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Pros and Cons for Every New Oklahoma State Player in the NFL



Dreams came to fruition this weekend, as former Cowboys find themselves donning the logo of an NFL team. It’s an amazing and transformational time in their lives as they prepare for their first season playing professional football. Some players have a spot on the roster locked up, while others will likely need to beat some guys out in order to make the team.

Nine Cowboys found their way to an NFL roster last weekend. I’ll do my best to find a pro and a con for each.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pro: Washington is going to be an afterthought for opposing defenses, at least to begin his career. Just take a look at the immense talent around him.

Antonio Brown is widely known as the best receiver in all of football.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is a game-breakinig talent who got hot toward the end of last season.

Le’Veon Bell has a case to be named the best running back in the NFL.

Washington will probably slip between the cracks on some defensive game plans, but after a few solid performances, he’ll be tough to ignore. That Pittsburgh offense is going to be a nightmare to deal with when Washington finally gets rolling.

Con: Call me lazy, but I can’t think of a single negative for Washington going to Pittsburgh; it’s a perfect fit for him. Here’s one, maybe: It’ll be a couple of years before he catches passes from Mason Rudolph in a meaningful game. Is that good enough?

Mason Rudolph: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pro: Rudolph will learn from a future Hall-of-Famer in Ben Roethlisberger, who is about the same size as the former Cowboy. There will be no immediate pressure for Rudolph to succeed or start, rather, he’ll be asked to slowly assimilate himself into the NFL as he takes notes from one of our generation’s greatest signal-callers.

Con: One of the main knocks on Rudolph is his hand size. His hands are 9 1/8 inches, which is supposedly considered small in NFL circles. That doesn’t bode well for Rudolph in the AFC North. Along with playing eight games in Pittsburgh (for what it’s worth, arguably the best game of Rudolph’s career came against Pitt at Hines Field), he’ll have to play a minimum of one in Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Those aren’t fun places to play in the winter.

Tre Flowers, Seattle Seahawks

Pro: I don’t think any player at any position could have a better pair of mentors. If Flowers takes full advantage of the veterans on the roster, he’ll pick the brains of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, both of whom are top-five safeties in the NFL. Pete Carroll embraces a physical, enthusiastic type of defense, which I believe Flowers will like. The Seahawks also have a dominant pass rush, which undoubtedly helps the secondary. Less time for the quarterback means more rushed throws and, oftentimes, worse decision-making.

Con: Flowers played safety at OSU, but Gregg Bell, a Seahawks beat reporter, says Carrol and Co. are planning to use him as a cornerback.

Gregg does great work at The News Tribune and is one of the best beat reporters in the business. I trust what he says, and it makes sense considering the Seahawks once used 6-foot-4, 220-pound Brandon Browner at cornerback. Flowers isn’t quite that big, but perhaps Carroll wants to go back to having a bigger, more physical corner. This is a con because there will be growing pains with the position switch. Also, Richard Sherman is no longer there to give Flowers advice.

Marcell Ateman, Oakland Raiders

Pro: Ateman is the biggest and most physical receiver on Oakland’s roster. Martavis Bryant, like Ateman, is 6-foot-4, but he isn’t nearly the jump-ball threat Ateman is. One snag after another, Ateman made a living with gravity defying, basketball-like boxout catches in 2017. Nobody on the Raiders’ roster possesses that ability, and that’s what Ateman specializes in. Although he’s buried deep in the depth chart, don’t be surprised to see Ateman get some work in the red zone early in his career.

Con: The AFC West is full of tough defenses. The Chargers have Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward and newly drafted Derwin James. The Broncos have Chris Harris Bradley Roby, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The Chiefs have Eric Berry and Justin Houston. Not to mention Jon Gruden might have some bumps in his first season back as an NFL coach.

Chris Lacy, New England Patriots

Pro: He’ll definitely get a shot to make the team. Wes Welker was an undrafted receiver. Julian Edelman was a seventh-round pick. Chris Hogan was an undrafted free agent. Lacy will get his chance to make the team, and if he does, he’ll catch passes from Tom Brady. Rudolph was no scrub, but to catch passes from Tom Brady is every receiver’s dream.

Con: The Patriots have so many receivers that Lacy might find himself on the practice squad or back in free agency. Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell are back from injuries. The Pats traded for Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson in the past year. They signed Jordan Matthews in free agency and also drafted Miami’s Braxton Berrios in the sixth round. Add Hogan and special teams ace Matthew Slater in there, and that’s eight receivers before Lacy on the depth chart. The Patriots won’t keep more than that and will likely cut at least three of them. It’s going to be a real struggle for Lacy to even make the roster.

Zach Crabtree, Los Angeles Chargers

Pro: He might play alongside former OSU tackle Russell Okung. I know this isn’t as in-depth or insightful as the other notes, but it’d be cool to have two-fifths of an NFL team’s offensive line from OSU.

Con: Similar to Ateman’s con above, if he does make the team, he’ll have to block pass-rushing monsters like Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Khalil Mack and more. Yikes.

Brad Lundblade, Seattle Seahawks

Pro: Seattle is investing in the running game and the offensive line. That’s good news. They know the line is an issue, and they’re addressing it. They spent their first-round pick on a running back, and they’re aware of their deficiencies. Giving Lundblade a post-draft offer means they’re willing to see if he could be part of the answer at the position. Plus, he has a chance to block for former OSU running back Chris Carson.

Con: It’s a work in progress. Seattle’s offensive line has been atrocious during the past two seasons, so it’s not going to be an easy job, if he does earn it. Oh, and good luck going up against the NFL’s sack leader (Chandler Jones) and the NFL’s most unfair duo (Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald).

DeQuinton Osborne

Pro: The Cowboys’ defensive tackles are young. This doesn’t mean much, but nobody on the interior of Dallas’ defensive line has established themselves yet. That means Osborne, with a good offseason, has a chance to get some reps.

Con: The Cowboys already have a ton of defensive linemen. This is the case for many undrafted free agents, but Osborne has an uphill battle to make the roster. They have seven defensive ends and six defensive tackles not counting Osborne. That’s 13 players (more than a fifth of their active roster on game days) accounted for on the defensive line. Injuries are going to have to happen for Osborne to crack the rotation.

Ramon Richards

Pro: He gets to join former OSU defensive back Kevin Peterson. The Bears signed Peterson as an undrafted free agent in 2017 before he found his way onto the Rams’ roster. Having a former teammate who knows what it’s like to grind after not hearing his name called will be beneficial for Richards.

Con: The Rams just beefed up their secondary. Los Angeles isn’t messing around this season, especially when it comes to accruing assets for their secondary. They traded for All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib and signed former Pro-Bowler Sam Shields. Those three are locks to make the roster on their name and reputation alone. Some things are going to have to fall Richards’ way if he wants to stick in L.A.

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