Photo of Frank Okam
Grade
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  • 32 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 6'5" Height
  • 320LBS. Weight

Overview

A member of the Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy watch lists in 2007, the three-time All-Big 12 Conference selection is a big, strong and explosive run defender who anchored the Longhorns' defensive line from his strong-side defensive tackle position the last three years. While the team's pass defense struggled the last two years since Texas won its national championship, Okam's dominance in the middle has seen the Longhorns rank sixth in rush defense in 2007 (93.38 ypg) and finish third nationally in 2006 (61.15 ypg).

Dominating the action in the trenches is the main reason Texas heavily recruited Okam coming out of Lake Highlands High School, where the versatile athlete earned Class 5A All-State recognition in both football and track-&-field. He was a Parade All-American choice as a senior and a two-time first-team All-District selection. He was chosen first-team 5A All-State honors by the Associated Press and tabbed first-team All-District 9-5A as a senior. He also played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Okam posted 170 tackles, seven sacks, 14 stops for losses, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 11 quarterback pressures, one blocked kick and five pass break-ups during his career. He registered 56 tackles (31 solos), four sacks, eight stops behind the line of scrimmage, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three pressures, one blocked kick and four pass deflections in helping his team limit opponents to just 215.7 total yards per game in 2003.

Okam added first-team All-District honors after recording 61 tackles, three sacks and five stops for losses as a junior. His team was 6-5 and earned a spot in the state playoffs that season. He earned All-District recognition and was a starter on the defensive line as a sophomore, registering 53 stops. In track, he finished fifth at the 2003 Texas 5A state meet in the discus (174-6).

Okam made an immediate contribution to the Texas defensive line as a true freshman in 2004, earning Freshman All-American honors while playing in 12 games behind Rodrique Wright at left defensive tackle. He earned his first career start vs. Baylor and finished his first campaign with 22 tackles (11 solos), two sacks and six stops for losses. He recovered a fumble, deflected five passes and had nine quarterback pressures.

As a sophomore, Okam garnered All-Big 12 Conference second-team honors, as he started all 13 games at strong-side defensive tackle. He helped the team capture the national championship, as the Longhorns' defense ranked 10th in the country, giving up just 302.92 yards per game. He went on to post 48 tackles (23 solos), a sack, five stops behind the line of scrimmage and 11 pressures. He recovered two fumbles, including one in the end zone for a touchdown and batted down two passes.

A Playboy All-American preseason selection in 2006, Okam was slowed earlier in the year by a knee injury that forced him to sit out the Baylor game. He earned All-Big 12 honorable mention for 12 starts at strong-side tackle. He delivered 38 tackles (22 solos), two sacks, six stops for losses and 10 pressures while recovering one fumble.

Okam seriously considered entering the 2007 NFL Draft and bypassing his senior season, but decided that it was best that he return to school. "Looking at all of the things I've done in college, there are some of the goals I still haven't reached," Okam said. "One of the main goals is to get my degree, and I'm on schedule to do that in December. You also take into account your fans and being a good role model to other young student-athletes to let them know education is important by staying in school that extra year and graduating. I'm still enjoying the college life, the University of Texas has been good to me, and I want to finish my football career with a good senior year and have my degree, as well."

