Digital Team
By Digital Team
Oklahoma Athletics
APRIL 27, 2016

Four Sooners were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft -- Sterling Shepard (Giants), Charles Tapper (Cowboys), Zack Sanchez (Panthers) and Devante Bond (Buccaneers). OU is one of only two programs to have at least four players selected each year since 2008 (LSU the other). In the 17 years Bob Stoops has been head coach, 79 Sooners have been NFL Draft selections.

DRAFTED SOONERS

View capsules of all four Sooners who were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft:

PLAYER TEAM ROUND PICK OVERALL
Sterling Shepard Giants 2nd 9th 40
Charles Tapper Cowboys 4th 3rd 101
Zack Sanchez Panthers 5th 2nd 141
Devante Bond Buccaneers
 6th  8th  183

FREE AGENTS

In addition to the four Sooners who were selected in the Draft, a number of players also signed free agent contracts with NFL teams:

PLAYER TEAM      
Dominique Alexander Browns        
Ty Darlington Titans      
Nila Kasitati Redskins      
Durron Neal Broncos - - -
Frank Shannon Broncos      
Eric Striker Bills - - -

OU DRAFT HISTORY

No school has been as consistent in supplying NFL talent as Oklahoma. Since the first Draft in 1936, at least one Sooner has been taken 79 out of 81 years.

In the last five years, Oklahoma has 10 more picks than any other Big 12 school. OU is one of only two programs nationally with at least four players selected every year since 2008.

All-Time Draft Picks | First Rounders | Draft Notes | Current Pro Sooners

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Sterling Shepard / WR / 5-10 / 194

Draft Day: Shepard became the 76th University of Oklahoma player selected in the NFL Draft under 17-year head coach Bob Stoops when he was picked Friday evening by the New York Giants with the No. 9 selection in the second round (40th overall). Full Release

Shepard Says: "It was an amazing feeling, one that I've been waiting to have since I was a little kid. It was definitely exciting.

"Eli Manning, Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz are guys I've looked up to for a long time. I can't wait to be a part of the organization and call myself a Giant. I know they have die-hard fans there, similar to Oklahoma. I just can't wait to get out there and go to work." More

At Oklahoma: One of the most accomplished receivers in OU history, Shepard started all of his 37 games the last three seasons. The school co-record-holder for receptions in a game (15 vs. Kansas State as a junior), he ranks second at OU in career receptions (233) and career receiving yards (3,482), and third in career touchdown receptions (26) and career 100-yard receiving games (12). His 86 catches as a senior rank as the third most in school annals. Full Bio & Stats

NFL.com Grade: 5.9 (Could become early NFL starter)

What Stoops Says: "Sterling is one of the most competitive players that we've had here. Everyone knows he excels in route running and has exceptional ball skills, but he also brings a fire to the field and the locker room that will be difficult to replace. He is a tireless worker and is fearless over the middle. With that attitude and his skill set, I think he'll excel in the NFL."

What Others Are Saying: "Shepard is a great route-runner and has a lot of quickness. Shepard might catch 100 passes in a season some time while working as a slot receiver in the NFL." - NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt

Selection

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Charles Tapper / DE / 6-3 / 271

At Oklahoma: A starter in 38 of 39 games over his final three seasons, Tapper served as a team captain in 2015 and closed his career by being named a first-team All-Big 12 selection. An honorable mention All-American last season, he racked up 26.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks and five forced fumbles over the last three years. Full Bio & Stats

Tapper Says: "I wasn't really expecting to get drafted real early in the fourth round. I was just going to go with the flow and see how it played out. As the Cowboys were coming up, I was like, 'Man, I hope the Cowboys pick me. That would be a great place for me playing that 5 technique, and they say they need a lot of help.

"I didn't really have any idea that Dallas liked me that much. Indianapolis and Arizona had shown a lot of interest, so I thought I'd go to one of those teams. But when Dallas called I was just so happy. I feel like that's just the best place for me, being able to play the 5 technique, be one-on-one with the tackle, be destructive, get up field. They treat every play like get off the ball and then just react. So I just get to be an athlete and show how athletic I am and get to use that 4.5 (speed)."

NFL.com Grade: 5.4 (Backup or eventual starter)

What Stoops Says: "Whoever gets Charles is going to get a very good player. He's strong in the run game and as a pass rusher, and will be a versatile player at the next level. He sets the edge well and also has good speed for his size."

What Others Are Saying: "Possessing a stout frame and surprising overall athleticism, Tapper is a quality all-around defensive lineman offering positional and scheme versatility. That combination will likely will earn Tapper a spot in the top 100, even though he was a bit inconsistent over his career." - Rob Rang, CBSSports.com

Selection and Analysis

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Zack Sanchez / CB / 5-11 / 185

At Oklahoma: Known for taking gambles on the field, Sanchez's risks paid off more often than they did not. A starter in all 37 of his career games, Sanchez ranks fourth at OU in career interceptions (15) despite playing just three seasons. The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection also earned second-team All-America acclaim as a junior. He ranks fifth in career interception return yards at OU (220) and sixth in career pass breakups (28). His seven picks in 2015 (in 11 games) tied for fifth on the OU single-season records list. Sanchez was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award last year. Full Bio & Stats

Sanchez Says: "Carolina showed me the most interest throughout this whole process. So it wasn't surprising to be picked by them. To fall that late was kind of surprising, but everything happens for a reason. I'm just grateful for the opportunity and ready to get to Carolina.

"It's exciting with them coming off a Super Bowl appearance and believing in me to be one of the guys to make plays in the back end. It's just an exciting opportunity. The spot's there. I just have a lot of work to do and I want to be a part of something special. It's just been a really cool experience."

NFL.com Grade: 5.5 (Backup or eventual starter)

What Stoops Says: "Zack is a bigtime playmaker. He just has great ability to be around the ball and go up and take it. He plays well in man and zone and has great recognition. He also has that competitive mindset that makes him a game changer."

What Others Are Saying: "Sanchez, who says he got a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, is a good player with a lot of experience and production, but he desperately needs to add strength and weight. It's tough to be a corner in the NFL at 180 pounds on a 5-11 frame." - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

Selection and Analysis

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Devante Bond / OLB / 6-1 / 235

At Oklahoma: Blessed with natural play-making ability, Bond was limited as a senior due to injury and missed four games. The junior college transfer did start five contests in 2015 and registered 43 tackles, including 7.0 for loss and 3.0 sacks. He also started his final three games as a junior. Full Bio & Stats

Bond Says: "I'm just definitely blessed and happy to be in the Tampa Bay organization. I talked to them at the (NFL) Combine, and I just feel happy and feel blessed to be where I'm at. They were just one of the teams that showed a lot of interest in me during the process. I know I'm going to be an outside backer there. I plan on going there and trying to contribute on special teams early and go from there.

"I couldn't stay home and just watch (it on TV) all day, so my family went to a secluded little bowling alley back home in Sacramento, bowled a little bit and just waited for the phone to ring. Tampa told me in the fifth that they were hoping I wouldn't get picked, because they wanted me early in the sixth. Then the GM called me, told me to look at my family and tell them I'm a Buc."

Projections: Although most predict that Bond will go undrafted, he is sure to be a popular free agent as he is consistently rated as one of the top 30 outside linebackers in this year's class.

NFL.com Grade: 5.1 (Back end of the roster)

What Stoops Says: "Devante was a big part of our success last year. You saw his athleticism on display at the NFL Combine and our Pro Day. He's also smart, versatile and a great pass rusher. He plays with great hands and sheds blockers well. He's only going to continue to improve at the next level."

 

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