There may not be an NFL franchise based in the state, but Oklahoma Football has been the steppingstone to NFL success for dozens of players over the years.
As the divisional playoff rounds approach, and with football fans across the nation studying the markets and the Super Bowl prospects of the entire14 playoff teams via NFL betting apps and sites, this is a good time to remind fans of the great contribution to NFL success that the University of Oklahoma has made.
This year, Sooners alumni feature across most of the playoff contenders. Here are the six who have the best chance of making it to the big game in Arizona on February 12th.
Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
Perhaps the most famous former Sooner to have a chance of a Super Bowl spot is the quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jalen Hurts.
Hurts started his college career with Alabama but transferred to Oklahoma for his final year and made a huge impact, breaking the college single-game yardage record in his first appearance.
He went on to be one of the best players at the college level finishing second to Joe Burrow in the Heisman Trophy voting. Given his shot with the Eagles he has proven to be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback and a true leader, who has led the team to a first-round playoff bye.
Lane Johnson – Philadelphia Eagles
Hurts is not the only Sooner on the Eagles’ roster, however. Lane Johnson has already tasted Super Bowl success and is aiming to claim his second NFL Championship this year.
Johnson started his Sooners career as a practice squad quarterback in 2009, before moving to tight end, and then defensive end.
It was only when the team suffered a string of injuries that Johnson was asked to fill in at offensive tackle and he proved such a natural at the position that he went on to play the role for the best part of his two final seasons.
He was the fourth overall pick of 2013 for Philadelphia and has been on the Eagles’ roster ever since, playing a key role in the 2017 Super Bowl triumph and continuing to provide a dynamic presence. This season, he set an NFL record of not allowing a single sack in 26 consecutive games.
Cee Dee Lamb – Dallas Cowboys
Cee Dee Lamb is part of a Dallas Cowboys roster that has been in contention for the playoffs all season and which Dallas fans hope will finally end the long wait for a Super Bowl win.
At Oklahoma, he caught passes from Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts, finishing his three-year college career with 173 receptions and 3,292 receiving yards. He was named as a consensus All-American in 2019 and was drafted in the first round by the Cowboys the following year.
In his first season in the NFL, he finished second among rookies in receiving yards. In his second year, he was named to his first Pro Bowl. This season he has improved again, becoming the Cowboys’ leading receiver and a major part of their powerful offense.
Jordan Phillips – Buffalo Bills
The Bills’ season took a terrible turn in Week 17 of the regular season when safety Damar Hamlin suffered a heart attack on the field.
Fortunately for Hamlin, his family and the Bills organization, the player appears to be making a good recovery. For the Bills, a season that so nearly ended in tragedy may yet still end in celebration as they head into the playoffs.
Hoping to play a major role in the postseason is defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Redshirted as a freshman at Oklahoma in 2011, Phillips has had a rollercoaster career with the Dolphins, the Bills and the Cardinals.
He returned to the Bills in March last year and has been a useful back-up, playing in 12 games and registering six quarterback hits and 11 tackle assists.
Trent Williams – San Francisco 49ers
The highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, Trent Williams was reunited with coach Kyle Shanahan at San Francisco in 2020, having previously played for him in Washington.
A star player for Oklahoma between 2006 and 2009, he was drafted as the number four overall pick by Washington in the 2010 Draft and he went on to be one of the franchise’s best-ever players, earning eight Pro Bowl selections and being inducted into Washington’s Greatest Players list.
With San Francisco, he has been a vital part of this season’s playoff push and has every chance of being the latest Sooner to feature in a Super Bowl.
Orlando Brown Jr – Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are once again among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season and former Sooner Orlando Brown Jr will be a key part of the team’s playoff push.
The offensive lineman is the son of Orlando Brown, who played for the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore was the first NFL destination for Brown after three years at Oklahoma, where he was twice awarded the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year award and twice selected as an All-Big 12 First Teamer.
Selected in the third round of the 2018 Draft, Brown proved to be one of the best steals of the Draft that year, playing for Baltimore for three seasons before moving to Kansas City in 2021.
A regular lineman this season, Brown is a four-time Pro Bowler and an essential part of the protection that enables Patrick Mahomes to drive the Chiefs to success.
So, there’s my six. Use the comments section to tell me your opinion on who I might have missed out on.
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