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2016 NFL Draft: Potential Panther? Shawn Oakman

Once thought of as a potential top-ten pick, most now feel that Baylor's Shawn Oakman won't be drafted until the the last day of the draft. Has the hate went too far?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor


Oakman started his career at Penn State, red-shirted his first season, but was kicked off the team without having played a down. He transferred to Baylor and was forced to sit out the 2012 season. He flashed as a back-up defensive end in 2013, before starting his final two seasons.

Bleacher Report's Jason King wrote a great piece on Oakman and what he has had to overcome in his life (having spent time in homeless shelters, his late father that he only met once, his HIV-positive mother was a cocaine addict who spent 18 months in prison).

As a child, Oakman felt like an afterthought, a nuisance. As a fast-rising high school star, he was coddled like a king. At Penn State, he was tagged as a hooligan. It's no coincidence he wears No. 2. "Second chances," Oakman says.

Even though he was regarded as a surefire top-15 pick in last spring's (2015) NFL draft, Oakman says the allure of becoming a millionaire and helping his family never came close to swaying his decision. "More money, more problems," Oakman says. "I just want to be a kid for one more year. My family has been poor their whole lives. They can be poor for nine more months."

Baylor HC Art Briles is emphatic that Oakman will be a draft steal:

"He's a different cat. I wouldn't want to categorize him," Briles said. "Shawn has done an unbelievable job of staying very humble. He is a tremendous athlete with a tremendous frame. Whoever gets him, they're getting a steal in the draft, I can promise you that."

Because of a perceived lack of production in college, Oakman is seen as an underachiever. However, given where he came from, it can be argued that he has overachieved.


The idea he has not been a productive college player is pure fiction. Oakman compiled 128 tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles and 17.5 sacks in three seasons.

In his first season as a starter, he had 19.5 TFL with 11 sacks adding 8 additional hurries, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 pass break-ups.

While suffering a drop-off, Oakman still led the Bears with 14.5 tackles for loss and added 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season.

His production ratio over the past two seasons (Production Ratio = Sacks + Tackles For Loss divided by Number of Games) was fourth among all draft-eligible defensive ends behind only Ogbah, Bosa, and Kaufusi.

To better explain his underachiever label, Big Cat Country gave us these stats:

In his entire college career, Oakman amassed nearly 75% of his sacks (13) and over 75% (35) of his tackles for a loss against teams with losing records. Against teams with winning records, he only recorded 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss in 20 games.

For all of his collegiate accomplishments, there are legitimate questions about how Oakman's game will translate to the NFL. Profile

Oakman will be a polarizing figure in draft rooms. Built like Adonis from the waist up with thunderous power in his hands. Able to create instant bull rush thanks to arm extension and explosive hips. Doesn't have leverage or lower body power to translate play strength.

While Oakman has limited upfield burst and no counters as a pass rusher, his length and ability to set a hard edge are no joke and his traits should get him drafted much higher than his tape warrants.

Senior Bowl

Oakman logged two sacks, a forced a fumble, and two hurries while being selected as the South Team's Most Outstanding Player of the Game. However, it wasn't a good week in practice. In recapping the week, CBS Sports' Rob Rang said that Oakman "may have a higher upside in professional wrestling or body building than football."

NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein noted that scouts have confided that Oakman's interviews were "a mess" at the Senior Bowl when asked questions about his dismissal from Penn State with NFL scouts and personnel executives at the Senior Bowl.

NFL Combine/Pro Day

Last summer Oakman did four pull-ups with a 120-pound harness attached to his body. There was also the video of him doing 40-inch box jumps holding a pair of 70-pound dumbbells. His body fat was measured at 6 percent.

A big reason so many were ever so high on Oakman is that he has a reputation as a "freak athlete" and at 6'8" and 287 pounds with a massive wingspan, Oakman is certainly built like a freak athlete. However, it is Oakman's size and frame that prevents him from being able to display athletic traits required on the football field, as noted by his 4.96 second 40-yard dash, and poor times in the 3-cone and short shuttle drills.

The Film

Perhaps Oakman's best tape was against Michigan State's Jack Conklin. On back-to-back plays, Oakman both got a sack then forced Conklin to false-start in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

My Thoughts

Oakman was number-one in my "Top-Ten I Hate More than You" I did during the tenth week of the 2015 college football season, but that was when he was being over-hyped. However, I think the hate has went too far.

Oakman is the "prototypical boom-or-bust prospect. Despite a massive frame, Oakman has a ridiculous first step that immediately puts OTs off balance. Unfortunately, he too often allows them to recover. Oakman's game is quite limited due to his unusual build and skill-set.

At 6'8" Oakman simply can not play with any type of leverage. Because he is so tall and lanky, he is unable to really move with much agility, and he rarely spins back to the inside to take advantage of LTs overplaying his speed rush. He has no vast array of pass rush moves, and a poor anchor against the run.

However, as they say "It only takes one", and I believe there will be more than one GM, position coach, or coordinator that gets one look at the "Oak-monster" and decides they have to have him. Built like Lebron James, Oakman will be a unique athlete in the NFL, and has put together some tremendous flashes from his right defensive end spot.

The Bengals seem to like players like Oakman, having drafted Michael Johnson (6'7, 280), Carlos Dunlap (6'6, 280), and Margus Hunt (6'8, 290) all between picks 52-70.

While I would NOT want it to be the Panthers, I would not be surprised if a team (like the Bengals) takes a chance on Oakman in the late second round.