Oklahoma Sooners: Jamell Fleming

Over the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. We'll analyze each player’s impact on the program since they arrived on campus, their potential impact this fall and their long-term impact in the daily series. Starting with No. 1 Tony Jefferson, the series will go in numerical order until our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 14 Aaron Colvin
Defensive back, 6-foot, 176 pounds

Which OU draftee will have the best NFL career?

April, 30, 2012
Seven Oklahoma players were selected in the 2012 NFL draft, giving the Sooners the second-most out of any school in the country. But which OU draftee will have the best NFL career? The SoonerNation staff gives its thoughts. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Which Oklahoma draftee will have the best NFL career?

Ryan Broyles
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiFormer Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles could have a major impact on the Detroit Lions.
Few players were drafted into a better situation than Ryan Broyles. The Lions already are prolific offensively -- all Broyles will have to do with Calvin Johnson commanding attention downfield is pick his spots underneath the coverage, something he did remarkably well during his college career. Broyles also will benefit from playing with one of the rising stars at quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who will love utilizing Broyles as a safety valve.

- Jake Trotter

Ryan Broyles will have the best NFL career because, well, he's Ryan Broyles. Extremely consistently and always looking to improve his skills, Broyles was the first Sooner drafted for a reason. Add his talents to an ideal situation in Detroit and the sky could be the limit for the dynamic receiver. While he will never fit the mold of a "No. 1 receiver," Broyles will have a lengthy and productive career in the NFL while becoming the type of player who is a key part of his team's offensive game plan week-by-week.

- Brandon Chatmon

I'm sticking with my answer from last week because nobody proved me wrong more times in his career than cornerback Jamell Fleming. I never saw the potential in him, but he earned being a third-round selection by the Arizona Cardinals last week. It feels like the combination of Fleming and Patrick Peterson in the secondary should be something Cardinals fans can be happy about for a long time to come. Fleming's confidence is rightfully at an all-time high, and barring a major injury, he should be a solid cornerback in the league for a number of years because of his physicality and athleticism.

- Bob Przybylo

As Jake and Brandon said above, Ryan Broyles was drafted into an ideal situation in Detroit, better than any other OU player. He has a 5,000-yard passer to throw to him and a role as the slot receiver already picked out. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan loves to use a three-receiver set and Broyles is perfect for the slot. As ESPN.com writer Jeffri Chadiha wrote on Sunday, "if Broyles doesn't catch between 50-60 balls as a rookie, something went horribly wrong in Motown."

- Dane Beavers

Where OU draftees ranked in high school 

April, 26, 2012
This weekend won’t resemble Oklahoma’s NFL draft class of 2010, when Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams and Jermaine Gresham all went in the first round.

That said, several Sooners with pro aspirations leave Norman with higher ESPN NFL draft rankings than high school recruiting rankings. Breaking down the OU draft class through that prism:

Frank Alexander

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Which Oklahoma player gets drafted first?

April, 26, 2012
With the 2012 NFL draft starting tonight (7 p.m. CT on ESPN), the SoonerNation staff predicts which Oklahoma player will be drafted first. Leave a comment with your prediction or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum. View ESPN.com's NFL draft coverage here.

I would be surprised if Ronnell Lewis didn't go first, perhaps as early as high in the second round. Jamell Fleming has really helped himself in the bowl game and the combine, but Lewis' upside is undeniable. But I could see somebody like Dallas (which by the way has shown a lot of interest in the Hammer) pulling the trigger on Lewis with its second-round pick. Lewis, with his background playing both outside linebacker and defensive end, is an ideal fit for a team running a 3-4 defense. And the best part is that Lewis, who only started one season at OU, hasn't quite figured it out -- he's a work in progress who's only going to get better.

-- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeRonnell Lewis, Frank Alexander
Jerome Miron/US PresswireFormer Oklahoma defensive ends Ronnell Lewis (56) and Frank Alexander are both projected to be drafted this weekend.
Ronnell Lewis will be the first Sooner taken in the NFL draft. An NFL team with multiple picks in the first three rounds (New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland) will find his exceptional athletic ability too difficult to ignore and pull the trigger on the second day of the draft. If a team feels like they are happy and have addressed their needs, they're more likely to take a chance on Lewis and his long-term potential.

