STILLWATER — Oklahoma State fans can kick back on Thursday night and watch the NFL Draft looking out for their favorite pro team and how they go about filling their top needs in the first round. Unlike last year, which had some first round suspense but disappointed, there is really no chance that an Oklahoma State Cowboys player get his name called. Honestly, I think it is growing more and more doubtful that Friday night and the second and third round will include hearing either of the Pokes’ top two prospects in this NFL Draft. My prediction is that Justice Hill, the Cowboys seventh all-time leading rusher with over 3,539-yards, and defensive end Jordan Brailford, the program’s 11th all-time leading quarterback sacker, will have to wait until Saturday and the fourth round to hear their name called.
There is no shame in that as Oklahoma State has had plenty of players picked in the middle to late rounds in recent years that have become valuable contributors in the NFL. Take the Seattle Seahawks and starting running back Chris Carson (7th) and starting corner Tre Flowers (5th) or Miami Dolphins starting defensive tackle Vincent Taylor (5th).
I honestly believe Brailford could be the first Cowboy to hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I’m not predicting it. I think it could happen. Below is a thumbnail sketch of the good and the bad we’ve heard (from NFL sources) on both Justice Hill and Jordan Brailford and then the teams we know that have shown interest and then finally a prediction of when and where we think they will be picked on Saturday.
Production is not a problem as he had plenty. He has excellent speed (4.4 at NFL Combine) and explosion (40-inch vertical at NFL Combine) and he has solid understanding of offensive run principles and how to use blocks. His vision is solid and he has excellent change of direction. He has very good balance and does not lose his footing or get in awkward positions. He is outstanding in space and avoiding going down in one-on-one situations. He can play fast and had lots of experience with that at Oklahoma State. Despite his size, he is capable of being an every down back with his running ability, pass protection ability, and while not the best, he is a solid receiver out of the backfield.
His negatives are that he does not move the pile well in short yardage situations. He has become comfortable running the ball against the lighter box traffic you see in college and especially in the Big 12. In the NFL he will have to get used to facing much more crowded box traffic and still deal with it in run situations. He has been fairly solid in his endurance and toughness, but a few red flags have come up with the rib injury causing him to miss the final three games of his junior season. He also opted out of the rest of the field work at the combine after feeling a muscle or soft tissue injury running his second forty.
Excellent character off the field, popular with teammates, however, not real comfortable with dealing with media.