paper I guess it’s today’s paper. Does anyone know for sure?

        • ToatsMcGoats

          No clue. Isn’t it customary to snap the pic w/the FRONT page of the paper? Either way, LOL.

    • Sooner Ray

      Is that Quick in class with him?

  • Indy_sooner

    Hatari Byrd

  • Tiger6

    I’m picking quick. I get a Broyles feel from the kid from watching his highlights. Hopefully he can be as dependable and sure handed when the lights shine bright.

  • Mark slavin

    Dru samia commit down to UCLA or Ou announcing Friday night.

    • Sooner Ray

      50/50 is much better than no shot at all.

      • Mark slavin

        I think it is at least 70/30 Ou so knowing our luck he’ll pick UCLA. Lol

    • Zack

      Oh wow I forgot about this kid announcing. We need to get our twitter team after him.

      • Sooner Ray

        You are my twitter team Zach, give him my best.

  • soonernation

    I believe Perine is gonna be huge for us this year. Especially after listening to the radio show on XM today. Houston Nutt was raving about the kid, and how much of a beast he is.

  • Boomer4life

    Gotta go with Perine! This kid is an absolute BEAST!

    • Zack

      My boss today was telling me about how jacked Brennan clay looked when he got a chance to be down on the field last year. I told him if he gets a chance to be that close again go find samaje (shouldn’t be hard) and look at a kid that’s yoked.

  • Steve Cooke

    I’ll take NT Romar.

  • Kevin Fielder

    I’m going with Derrick Woods. Two reasons…first, guy has great open field skills and has played in the big games already. He’s in the Jalen Saunders mold and a Cali kid. Second, I think he’s the guy who can make a difference on special teams. We need another Ontei Jones, Russell Denison, Trey Franks…I think DW fits the mold!

    • Shifty

      Yeah Woods has already showed promise on STs…he was rated as a safety coming out so he has some boom in him…he gets mean out there like Saunders…I remember seeing him get flagged in the army aa game on a KO

  • ouguy777

    Gonna go with Jordan Wade. I haven’t seen his name yet but I think he plays a lot this year in a rotation with Phillips to try and keep him healthy. Wade played well last year in Phillips’ absence.