NORMAN – The first two days of the NFL draft were quiet for Oklahoma players. None were selected in Thursday’s first round or Friday’s second and third rounds.
On Saturday, that changed.
Four former OU players were selected. Wide receiver Jalen Saunders was the first off the board when he was selected by the New York Jets in the fourth round. The Jacksonville Jaguars made defensive back Aaron Colvin its fourth-round selection.
They had to wait nearly until the end of the day, but fullback Trey Millard was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round and linebacker Corey Nelson went to the Denver Broncos in the last round.
The four selections were the least taken from OU since 2008. The oddity was three of the four players were limited in their senior seasons or in pre-draft workouts due to injuries.
“I’m going to take to the offense, special teams-wise, obviously, I do both things, punt return, kick return and play receiver also,” Saunders said. “I definitely feel like I can come in and compete for either a receiver position or a punt return job. Other than that, I’m just happy to be a Jet.”
When Colvin can play dropped him to the third round. Many NFL draft experts believe he would have been selected no later than the second round if he had not suffered a torn ACL at the Senior Bowl in late January.
Colvin believes he will be cleared to play this season.
“I’m right on track. I’ve been running for two weeks now. I’ve been doing some DB drills with some light backpedaling and things like that,” he said. “The next chapter is to start cutting. Once I do that, I’ll be ready to go.”
Millard likely won’t play this coming season due to the torn ACL he suffered midway through OU’s season. The injuries don’t seem to both the 49ers. He was one of three players they selected that are coming off season-ending knee injuries.
OU fans know how versatile Millard is. He finished his college career with 98 rushing attempts for 538 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 70 passes for 677 yards with seven touchdowns. The four-year starter was a special teams mainstay.
Nelson only played in five games last season due to a torn pectoral muscle. He wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine in February, but the 4.6 speed he showed at the Sooners’ pro day in March, put him back on NFL teams’ radars.
“My pec is 100 percent, I’m good to go,” he said. “It was supposed to be a six-month healing process but it only took me three-and-a-half and I give God all the glory for that.”
Former Rougher signs with Redskins
While his name was not called during the three days of the NFL draft, Rougher Robert Thomas will still get his shot at playing on Sundays in the NFL. The former Muskogee Rougher, who played collegiately at Arkansas, agreed to a free-agent contract on Saturday with the Washington Redskins.
– Phoenix staff report