Oklahoma quarterbacks have been a pretty good bet in the last few years, even ones who don’t profile as the types of players who’d be No. 1 pick material just a few years ago. Spencer Rattler, the top quarterback recruit in the country a few years ago, is the next Sooner in the Lincoln Riley-to-NFL pipeline.
Under Riley’s tutelage, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray became back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in 2017-18, and each went No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. Jalen Hurts followed it up with a Heisman-caliber campaign, and went second-round after one year in Norman. He transferred to OU after a very successful run at Alabama.
Mayfield and Murray are far from the model 6-foot-5, drop back passer prototype that used to regularly go No. 1 in the draft. Rattler doesn’t fit that mold either, though he’s more of a pocket-focused player than his predecessors, rushing for just 160 yards on 81 carries (with six touchdowns.)
With Rattler listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum says he’s not sold on Rattler as a locked in first-round pick. He appeared on Get Up on Thursday to discuss the Sooners’ latest Heisman hopeful.
“We will have an eye on him, but I don’t know if he’s a front-line first-rounder,” Tannenbaum said, when asked if Rattler could be in the mix atop the 2022 NFL Draft. “Like you just saw, he’s not big. He’s an effective scrambler, but he’s not a high-end athlete.
“He was productive last year, 28 touchdowns, and Heather (Dinich) talked about that great winning streak but when it projects to the next level, I don’t see these great redeeming traits that maybe Sam Howell from North Carolina. He reminds me a little bit more of a guy like Kyle Trask, Brock Purdy from Iowa State.”
Obviously Rattler’s not off Tannenbaum’s board by any stretch, but it sounds like he has him at a lower tier among quarterbacks, compared to Howell out of UNC, who many see as a potential No. 1 pick if he has a big 2021.
Of course, you can never count out a Sooner QB when it comes to these incredible achievements. Spencer Rattler had some growing pains early last year, but he was locked in by the end of the year. We haven’t seen anyone since Mayfield with two years as a starter under Riley, so it doesn’t seem unfair to expect huge production from Rattler this fall.