Rufus Alexander, returning from a knee injury that wiped out his rookie season, forced a fumble by fullback Naufahu Tahi with a big hit and then recovered the ball.
Rufus Alexander will miss the entire 2007 season after tearing his ACL in the team’s Friday night exhibition opener against St. Louis.
Which Oklahoma Sooner will have a bigger impact in his first year, Adrian Peterson or Rufus Alexander?
Although I believe Rufus Alexander will have a nice career with the Vikings, Adrian Peterson will have a bigger impact with the team next season. He will complement incumbent running back Chester Taylor nicely and will provide the Vikings with a solid one-two punch in the backfield.
Adrian Peterson, 1st round, 7th overall, Minnesota Vikings, cleared for rookie minicamp, starts Friday
Rufus Alexander, slid down the 6th round, Minnesota Vikings.
C.J. Ah You, 7th round, Buffalo Bills
Zach Latimer is headed to Washington
Larry Birdine is headed to Green Bay along with Paul Thompson
South No. 49 Patrick Willis ILB Ole Miss
North No. 31 Paul Posluszny OLB Penn State
South No. 33 Rufus Alexander OLB Oklahoma
North No. 45 David Harris ILB Michigan
South No. 30 Earl Everett OLB Florida
Willis stood out as the most complete linebacker at this year’s Senior Bowl. His quickness, instincts and toughness were evident during practices all week. Alexander displays outstanding athleticism for his size, and he’s far tougher and more instinctive than he gets credit for. Harris is a tough run-stuffer with limited coverage ability, which is why he projects as a second- or third-round pick. Posluszny, on the other hand, did not shine during agility drills and his stock is slipping a bit as a result. Everett was inconsistent this week and could slip out of the first day of the draft.
Around the South practice
Oklahoma OLB Rufus Alexander may be the most impressive linebacker at the Senior Bowl, especially from a quickness and athletic ability standpoint. He has shown better instincts than anticipated this week, quickly inserts himself against the run and plays with a physical edge to his game. Alexander has very good speed and is strong in pursuit. He is a fine downhill linebacker without compromising the ability to play in space or excel in coverage. Alexander seems to fly a bit below the radar and probably fits only as a Will (or weakside) linebacker at the next level, but he is a fine football player. He has the makings of a potential high-end starter in the NFL.
Oklahoma defensive line
Oklahoma’s defense ranks among the elite in college football in terms of overall talent. In fact, with eight returning starters from a unit that finished strong in 2005, the expectation is for the Sooner defense to carry the team while the offense finds an identity under new starting quarterback Paul Thompson. If Saturday’s performance is any indication, the folks in Norman are in for another disappointing season. The Sooners surrendered 17 points and 14 first downs to a sub-par UAB offense — in their own backyard, nonetheless. Linebackers Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer did their part by combining for 20 tackles and a sack. However, the defensive line failed to record a sack, and it gave up too much ground versus the run. Forget the Texas game; this unit will have its hands full in two weeks against a veteran Oregon offensive line that averages 320-plus pounds per member. Veteran defensive linemen Calvin Thibodeaux, Larry Birdine, C.J. Ah You and Carl Pendleton will be counted on to upgrade this unit’s play moving forward.