Six Baylor football players were invited to Indianapolis last week to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Head coach Art Briles has had 28 players be invited since he first started coaching at Baylor eight years ago. With six players invited this year, it tied with 2014 for the most players invited.
The invitees included junior defensive tackle Andrew Billings, junior wide receiver Corey Coleman, senior offensive tackle Spencer Drango, junior cornerback Xavien Howard, senior deep snapper Jimmy Landes, and senior defensive end Shawn Oakman.
At 6-foot-1 and 311 pounds, Billings has captured the NFL’s attention. Billings was named 2015 Defensive Lineman of the year and 2015 Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Billings also lead the Bears in tackles that resulted in a loss, which helped show his potential and athleticism.
Billings would impress with his combine results, completing the 40 yard dash in 5.05 seconds, doing 31 reps on the bench press, had a 27.5 inch vertical jump, a 113.0 inch broad jump, completed the 3-cone drill in 8.05 seconds, and ran the 20 yard shuttle run in 4.82 seconds.
Coming off a season ending sports hernia operation, Coleman has come back out of the gates full force and is projected to be one of the best wide receivers.
Coleman led the country in 2015 with 20 touchdown receptions, resulting in him winning Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver.
In the combine Coleman produced 17 reps on the bench press, had a 40.5-inch vertical jump, and a 129.0-inch broad jump.
“I’ve been doing everything that I can do to be the best pro that I can be,” Coleman said at a press conference following the combine. “I talked to Brandon Marshall a lot, even though we are two different receivers, but it’s good to pick his brain and get some knowledge from him and what he has learned from the game and how he developed as a player.”
“It’s not just going to happen, you are going to have to put in time,” Coleman said when asked what he believes it takes in the NFL. “That means staying in the film room, you are going to have to stay there and learn your playbook, it’s a different language in the pros. It’s a big play book, you have to dedicate yourself and put in time to stay focused and be at your best when you are playing on Sundays.”
Starting all four years at Baylor, Drango’s size and strength assisted the Bears with many of their victories, most recently as the Russell Athletic Bowl, where the Bears overcame North Carolina.
Drango accomplishments on and off the field have captured scouts attention. His powerful upper body and ability to get blocks will need to continue being a big part of his game if he wants to make it to the next level.
Drango completed the 40-yard dash in 5.27 seconds, did 30 reps on the bench press, had a 100-inch broad jump, completed the 3-cone drill in 7.88 seconds, and ran the 20-yard shuttle run in 4.66 seconds.
The two-time All-Big 12 cornerback led the Bears with interceptions this past season. Redshirting in 2012, Howard was able to learn from the sidelines when his time came to shine he did. Howard started all 26 games in the past two seasons and made his mark on the field where he recorded 93 tackles. Weighing in at 201 pounds and being 6-feet tall, gives him the perfect frame for a player in the NFL. In the combine he impressed with a 4.58 second 40-yard dash, completed 11 reps on the bench press, had a 33-inch vertical jump, 122-inch broad jump, ran the 3 cone drill in 7.18 seconds, and finished the 20-yard shuttle run in 4.15 seconds.
As a two-sport athlete, Landes made his mark on the football and baseball fields. Landes walked on as a snapper in 2011 and was put to the test very quickly, as the originally starter was injured two games into the season. Landes decided to redshirt in 2012 to focus on being a Baylor baseball catcher, but quickly decided the following year to return to football once again as a back-up snapper. Being awarded a scholarship and starting position for his last two years, Landes accuracy on snaps seemed to hit the mark. However, if Landes wants to make it to the NFL he will need to continue with his accuracy, but improve on the speed of the snap.
With decent results in the combine, Landes ran the 40-yard dash in 5.00 seconds, had a 110.0 inch broad jump, completed the 3-cone drill in 7.05 seconds, and ran the 20 yard shuttle run in 4.38 seconds.
At 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 287 pounds, Oakman has made his presence felt on the field. With his unique built and style, he has impressed at Baylor after being kicked off the Penn State team as a true freshman. After redshirting, Oakman started in all the games in his remaining three years active as a Bear.
As a three-time All-Big 12 honoree, Oakman finished second all-time on Baylor’s chart for tackles for a loss, was a 2016 senior bowl participant, and ended his career at Baylor with 127 tackles.
“He’s going to get beat up but I’ll take a guy who has his size and power,” an AFC executive said. “Those guys make it in the league and they usually get better too. He’s not a pass rusher; he’s disruptive against the run. That is who you have to draft.”
Oakman produced a 4.96 second 40-yard dash, had 23 reps on the bench press, a 32-inch vertical jump, 123.0-inch broad jump, ran the 3 cone drill in 7.53 seconds, and finished the 20-yard shuttle run in 4.56 seconds.
Another AFC area scout had this to say about the Baylor defensive end.
“Everybody on the road is beating up (Shawn) Oakman because he’s been so overrated by the national media. … I wouldn’t take him in the first three rounds, but I’m not convinced that he can’t become an NFL player. He’s never going to be a great pass rusher, but he’s really powerful and that is a trait that coaches can work with and do something with.”