DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
After losing offensive stalwarts Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon to the 2012 NFL Draft, the Oklahoma State Cowboys took a step back last season and finished the year 8-5. After dropping games to Oklahoma and Baylor to close the regular season, Oklahoma State throttled Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to finish the year on a positive note. Now entering their ninth season under head coach Mike Gundy, the Cowboys hope to regain the form that saw them go 23-3 in 2010 and 2011, with a pair of bowl victories that included a Fiesta Bowl win in the school’s first ever BCS bowl appearance.
Justin Gilbert CB 6’0” 200 – Gilbert was a four star recruit out of high school where he starred at quarterback and defensive back. As a freshman he made an immediate impact on special teams, averaging 26.8 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 26 kickoff returns. The following year Gilbert saw his role on defense increase and he finished the season with five interceptions and 10 pass breakups. During the course of the season, Gilbert picked off Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, and Andrew Luck, who were all among the top eight picks of the 2012 draft. Gilbert also finished his sophomore season averaging 27 yards per kickoff return with two more touchdowns. Last year, while he did not intercept a pass, Gilbert broke up nine passes, forced a fumble, and recorded the fifth kickoff return touchdown of his career. On defense, Gilbert took a step back last season. While he plays a lot of zone coverage, he actually seems more comfortable in press man coverage where he can better use his size and strength to disrupt opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. Gilbert has the speed to run with his man downfield and tracks the ball well in the air. He is a physical player who is not hesitant in run support, and who is often the first man down the field in punt coverage. Gilbert’s frame, speed, and ability to contribute on special teams make him an intriguing senior prospect, and if he can regain some of the form he showed during his stellar sophomore season, he should fit comfortably into the draft’s second day.
Calvin Barnett DT 6’2” 300 – Barnett initially backed out of a commitment to the Cowboys and opted to attend Arkansas. But after failing to qualify academically, he enrolled at Navarro College in Texas. After two years in the junior college ranks, Barnett went back to his original first choice, and completed the circle by signing with Oklahoma State. In his second game with the Cowboys last season, Barnett displayed the positives and negatives of his playing style, finishing the game with 1.5 tackles for loss among his five stops, and getting flagged for two personal foul penalties on one play. He finished his junior season with nine tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and a sack. While Barnett did not produce gaudy statistics, he was a force for the middle of the Cowboys’ defense, consistently disrupting running lanes and drawing double teams from opposing offensive linemen. Barnett does an excellent job holding his ground at the point of attack, and shedding blocks to make run stops. His strength is evident in his bull rush, and he shows athleticism dodging cut blocks and leaping to get his hands up into the passing lanes. Barnett is generally quick off the snap, and gives effort even when pursuing plays away from him. He is a tough matchup one-on-one, and plays with a nasty demeanor. Barnett is aware of his aggression and has worked to rein it in without losing his edge. Gundy’s hope is that his senior defensive lineman has matured and learned how to better control his emotions. Part of that will be for Barnett to get his driving privileges situated. Last year, he was popped three times in six months for driving with a suspended license. If Barnett can harness his rage and stay out of the police blotter, he should be poised for a big season.
Tracy Moore WR 6’2” 215 – Moore signed with the Cowboys out of high school in 2009, and caught 11 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman. He emerged as a serious threat as a junior, finishing third on the team in three major categories with 45 catches, 672 yards and four touchdowns. Moore was off to a hot start last season with eight catches for 106 yards and four touchdowns against Arizona, but four weeks later he suffered an ankle injury that ended his season. Moore was granted a medical redshirt and will return to Oklahoma State for a second go-around for his senior season. Interestingly enough, Moore was aided in his quest for a medical redshirt because Gundy had suspended him for the season opener. Prior to the 2012 season, Moore was arrested three times in six months. In March of 2012, he was charged with public intoxication and charged with a fine. Three months later, Moore was seen urinating in public and forced to pay another fine. Finally, in August 2012, he was arrested and charged with providing alcohol to a minor, and paid yet another fine. Moore is a talented receiver with good speed for his size, but he is going to have to prove that he can stay healthy, and that he does not have issues with alcohol before an NFL team invests a draft choice in him next May.
Also keep an eye on: Shaun Lewis OLB 5’11” 225, Jeremy Smith RB 5’10” 208, Shamiel Gary S 6’0” 210, Blake Jackson TE 6’3” 235, Daytawion Lowe S 5’11” 205, Caleb Lavey ILB 6’2” 235, Tyler Patmon CB 5’11” 180, Kye Staley FB 5’10” 236, Parker Graham G 6’7” 315, Clint Chelf QB 6’1” 210, Charlie Moore WR 6’2” 202, Brandon Webb G 6’3” 326, Zack Craig S 6’1” 200