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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Mel Kiper Jr. talks Sooners in NFL draft

By Jake Trotter

This week, ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. examined several of the Sooners entering April’s NFL draft on a conference call with reporters.

Perhaps most interesting was Kiper’s evaluation of quarterback Landry Jones.

Landry Jones
Landry Jones is training for the NFL combine in California.
"You see some of his decision-making, some of his inconsistency in terms of accuracy throwing the football,” Kiper said. “He's just kind of leveled off. He maybe played some better football earlier in his career than he did late at times.

“I'd say right now third to fifth round area, third or fourth round area."

Jones came back to school for his senior season in large part to bolster his draft stock. But if NFL teams view Jones the way Kiper does, that obviously won’t be the case.

Kiper, however, is high on other OU draft hopefuls. He sees offensive tackle Lane Johnson and safety Tony Jefferson going somewhere in the second round.

“He's gained a lot of momentum and will continue to gain a lot of momentum as he moves through the process,” Kiper said of Johnson, who was recruited to Norman originally as a tight end. Johnson actually played quarterback in junior college. “There's not a lot of guys that can be hole-fillers at that position after the top group."

Kiper thinks Jefferson made the wise decision to skip his senior season and enter the draft.

“I like the way he plays the game,” Kiper said. “He's got real good awareness, real good instincts for the position. He's been a playmaker his whole career.”

Kiper, however, thinks wideout Kenny Stills should have gone back to school.

“He's got all the talent,” Kiper said. “He's made some big plays. He's had some drops during his career. I'd like to see him go back and round it off a little bit, work on his consistency and maybe become a second round pick, maybe even a late one. I don't see that happening right now. Right now, I'd say more third round for him."

Kiper was also asked about cornerback Aaron Colvin, who announced Monday he would return to OU for his senior year.

"I have him rated as the No. 2 corner going into next year [behind Virginia Tech’s Antone Exum],” Kiper said. “That's a pretty good spot to be in. When you look at versatility, he provides that to a secondary. I thought he did a good job this year. When you go into the year as the second-highest rated corner and you would not have been that had you come out, that's a good move. That's a solid decision.”