-- Brandon Chatmon

Call it nothing more than a hunch, but the first Sooner to hear his name called is going to be cornerback Jamell Fleming. When talking about OU's secondary troubles in 2011, Fleming's name was hardly uttered. He finished the season strong, being named the defensive MVP of OU's Insight Bowl victory, and has carried that momentum throughout the pre-draft activities. NFL teams might question where Ronnell Lewis fits or just how healthy wide receiver Ryan Broyles is. Fleming isn't the most flashy pick, but he is about as steady as you get. With Fleming, what you see is what you get. And in this case, that's a very good thing.

-- Bob Przybylo

I've been on the Jamell Fleming bandwagon for a while and I think he's the first Sooner to be picked, likely on Friday night in the second or third round. Fleming is ready to play in the NFL immediately, while Ronnell Lewis -- a 'tweener without a true position -- is a project that will take time to develop into either a defensive end or an outside linebacker in the 3-4. Could teams pass on Lewis and pick a more NFL-ready player? After posting solid NFL combine numbers, Fleming could soar into the second round.

-- Dane Beavers
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. The NFL draft begins tonight at 7 p.m, and though it’s unlikely any Sooners will hear their names called during the first round, there will be plenty of familiar names coming off the board. Oklahoma’s defense was much maligned late last season but Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, who torched the Sooners' secondary, is set to get selected No. 2 overall by Washington and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, who had 18 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown in two games against OU, likely will be drafted in the top 10. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper also has OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden going late in the first round. Clearly the Sooners weren’t the only team who struggled to stop Griffin or Weeden and Blackmon.

2. You have to wonder what it is like to be Landry Jones tonight. He could be walking across the stage to meet Roger Goodell, but instead he’s in class? There are several NFL teams looking for a quarterback in the draft and it’s easy to believe Jones would have been a top 10 pick if he had elected to declare early. Regardless, Sooners fans should be happy, they’ll have an NFL quarterback at the helm this fall, someone multiple NFL teams would love to have in their locker room.

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. This will not be one of the more interesting drafts for OU fans. The Sooners won't have a first round pick, but do have four players capable of getting taken on day two in DE Ronnell Lewis, CB Jamell Fleming, WR Ryan Broyles and OT Donald Stephenson. All four, though, and especially the first three, have a chance to have very solid careers in the NFL.

2. OU RB commit Greg Bryant tore it up at the Orlando Nike Football Training Camp this weekend, and nearly came away with the MVP award for tailbacks. With Bryant and fellow ESPN 150 RB Keith Ford, along with incoming blue-chip freshman Alex Ross, the Sooners appear to be in unbelievable shape at running back for the foreseeable future.

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. Coming out of the spring, the biggest question answered is the secondary. To me, that was the biggest concern going into the spring, considering the Sooners struggled in several games last season, and then had to replace cornerback Jamell Fleming, who might have been their best DB over the last two years. But the secondary seems to have really responded to Mike Stoops, and other than the jump-ball bomb to Jaz Reynolds, didn't give up any big passing plays in the Red-White game.

The Sooners did it too without one of the their covermen in Aaron Colvin (shoulder), who figures to move to cornerback in the fall to fill the void left by Fleming. With budding stars like Colvin and Tony Jefferson and a lock-down corner in Demontre Hurst, the secondary looks like the strength of the defense.

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One of the biggest position battles defensively this spring is the one to replace all-conference cornerback Jamell Fleming. When asked who has stood out thus far, Bob Stoops singled out senior-to be Lamar Harris.

“He and Joe Powell continue to get the most action there,” Stoops said. “They're doing well with it.”

Powell, a converted wideout, played corner last season before switching to receiver for the Insight Bowl because of depth concerns.

While Harris and Powell have shown the most this spring, Stoops added that “there's always an opportunity to put Aaron Colvin there as well.” Colvin, who started safety last season, played corner as a freshman while backing up Fleming. Colvin is sitting out this spring so his injured shoulder can recover.

Stoops also said that Julian Wilson “has looked good” and that junior-college transfer Kass Everett “shows promise” despite still being in the early stages of learning Mike Stoops’ defense.

