Okung, Williams among top tackles
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 28, 2010
2/28/10 at 7:02 AM
INDIANAPOLIS — There are a half-dozen offensive tackle prospects considered first-round material. Some are regarded better than others.
Oklahoma's Trent Williams and Oklahoma State's Russell Okung are two of the best.
On Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine, Williams and Okung continued pushing toward their pro career by working out in front of hundreds of scouts and a national television audience.
Former NFL general manager Charley Casserly said he understands through his conversations with various scouts and personnel directors that OU's Trent Williams will be better suited to play right tackle in the NFL, not the more demanding position of left tackle.
"That theoretically drops his value below the other players," Casserly said.
Williams can play both sides. He also can fill in at center. Okung (6-5, 307) is a better left tackle prospect, Casserly said.
"The comment on Okung there is that he plays to the level of competition," Casserly said. "That's not all bad in the NFL, now. But you don't want a guy that's up and down. Real physical, strong type guy."
Okung bench pressed 38 reps (225 pounds) on Friday — a good number, but way off the new record of 45 by Arkansas' Mitch Petrus.
Okung said it was a "compliment" to be considered a possible franchise offensive tackle.
"But right now, I've gotta get to work," Okung said. "That's not for me to decide. I'm going to bust my tail and give all I've got on every play."
In Saturday's sprints, Williams stood out, running the 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds. That's the second-fastest time among offensive linemen at the combine. Offensive tackles seldom run 40 yards in a game, but it's a measuring stick for how fast a player can move his feet, and that's as important to a pass blocker as anything.
"Me, personally, I would think that I would rank towards the top," Williams said. "Not saying that I'm the best or anything, but I think that's what the combine is for, to help separate the competition."
John E. Hoover 581-8384
Oklahoma State's Russell Okung runs a drill Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Okung is expected to be among the first offensive tackles taken in the draft in April. Michael Conroy/Associated Press