NFL Draft: Kyler Murray going No. 1 makes history, boosts Sooner brand
ESPN opened its coverage of the NFL Draft with a hype video.
You know the type. Striking music. Slick images. Dramatic voiceover.
“Here we are,” the dramatic voiceover said. “The future plays before you.”
Paired with those words was video of Kyler Murray. Only Kyler Murray. No other draft hopefuls. No other future millionaires.
For the first 10 or more seconds of that intro, the Oklahoma quarterback was the lone player shown. While he would be linked a little later in the evening to the Arizona Cardinals, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall, in that moment, he was still a Sooner.
That kind of advertising is priceless for OU football.
Much of the early proceedings Thursday became an infomercial for the Sooners. On a night OU made history by becoming the first school to have quarterbacks selected with the overall No. 1 pick in back-to-back years, the brand got a boost.
What started a year ago with Baker Mayfield going first to Cleveland has only picked up momentum.
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The Sooners aren’t just a force on fall Saturdays.
They are one on draft weekend in the spring, too.
If you’re a big-time quarterback recruit, wouldn’t you automatically have to put OU on your short list? Lincoln Riley and the Sooners have shown that quarterbacks, even one who walked on and one who is well shy of 6-feet, can be made into superstars. Not just on the college level but on the pay-for-play level.
Heismans are nice, but Benjamins are niiiiiice.
That notion was embraced by the program on its social media platforms, places where young folks spend a lot of time these days. Pinned to the top of the team’s Twitter account all day Thursday was a graphic with a big picture of Murray at the top.
In bold letters: “THE PIPELINE CONTINUES.”
There were also tweets pointing out OU’s draft history. Heading into Thursday night, it had 385 players drafted, including 43 first-rounders and four top picks. But as great as all that is, recent history is what recruits know about.
What they care about, too.
And recent history for offensive players at OU is very bright. Mayfield became a starter for the Browns in his rookie season, but so did Orlando Brown, the offensive tackle taken in the third round by the Ravens. Even Mark Andrews, drafted soon after Brown by the Ravens last year, started three games as a rookie.
The message is clear – offensive players who come to Norman will be readied and equipped and prepared for the NFL.
Now, defensive players have been a different story. Unless something unexpected happens this year, OU is going to go without a single defensive player getting picked in the draft, something that hasn’t happened since 1995.
What we already knew about the Sooners’ defensive struggles last season is being confirmed by the NFL.
Then again, what we knew about the OU offense’s greatness is also being confirmed. It was no coincidence Lincoln Riley was a sought-after man in the hours leading up to the draft. Appearances on NFL Live and College Gameday. Interviews on the Rich Eisen Show and NFL Radio. Everyone wanted to talk to the mastermind.
Then a few hours later, there was Riley in the green room with his newest No. 1 pick. He bear hugged Murray, whispered a few words of congratulations, then got a little misty eyed
Talk about a hype video for Sooner Nation.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or email@example.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.