Voted a captain by his teammates, Okam earned one of the Dr. Nasser Al-Rashid Strength & Conditioning Awards and was named one of UT's Outstanding Defensive Linemen. He picked up first-team All-Big 12 and Academic All-Big 12 honors as a senior in 2007, starting all 13 games. He recorded a career-high 52 tackles (25 solos) with five sacks and 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He generated 16 pressures with five pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a thick frame with wide hips and waist, long arms and big hands (needs to get in better condition)...Plays high in his stance and lacks leverage, but does use his body adequately to lean into the blocker and generate a short-area push off the snap...Best when stationary, waiting for the action to come to him, as he can occupy multiple blockers to free up a teammate to make the play...Has good timing and a great reach to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage...Strictly a bull rusher, but can seal the deal when he gets a straight-forward, clear path to the quarterback (not good when taking angles or coming on a wide loop)...Smart player who retains plays well, but sometimes fails to take it from the chalkboard to the field (more due to an inconsistent motor)...Hard worker who competes in the weight room and in practice, but must perform at that high level throughout the game...A team leader with a presence and can be vocal when it's needed...A tough, coachable player who is accountable and dependable and will play hurt...Takes advantage of his size (over techniques) to clog the rush lanes and push back the lead blocker...Big-bodied player who engulfs ballcarriers on contact...Not consistent, but can use his hands well for blocker protection, keeping opponents off his legs...Can be late off the snap, but when he keeps his pads down, he is more effective at creating advantage that he will retain coming off the ball...With a lower pad level, he is better at playing with good leverage, as he seems to be more effective at using his hands to keep his feet free and apply 2-gap pressure...Can stall the double team with leverage and can recover and create a pile when he keeps his hands active and inside the framework...When he keeps his pads down, he can flatten out better vs. double teams...Best when coming off blocks to make inside run plays rather than try to chase down the action on the outside, but doesn't always play off block pressure well...Shows natural strength to lock up and drag down the between-the-tackles runners...Has a decent rip/club move to push the pocket, but is not as effective doing it off twists and games (lacks the ability to open his hips)...Has the strength to throw and jerk blockers with his hands, but needs to be more consistent...When he has the desire and sees the lane, he gets some push on the pocket (not relentless though and needs to become more interested when he sees the target)...Can be an efficient striker in closed quarters and he can level the quarterback with good collision or wrap technique. Negatives: Has wide hips, but struggles at times to sink his weight due to a soft midsection (some belly, a little soft, but not fat or sloppy)...Has problems maintaining a low pad level and lacks the knee bend and change of direction agility to give chase going long distances...Fails to generate an explosive first step to surprise a lethargic blocker...Needs to show better flexibility in attempts to leverage and lacks the spin move or bull rush moves needed to create movement and push the pocket (does better with a straight-forward charge than when taking angles)...Gets too narrow in his stance and fails to keep his feet working down the line...Not the most instinctive in recognizing blocking schemes or locating the ball (will run into spots) and is known to throttle down when not involved in the play (needs to play until the whistle)...Has just marginal balance and plant-and-drive agility when trying to redirect...Has good size, but needs to play with more aggression...Fails to generate his weight room strength to the playing field and takes only passive swipes with his arms, as he will get his hands over-extended outside his frame, leaving his chest exposed for the block...Seems to roll off the snap rather than surge, making him a step behind in run force pursuit...Has to use his hands better in attempts to shed, as he fails to gain leverage...Plays too high at the point and can be washed out of the play...Generates a poor anchor vs. the double-team and will get displaced at times...Flashes good hand usage and counter moves in one-on-blocks, but does not do it consistently...Prefers to use his body lean to gain movement off the snap rather than driving through the blocker...Will run and chase at times, but has limited lateral quickness, burst and speed to close...As a pass rusher, he lacks the change-of-direction agility and counter ability to win battles with finesse...Doesn't generate a strong push off the snap to collapse the pocket...Best using his swim move and arm-over technique, but too often he plays his opponent chest-to-chest without working to shed... Has a functional short-area burst to close, but his playing speed is too lacking, especially when he has to close on the quarterback...Not a high motor type and will disappear for stretches...Not an all-out battler and will shut down and get frustrated when his initial move fails... Must do a better job of protecting his chest from reach blocks and use his hands better to fend off cut blocks (on the ground often)...Will tire early in games and needs a better conditioning program in order to play a full 60 minutes. Compares To: SHAUN ROGERS-Detroit...These two guys are like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates -- you just don't ever know what you are going to get from them on game day. Okam has shown flashes of dominance in his three years as a starter, but as quick as he is to make a great play, he is even quicker to disappear for long stretches. Neither player will win a foot race. Okam can occupy multiple blockers, but must be more conscious of playing at a low pad level. If the light ever goes on upstairs, he has promise, but poor conditioning, inconsistent play and a less than stellar motor is not something to waste an early-round pick on.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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