What to watch for at OU football Pro Day
NORMAN — College pro days are taking on even greater importance than normal this season as there will be no in-person workouts as part of the NFL Combine.
OU’s Pro Day takes place Thursday, with eight former Sooners taking part in the event, which begins with measurements at 9 a.m., followed by measured events, the bench press and then position workouts beginning at 10:45.
The 2020 Sooners participating include running back defensive backs Tre Brown and Tre Norwood, offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Adrian Ealy, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive end Ronnie Perkins. Two more defensive linemen whose college careers ended in 2019 — Kenneth Mann and Dillon Faamatau — will also take part.
Here’s a look at several notable things to look for out of the event, which will be livestreamed for free on SoonerSports.tv and the SoonerSports app beginning at 9 a.m.:
Players with the most to prove: Ronnie Perkins and Rhamondre Stevenson.
There’s little doubt about the physical talents of either one, especially after the monster seasons each put together upon their returns from suspension.
But they figure to face plenty of questions during the interview process about the suspensions, which sources have said were for positive marijuana tests.
The NFL’s stance on marijuana has changed drastically in recent years, but pre-draft interviews are notoriously invasive, so teams figure to ask plenty about the circumstances leading to the suspension and the lessons learned from that suspension.
A year ago, the NFL drastically changed its approach to marijuana, cutting down on testing to just a two-week window at the start of training camp, increasing the amount of THC to trigger a positive test by more than four times and shifting to a treatment approach vs. one of punishment.
Perkins is a potential first-round pick, with one NFL.com mock draft recently putting him at No. 28 overall.
Perkins’ size is a bit of a concern, as he’s smaller than most NFL defensive ends, but in the right system, he could could make an impact as an edge rusher.
For Stevenson, the question is what his role is at the next level.
Stevenson’s size suggests fullback would be his best fit, but the speed and agility he shows even at his size gives him an opportunity to be a true running back in the NFL as well.
Stevenson is likely a mid-round pick, potentially making his interview process even more important when compared to Perkins.
Most likely first-rounder: Creed Humphrey.
While the spotlight is largely on Perkins and Stevenson, neither are the most likely to be picked in the first round.
That would be center Creed Humphrey, who could’ve been a first-round or early second-round pick had he come out a year ago.
Humphrey’s stock slipped a bit this season, especially with the struggles of OU’s offensive line early in the season, but Humphrey was still dominant in pass protection especially, once again not allowing a sack.
Humphrey could be a late first-round pick or taken in the second round.
Perkins could still wind up being taken higher, but Humphrey has a broader chance to go off the board early.
Biggest potential surprise: Tre Norwood. Two former defensive backs are working out at the Pro Day, both of whom had major impacts for the Sooners in 2020.
Tre Brown became Mr. Big 12 Championship Game during his career for his propensity to come up with big plays at AT&T Stadium. That included in the 2020 game, where he finished his Sooners career with an interception that put the win over Iowa State away.
But the pick here is Tre Norwood, whose role was limited early in the season before coming on to play a major role for the improved secondary.
Norwood might not put up eye-popping numbers during the 40-yard dash, shuttle drills and jumps, but he could make an impression during position workouts.
Norwood has a knack for being in position to come up with big plays at opportune times and his positional flexibility broadens the places where he could land.
He’s likely a late-round pick or undrafted free agent but in the right spot, Norwood could find success. Pro Day is an important step to finding that correct fit.