PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — After months of speculation, the NFL Draft is finally here, sports fans.
And while it’s been pushed back a few weeks, the draft is still that time of year followers of Oregon and Oregon State get to cheer on their favorite college stars soon to enter professional football.
“No, not the Cowboys!” “I sure am glad New England drafted him.” “What were they thinking?” Words that tend to unite us all.
And as in most years, there’s a number of state guys this season that are expected to make a splash. I’ve focused on five players most mentioned by draft experts — Kiper and McShay, CBS Sports, the whole gang — to see when the hometown kids are expected to get their name called.
And the nominees are…
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
This speedster ran a 4.33 40-yard-dash at this year’s NFL combine, faster than any other receiver. That has seemed to solidify the small-statured wideout’s spot in the first round. And don’t be surprised if a team grabs the top talent in the first 10 to 15 picks.
Expert buzz: Mid to late 1st round
Scott Crichton, Oregon State
Explosive. Has a motor. Fun to watch. Terms often recycled about one of the Beaver’s best ever defensive linemen. Some scouts worry his height, but at 6’3 and 270 pounds, Crichton measures out to be a quality 4-3 pass rusher.
Expert buzz: Mid 2nd round
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
A Ducks fan favorite, there’s no mistaking Thomas has home-run speed. But his slight frame (and the NFL’s ever-growing lovefest with the passing game) has him falling. As one ESPN scout put it, the 174-pound running back “will never be a productive short-yardage runner.”
Expert buzz: Late 2nd to 3rd round
Josh Huff, Oregon
After two so-so, injury plagued seasons, Huff was a key contributor for the Ducks in 2013, recording over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. The injury risk has scouts ranking him anywhere from the No. 84 best player (ESPN) to the No. 162 (CBS Sports). The assumption here is he’ll fall somewhere in between.
Expert buzz: Mid 3rd to early 4th
Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State
Reynolds is another player who finds his draft stock all over the map. The OSU cornerback put together a productive season, but didn’t do himself any favors at the combine. ESPN didn’t have Reynolds in its top 300 players, but in the right zone coverage scheme, he could be a steal.
Expert buzz: Anywhere from 5th to 7th
A handful of other state hopefuls could also get their name called. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear Taylor Hart, Boseko Lokombo, Terrance Mitchell, Colt Lyerla, Avery Patterson or even Portland State’s D.J. Adams got good news this weekend.
Night one of the 2014 NFL Draft is set for Thursday night at 5 p.m. PT, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday and rounds four through seven beginning Saturday morning. We’ll continue to cover the event and track the state’s stars, so stay with us for UO/OSU-centric updates.