While he certainly possesses some of the physical qualities needed to succeed in the NFL, Shawn Oakman remains one of the biggest wildcards in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Shawn Oakman burst onto the scene during a junior season that was capped off with him becoming an Internet sensation thanks to his intimidating stature.
In four seasons for the Bears, Oakman, who is 6-foot-9, totaled 128 tackles (46.5 for loss) along with 17.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, four fumble recoveries and three passes defensed.
During the 2014 season, Oakman set the school record for sacks in a single season with 11 while being selected as a third-team All-American selection by the Associated Press.
But for all of his collegiate accomplishments and the physical size his possesses, there are questions about how Oakman’s game can translate to the NFL.
In January, he tried to hush those concerns when he participated in the Senior Bowl.
“Oh man, it’s a great opportunity to come out here with these coaches, come play with these guys, these top athletes, and just able to show the ability that God gave me,” Oakman said. “So I give 100 percent thanks to God and 100 percent thanks to the coaches.”
While Oakman didn’t necessarily stand out on a stacked South Team defensive line that included Alabama’s Jarran Reed, Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence and Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins during the week of Senior Bowl practices, he stood out during the game.
Oakman tallied two sacks and a forced fumble while being selected as the South Team’s Most Outstanding Player of the Game.
“It’s always good work,” Oakman said. “Take the credit to the coaches, they taught me a lot over this past week and I just used what they gave me.”
The next step for Oakman and 62 other defensive linemen is the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine that takes place next week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
While Oakman isn’t expected to be a first-round pick and could very well be a long-term project for whichever selects him, he could do himself a favor by standing out at the Combine.
“The Bears pass rusher should consider the Combine his personal showcase,” NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread recently wrote. “After all, his reputation as a freakish athlete comes more from his weight-room exploits than his play on the field. That's what doing pull-ups with 120 pounds of iron hanging from your waist, and performing 40-inch box jumps while holding 70 pounds worth of dumbbells, will do for expectations. So with the body fat of a defensive back and the physical strength of a lineman, all eyes will be on the 6-foot-7, 269-pound monster in Indy.”