Position battle update: Cornerback 

March, 23, 2012
While the Sooners are on spring break this week, SoonerNation will update readers on five position battles this spring. For today: Cornerback.

The competition to start at cornerback opposite Demontre Hurst could be the most interesting position battle of the spring at Oklahoma.

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Jake Trotter answers readers’ questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Brandon in Texarkana, Texas, writes: In the past 5 years OU has gone 52-16 with three conference titles, while Texas has gone 48-17 with a much weaker out-of-conference schedule, and one conference title. While we do bring in quality and very talented players, and I know you can’t base a recruit purely on what they are ranked, Texas has really dominated Big 12 recruiting, with the exception of 2008. Texas has 53 players in the NFL, while OU has 31. Do you think this is a case of Texas not maximizing talent, or OU just doing more and developing their players at a better rate?

Jake Trotter: Brandon, to your first point, it’s always easier to recruit out of your own backyard. If all the players in Texas were in Oklahoma, you’d seen the Sooners dominate the recruiting rankings the way the Longhorns have. To your second point, I don’t think there’s any question OU has done a better job than Texas of maximizing its talent, at least going back to the advent of the Mack Brown/Bob Stoops eras. OU has won a lot of games with players that Texas didn’t want, like Derrick Strait and Brandon Everage, who grew up in the Austin area.

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Triple option: Powell emerging at CB 

March, 19, 2012
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. Joe Powell could emerge out of the spring as the favorite to replace Jamell Fleming at cornerback. Powell has had a really nice spring so far, and played extensively in the 75-play scrimmage the other day. Powell, remember, is a converted WR, who actually played receiver in the Insight Bowl because of OU's depth issues there.

2. The way James Winchester tore up pro day, you have to wonder if he could have helped the Sooners beyond deep snapping. Especially with all the injury/suspension problems the offense had at WR last season.

3. Not the best of starts for the OU baseball team. Even though they have struggled, the Longhorns are tough. But you can't get swept at home by anyone and hope to contend. The Sooners are on a five-game losing streak now, and need to rectify things quickly with conference play kicking into high gear.

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Jake Trotter answers readers’ questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Rick in Owasso, Okla., writes: Which OU player will be drafted first in the 2012 NFL draft and why?

Jake Trotter: There’s no doubt that defensive end/outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis is OU’s top NFL prospect this year. Lewis had a productive junior season, tore up the combine and is in fabulous shape. A source told me that the Dallas Cowboys are courting Lewis hard, and could target Lewis with their 40th overall selection. New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have all shown interest as well. Cornerback Jamell Fleming, who also lit up the combine, is rising up draft boards and could end up being a second day selection. Ryan Broyles could slide into the third round, as well, if he proves the ACL injury is behind him on his personal pro day.

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Triple Option: Wrapping up the combine 

February, 29, 2012
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. The NFL combine is over and it seems Jamell Fleming and James Hanna made the biggest impressions among the Sooners entering April's draft. Fleming was a solid corner in college but scouts have questioned his speed. A 4.53 in the 40-yard dash was great for the 5-foot-11, 192 pound prospect. As for Hanna, he most likely went from an undrafted free agent to a late-round pick. Brandon Chatmon details the combine results from OU's perspective here.

2. With Oklahoma's second junior day approaching on Saturday, the popular question among OU fans is this: Who will be the Sooners' first verbal commitment for the class of 2013? Well, I think fans won't have to wait much longer. Expect at least one commit from a junior day visitor by the end of the weekend.

3. Meanwhile, the Sooners have extended more than 70 offers for the class of 2013 and 15 of those prospects already have committed to other schools. Oklahoma is 0-7 in head-to-head battles against Texas and has lost out on all four of its offensive tackle offers (Evan Lisle committed to Ohio State last night). But as Bob Przybylo details, most of OU's top targets are still on the board.

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Several Sooners made themselves some money during the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Seven former Oklahoma standouts participated in the seven-day combine as teams and draft prospects prepare for the NFL draft which will be held on April 26, 27, 28.

Top Performers

Tight end James Hanna was one of the stars of the combine, ranking as the fastest tight end with his 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash along with top ten rankings in the three-cone drill (6.76 seconds) and bench press (24 reps).

