The Daily breaks down which former OU players could be picked this weekend
Football: Sooners in the NFL draft
Offensive Tackle Phil Loadholt
Strengths: The name says it all — he is a load. The offensive lineman towered over his opponents and teammates. He looks like an NFL lineman already.
Weaknesses: Loadholt improved his senior year, but too many times he would lose his focus and draw a careless penalty. He also has shown a tendency to struggle with quick defensive ends.
Offensive Guard Duke Robinson
Strengths: He is a versatile player who was a part of one of the most efficient and protective offensive lines in the country. Robinson can keep any quarterback safe when he is playing at a high level.
Weaknesses: Robinson was recovering from an arm injury earlier in the year, something that sometimes can leave a lasting effect.
Wide Receiver Juaquin Iglesias
Strengths: Iglesias has improved his draft stock throughout the spring, proving he might just have the breakaway speed to run with those in the NFL. He was also strong as the Sooners’ leading receiver with an average of 82 yards per game.
Weaknesses: Iglesias made some mind-boggling catches, but also dropped some of Bradford’s most accurate passes. That inconsistency could be an issue.
Outside Linebacker Nic Harris
Strengths: Harris would be a strong asset to any team with his positive work ethic. On and off the field he is a class act, putting in the time to improve his game. This habit will be attractive to scouts.
Weaknesses: He is not the fastest person on the field and every so often he was beat by a streaking receiver. Quickness and speed are even more pivotal in the NFL, and that could leave Harris trying to play catch-up too often.
Safety Lendy Holmes
Strengths: He is a very physical player who is extremely versatile. He has the overall size and talent required for the NFL, and although the Combine numbers don’t necessarily show it, some rave about his athleticism.
Weaknesses: Holmes has improved leaps and bounds over his career, but the question remains whether he will be given the time to continue to improve. He still has moments in games where he loses focus and lets the receiver get a step on him.
Center Jon Cooper
Strengths: Cooper was a leader on the OU offensive line and under his direction, Sam Bradford was sacked fewer than once per game. He was named the top offensive lineman in the Big 12 in 2008.
Weaknesses: Cooper tends to fall in the shadows of the talented Loadholt and Robinson. He is not as large as most NFL linemen and though he is quick, it may not be enough when push comes to shove.
— Annelise Russell/The Daily
What happened last year
In the 2008 NFL draft, linebacker Curtis Lofton was the first Sooner taken in the draft, getting picked by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round with the 37th pick. Lofton played in 16 games for the Falcons, recording 94 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.
Former OU standout receiver Malcolm Kelly was selected 51st by the Washington Redskins. Kelly saw limited action in his rookie season, appearing in five games and recording three receptions for 18 yards and no touchdowns.
Safety Reggie Smith, who made highlights for the Sooners on special teams and on defense during his college career, ended up as a third round selection. Smith was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 75th pick. In three games Smith recorded three tackles last season.
Running back Allen Patrick was also drafted last season, as a seventh-round selection by the Cleveland Browns. Patrick did not see any game action in 2008.
— Aaron Colen/The Daily
Where they should go
Phil Loadholt: Oakland Raiders
Even though there are many teams that need a big offensive lineman, the best fit for the 6-foot-8-inch offensive tackle would be the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have a solid running back corps but need an offensive lineman who can help protect quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Russell has been sacked 37 times in 19 games and it is obvious The Raiders need a lineman of Loadholt’s size to help keep Russell off his back.
Duke Robinson: Buffalo Bills
Robinson is a big physical lineman who would be able to fit in well with the AFC’s wars within the trenches. The Bills need someone who can handle both run and pass protection as well as Robinson to survive in the AFC East.
Juaquin Iglesias: Chicago Bears
Iglesias could make a career out of being a possession receiver who has the ability to break free and make a big play. The Chicago Bears were one of the worst passing teams in the NFL last year. They did not have one receiver who had 700 yards and their leading receiver, Devin Hester, is known more for his kick-return skills than receiving skills. Iglesias could be that go-to receiver for newly acquired quarterback Jay Cutler, who would be able to keep drives alive and bring in enough passes to open up the run game for second-year running back Matt Forte.
Nic Harris: Detroit Lions
Even though they are close to closing a deal with quarterback Matt Stafford, the Lions need to work on their defense, which ranked last in almost every defensive category in 2008. Harris’ versatility in the secondary and at linebacker could come in handy for a Lions team that has eight picks in this year’s draft.
Lendy Holmes: San Francisco 49ers
Projected to be a late second-day pick or a free agent, Holmes is a physical player who will find a home in 2009 in San Francisco. Last season, the Niners ranked in the lower half of the league in pass defense and they will need some more physical defensive backs to be a contender in the NFC West.
Jon Cooper: New York Giants
Cooper has not generated much draft buzz, but the smallest of the 2008 OU starting offensive linemen could hustle his way onto any team that invites him to training camp. He is projected to be a free agent after this weekend’s draft, but at the end of the day, his abilities would be a good fit for the New York Giants, where he will have the opportunity to learn from veterans.
— Jono Greco/The Daily
Where they will go
Phil Loadholt: Buffalo Bills, 2nd Round, Pick No. 42 overall
Duke Robinson: Tennessee Titans, 2nd Round, Pick No. 62
Juaquin Iglesias: Cincinnati Bengals, 3rd Round, Pick No. 98
Nic Harris: Buffalo Bills, 5th Round, Pick No. 147
Free agents: Lendy Holmes, Jon Cooper, Brandon Walker
— Steven Jones/The Daily