Four More Selected on Final Day of NFL Draft
NORMAN — Oklahoma offensive linemen Dru Samia and Ben Powers, kicker/punter Austin Seibert and running back Rodney Anderson were selected on the final day of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday, giving the Sooners eight total draft picks on the weekend, tied for the second most in a single draft by a school during the Big 12 era.
Samia was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 12th pick of the fourth round (114th overall), Powers went to the Baltimore Ravens with the 21st pick of the fourth round (123rd overall), Seibert was picked by the Cleveland Browns with the 32nd selection of the fifth round (170th overall) and Anderson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 38th choice of the sixth round (211th overall).
The foursome joins quarterback Kyler Murray (No. 1 overall by the Arizona Cardinals), wide receiver Marquise Brown (No. 25 overall to the Baltimore Ravens), offensive lineman Cody Ford (No. 38 overall to the Buffalo Bills) and offensive lineman Bobby Evans (No. 97 overall to the Los Angeles Rams) as OU's 2019 selections.
Oklahoma's eight draftees are its most since 2005 when OU produced 10 picks, the most ever during the Big 12 era. This marked the first draft since 1988 that seven offensive Sooners were selected, and the first since 1988 that four OU offensive linemen were picked.
Only Alabama (10) and Ohio State (nine) had more players taken in the 2019 draft than OU's eight.
The Sooners were followed in the Big 12 by West Virginia with five 2019 draftees, TCU with three, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas with two each, and Baylor and Texas Tech with one each.
Since 2000, a total of 95 Sooners have been selected in the NFL Draft. That's 27 more than the next closest Big 12 program during the time period (Texas, 68) and 47 more than the second-closest (TCU, 48). Oklahoma is the only program in the country that has had at least four players picked in the NFL Draft each of the last 12 years.
Samia, who is tied for second in OU history among offensive linemen with 48 career starts, was productive right out of the chute as a Sooner, playing in 12 games as a true freshman in 2015 and starting nine, including the season opener at right tackle. He remains just one of 11 freshmen in school history to start at least one game at offensive tackle.
From there, the 6-5, 306-pound Samia, who hails from Sacramento, Calif., continued to blossom as he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore, second-team all-league acclaim as a junior and first-team All-Big 12 recognition as a senior when he was named Tri-Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. The three-time Academic All-Big 12 Team member started all 14 games in 2018 and did not give up a sack in 881 snaps.
"Dru is one of the guys who started on the ground floor with this thing four years ago, and to come to Oklahoma and be a four-year starter on the offensive line is a rare, rare thing," said OU head coach Lincoln Riley. "But Dru's done it and has been one of the most intense, dedicated players that I can ever remember. He played guard, tackle and a little bit of everything for us. He's been a great leader and a guy who really brought an edge to our group. He's going to be really valuable at the next level because of his intensity and his versatility, and I know the Vikings are really going to love having him."
Besides Kyler Murray, the 6-4, 310-pound Powers was OU's most decorated player in 2018. The senior offensive guard played in 13 of 14 contests (all starts) and was a consensus All-American, earning first-team honors from the AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp Foundation. The Outland Trophy semifinalist did not surrender a sack in his 829 snaps and was also a first-team All-Big 12 selection by league coaches and the AP.
Powers, a Wichita, Kan., product who arrived at OU before the 2016 season after spending one year at Butler (Kan.) Community College, played in 11 games at OU as a sophomore with starts at left guard in each of the team's final 10 outings, and earned second-team all-league honors by the AP. As a junior in 2017, he started 12 of his 14 contests (10 at left guard, two at right guard) and was recognized by Big 12 coaches as a second-team all-conference player. Powers earned Academic All-Big 12 honors each of the last two seasons.
"What a story Ben is," Riley began. "Nobody really recruited the kid out of high school or junior college, and he's a guy who just did everything right in our program. He's worked his tail off and his best ball is certainly ahead of him. He's a tremendous player, been a great leader and representative for us, and I'm really happy for him as he takes his next step with the Ravens."
Seibert was a huge weapon the last four years, handling placekicking and punting responsibilities the entire time and serving as the team's kickoff specialist the last three seasons. The 5-9, 211-pounder from Belleville, Ill., is the leading scorer in school and Big 12 history with 499 career points, and he ranks first among FBS kickers in career scoring. He also ranks first in FBS history in career extra points made (310) and attempted (315). Seibert posted the most, second-most and fourth-most points in single-season school history (138 in 2018, 132 in 2017 and 124 in 2015), and ranks second in school annals in PAT percentage (.984) and in career field goals made (63), fourth in career field goal percentage (.797) and fifth in career punting average (41.7). He also assembled a school-record streak of 162 consecutive made PATs from 2016-18.
Seibert, who was the second kicker taken in the draft, capped his career in 2018 by becoming OU's first Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
"Austin's been one of our more valuable players the last several years," said Riley. "It's really amazing how good he's been at field goals, kickoffs and punts throughout his career. He's made big kicks and has had big moments all four years, and then this past year pulled off the rare feat of being a specialist who was elected by his teammates as a captain. He did a great job in that role. He's been very, very valuable because of his unique skill set and I'm excited to follow him at the next level."
Anderson was dealt a tough hand in three of his four years in Norman as he faced season-ending injuries in or before the second game of those campaigns. But in 2017, he was one of the most productive running backs in the country. As a redshirt sophomore that season, Anderson led OU with 1,161 rushing yards (82.9 per game) and with 18 total touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving). Beginning with OU's Oct. 21 game at Kansas State, he led all Power Five players the rest of the year (eight games) with 1,333 yards from scrimmage (166.6 average) and 16 total TDs. He found the end zone four times on two occasions (vs. TCU and West Virginia) and concluded the season with a 201-yard rushing effort and two TDs against Georgia in the College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl.
The 6-0, 224-pounder from Katy, Texas, was headed for another standout season in 2018 with 100 yards on five carries (two touchdowns) against Florida Atlantic in the opener and 19 yards on six carries (one TD) against UCLA before injuring his knee on the final play of the first quarter. Anderson is the third OU running back taken in the NFL Draft in the last three years, joining Joe Mixon (also Cincinnati) and Samaje Perine (Washington) in 2017.
"I don't know if there's a better story in college football about perseverance and bouncing back," said Riley. "He's easily one of the best talents in this draft and I'm thrilled that he was able to be picked. He's going to be able to prove to the Bengals that they made a great decision. He's a tremendous player and an incredibly dedicated player, and you just really have to appreciate the journey he's been on. I'm so happy for him."