Oklahoma State will have a slim lineup in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Only one former Cowboy is projected to be drafted this week when NFL teams hold a virtual draft amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Cornerback A.J. Green, who graduated this year, is the only Oklahoma State product expected to hear their name announced throughout the three-day draft – according to draft analysts – and many have pegged him as a candidate for Day 3, falling somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds.
Green is being projected as a likely backup option for NFL squads.
ESPN’s projections give the Cowboy cornerback a 16.6 percent chance of being an NFL starter – with a 5 percent possibility of being a Pro Bowler. The most likely grouping listed for Green is a 33.3 percent of being a backup, followed by a 26.6 percent likelihood that he is a non-factor – and an 18.4 percent chance he is a replacement for an NFL team.
And Lance Zierlein, an analyst for NFL.com, had a similar sentiment in Green’s draft bio.
“He plays with adequate athleticism and route anticipation, but has issues sticking with quick route breaks and longer routes where he will fall behind against NFL speed,” Zierlein wrote. “Green might be best-suited as a backup in a zone-heavy coverage scheme where he keeps the game in front of him and in smaller spaces.”
Green measured at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds at the NFL Combine. He registered an unofficial 40-yard dash of 4.62 with 13 reps on the bench press – numbers that saw his stock take a little dip among most media experts that rank NFL prospects.
Mel Kiper, the most notable draft expert, has only completed a two-round mock draft, but had ranked Green as the No. 14 cornerback prospect in the draft, and the No. 101-ranked overall on his list of best available.
Below is a list of projected picks for Green by national media writers who compiled seven-round mock drafts.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
114th pick by the Arizona Cardinals
Miller ranked Green as the 14th-best cornerback in the draft, and ranked him as the No. 73 overall prospect. The Cardinals’ website lists eight cornerbacks on roster, though one of those include disgruntled All-Pro Patrick Peterson – who is the only cornerback in Arizona who stands at least 6-foot-1 like Green. Arizona’s secondary accumulated just seven interceptions in 2019 – led by linebacker Jordan Hicks – with Peterson, who was suspended for the first six games, being the only cornerback with multiple interceptions (2).
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated
132nd pick by the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has six cornerbacks on roster after a free agency signing of Marcus Sayles – a West Georgia product who played in the CFL the past two seasons. It is a young group already for the Vikings with only two of the corners having at least two years of NFL experience. Minnesota didn’t have interceptions from the cornerback position in 2019, and only one on roster is measured about 6-foot – Holton Hill, a University of Texas product who has two years of experience and stands at 6-foot-2.
Luke Easterling, USA Today
156th pick by the San Francisco 49ers
The Super Bowl runner-up has eight cornerbacks on roster – including All-Pro Richard Sherman – and have targeted taller talent at the position. Only two corners on the San Francisco roster fail to eclipse 6-foot. The 49ers came up with just nine interceptions last season, but were led by their veteran corners in that category – three from Sherman and two from K’Waun Williams, who has played five years in the league. This landing spot would allow Green an opportunity to learn behind some impactful veterans.
R.J. White, CBS Sports
183th pick by the New York Giants
The New York Football Giants have six corners on roster, with the most experienced being offseason signee James Bradberry – who spent the previous four years starting for the Carolina Panthers, where he had a combined eight interceptions for his career. Bradberry is one of just two New York cornerbacks who measure over 6-foot tall. The Giants got just one interception last season from its returning corners on roster.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com
208th pick by the Green Bay Packers
The Packers are another team that have focused on taller cornerbacks, with five of their seven on roster measure at least 6-foot. Green Bay did see a lot of production from its cornerbacks in forcing turnovers last season. Kevin King led the team with five interceptions, while Jaire Alexander and Tramon Williams had two each. The entire cornerback corps in Green Bay is young, with King have the most experience with three years in the league – though he’s only played a combined 30 games. This would be a landing spot that very much could slot Green into a likely backup role – if he were to make the final cut.
While many of the previous projections come from the national media, at least one NFL team has mentioned him as a potential fifth-round prospect.
Kyle Stackpole, a staff reporter for the Washington Redskins, listed A.J. Green among five players the Redskins could be targeting with the 162nd pick – which lands in the fifth round. Washington signed two cornerbacks during the offseason – including Kendall Fuller, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs during their run to a Super Bowl title – to give it five cornerbacks on roster.
The draft begins Thursday with the first round scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and will be televised on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. The draft continues Friday with the second and third rounds starting at 6 p.m., with rounds No. 4-7 being televised at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Follow News Press sports editor Jason Elmquist on Twitter @jelmquistSW for updates on Oklahoma State athletics.