Tom Pennington/Getty Images
James Hanna flashed his excellent speed near the end of the 2010 Bedlam game.

Hanna’s stellar numbers surprised many and will likely force NFL teams to go back and give his game film a closer look with the goal of figuring out if Hanna was under-utilized at OU or if his workout numbers simply don’t translate to the field.

Cornerback Jamell Fleming was another Sooner with a terrific showing during workouts. He could explode up draft boards with his solid 40-yard dash time, strong bench press numbers and excellent broad jump.

Fleming was also solid in on-field drills and could have cemented himself a spot on Day Two (second or third round).

Solid Showings

Defensive end/linebacker Ronnell Lewis had a solid showing, topping all linebackers in the bench press (36 reps) and running a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash.

Receiver Ryan Broyles, who is still recovering from his torn ACL last November, impressed in his lone physical test, with 21 bench press reps at 225 pounds, which was second among receivers.

Tackle Donald Stephenson was the fastest offensive lineman at the combine, clocking a 4.94 time in the 40-yard dash. He showed excellent athleticism but will be looking to improve his 19 reps in the bench press at OU’s pro day.

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
Travis Lewis will likely run the 40-yard dash again at OU's Pro Day in March.

Can’t Wait Until Pro Day

Linebacker Travis Lewis was very solid overall but ran a disappointing 4.88 time in the 40-yard dash which will be held against him unless he improves his time at OU’s pro day. Lewis did impress in other areas with a 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump, which ranked sixth amongst linebackers, solid bench numbers and a 36-inch vertical.

Defensive end Frank Alexander didn’t workout at the combine due to a previously undiscovered heart condition, according to his Twitter page.

Complete Summary of Results

Broyles: second among receivers with 21 reps at 225 pounds.

Fleming: 4.53 in the 40; second among cornerbacks with 23 reps at 225 pounds; 34-inch vertical; 10 foot, 5-inch broad jump, ranking fourth among cornerbacks.

Lewis: 4.68 in the 40; 36 reps at 225 pounds, tops among linebackers; 31-inch vertical; 7.09 3-cone drill; 4.4 20-yard shuttle; 9-foot, 3-inch broad jump.

Travis Lewis: 4.88 in the 40; 22 reps at 225 pounds; 36-inch vertical; 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump

Stephenson: 4.94 in the 40, the fastest time among offensive linemen; 19 reps at 225 pounds; 35.5-inch vertical; 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump; 7.52 time in the three cone drill; 4.78 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle.

Hanna: 4.49 in the 40, the fastest time among tight ends; 24 reps at 225 pounds, fourth among tight ends; 36-inch vertical; 6.76 three-cone drill, second among tight ends; 4.11 20-yard shuttle, second among tight ends; 11.43 60-yard shuttle.

Alexander: Attended the combine but unable to participate in drills due to injury.

Loss impact: Cornerback Jamell Fleming 

February, 20, 2012
“Loss Impact” analyzes each outgoing starter or rotation player to assess how much his departure will impact Oklahoma next season.

Over the last two seasons, no player made a bigger overall impact on the OU defense than Jamell Fleming. His combination of size and speed allowed him to matchup with the big-play wide receivers of the Big 12. Fleming was also a superb tackler against the run for a boundary cornerback.

[+] EnlargeJamell Fleming
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireJamell Fleming was one of the bright spots on Oklahoma's defense in 2011.
What Oklahoma loses: The game against Texas Tech says it all. The OU defensive backfield basically collapsed without Fleming in the lineup. Seth Doege was hammered the boundary side of the field and finished with 441 yards passing and four touchdowns in the Red Raiders’ 41-38 victory. When Fleming was on the field, the boundary side was rarely a worry for the Sooners. OU was blown out by Oklahoma State, but Fleming did a relatively decent job limiting Justin Blackmon, who was held to under 100 yards receiving. Then in the Insight Bowl, Fleming shut down Big Ten Receiver of the Year, Marvin McNutt, who had just four catches for 46 yards.

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Will Eagles' Gamble On Bradford Pay Off?
ESPN NFL Insider Phil Savage discusses Sam Bradford's chances of bouncing back from multiple ACL surgeries.