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.