The Option – Alex Okafor. Since Jackson Jeffcoat left the Longhorns earlier with a torn pectoral, Okafor has easily been the best lineman for Texas this season with 46 tackles, 8 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, 3 forced fumbles, a blocked kick and a pass knocked down. Like many of the other mid-to-late first rounders, Okafor has great size and aggressive speed, but as a marked difference, Okafor is consistent, not relying on a break out year or freakish athleticism; he put up similar numbers as a junior last season.
The strange and perhaps fortunate element to Okafor is he is projected as a very late first round option, more likely to go sometime in the top of the second round. Metaphorically speaking, waiting on a player like Okafor in the second or even third rounds is much more like Marvin Lewis in order to maximize the value of earlier picks, and may provide a greater player in consistency at the end of the day.
Of course, the real flavor of this pick is going to come down to Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer, or more importantly, whoever succeeds him. Coach Zimmer is one of the top coordinators expected to assume a head coaching job this off-season, even thoughSan Diego and Philadelphia have already made rumbles about their future skippers, which dwindles the market ever so. Nonetheless, one head coach who may be looking for a job as a defensive coordinator could be Rex Ryan. While the boisterous Jets Head Coach may not be the stuff dreams are made of in New York, he’s defensive mind is unquestionable genius.
More interesting, Rex Ryan has worked for Marvin Lewis before; for two seasons as the Defensive Line Coach for the Baltimore Ravens while Lewis was the Defensive Coordinator. Notably, both were on the roster when the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. Also notable, Ryan has spent time in the Queen City, from 1996-1997, when he was the Defensive Coordinator for the University of Cincinnati. Working with Coach Lewis again may be just the sabbatical that Ryan needs if he is released by the Jets, and with a defensive roster such as Bengals currently hold, its unlike that Sexy-Rexy would find a better fit anywhere in the NFL.