Draft buzz about Shawn Oakman has been on a relatively steady decline since last summer, when the confluence of an 11-sack junior season and his weight-room exploits on social media made the Baylor defensive end one of the most talked-about players in college football. But despite a decline in sack production as a senior and a pedestrian performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, Bears coach Art Briles insists Oakman will be a draft steal.
"He's a different cat. I wouldn't want to categorize him," Briles told NFL Network's NFL HQ on Wednesday. " ... Shawn has done an unbelievable job of staying very humble. He is a tremendous athlete with a tremendous frame. Whoever gets him, they're getting a steal in the draft, I can promise you that."
Oakman made 46.5 tackles for loss in three seasons at Baylor, but there are scouting questions about his consistency of effort and a rawness with his technique that led a scout to suggest as far back as November that Oakman is a third-day pick.
Of course, Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) is where the steals are.
Oakman will try to boost his draft stock Wednesday at Baylor's pro day, and he'll have quite an audience to do so.