Alexander Joins Peterson In Minnesota; Cowboys Have 2 Drafted

Sunday, April 29th 2007, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Minnesota Vikings entered this year's NFL draft having not taken an Oklahoma player in 15 years. By the time the draft ended, they had selected two of them.

The Vikings chose linebacker Rufus Alexander in the sixth round _ 176th overall _ on Sunday, one day after taking running back Adrian Peterson in the first round with the seventh overall pick.

Defensive end C.J. Ah You joined Peterson and Alexander in representing the Sooners on the draft board when he went to the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round with the 239th overall pick.

After being shut out on Saturday during the draft's first three rounds, Oklahoma State had two players taken Sunday _ defensive end Ryan McBean, in the fourth round _ 132nd overall _ by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and tackle Corey Hilliard, in the sixth round with the 209th overall pick by the New England Patriots.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Alexander received Big 12 Conference defensive player of the year honors last season after leading the Sooners with 116 tackles. He led Oklahoma in tackles for two straight seasons.

But some pro scouts had questioned his foot speed and strength, which likely caused him to fall at least a couple of rounds in the draft. Still, with the Vikings, he'll be able to see at least one familiar face.

``We're real happy for Rufus and his family, and it's great that he and Adrian are going to the same team,'' Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops said. ``I would think that would make things more comfortable for both of them.

``Rufus made a lot of plays for us. He is a sure tackler with very good closing speed. He got to a lot of ball carriers here and I don't remember very many of them getting away.''

The last Oklahoma player taken by the Vikings was running back Mike Gaddis, a sixth-round selection in 1992. The Sooners have had a linebacker drafted in six of the past seven years.

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound Ah You was a two-year starter for Oklahoma after transferring from Snow (Utah) Junior College. He finished sixth on the team in tackles last season with 41 and led the Sooners with four sacks.

``C.J. was a big, physical presence for us off the edge,'' Stoops said. ``He was able to get a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and he was able to do so without losing his containment responsibilities. He was a smart player that was able to overwhelm a lot of offensive tackles with his strength.''

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound McBean, who had 25 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks last season as the Cowboys went 7-6, became the first Oklahoma State defensive tackle picked in the draft since Minnesota took Kevin Williams in 2002.

McBean spent much of his childhood in Jamaica before his family moved to New York, then later to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He starred at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas.

There, McBean said Sunday, ``I had some real good coaches and real good teachers that cared about me. People in Euless ... looked after me as soon as I came into the district, the coaches and teachers and everything else. I had a chance to cope with my surroundings.''

He said he began playing football as a sophomore in high school.

``I'm still learning,'' he said. ``Put me with a coach, I'm just like a kid. I'm still learning and I want to learn. I want to keep learning. I'm good right now, but I know that I could be better. I could be great at anything I do. That's my position; I'm very young at the game.''

Pittsburgh defensive line coach John Mitchell said he looks for ``the diamond in the rough'' in the later rounds of the draft, and that McBean fits that description.

``He's going to be a good football player,'' Mitchell said. ``He's not ready to play our scheme as yet, but when he gets here and starts working, and gets around some of the other guys that we have, and picks up our scheme, I think we got a pretty good football player in the rough.''

Hilliard, at 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds, was a primary blocker for an offensive unit that averaged 208 yards rushing per game last season.

New England coach Bill Belichick said Hilliard caught the Patriots' eye during postseason all-star games.

``We saw him in the bowl games,'' Belichick said. ``(He's a) big kid who's pretty athletic as well.''

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