An Early Look: Shawn Oakman, Baylor

Coming out of Baylor University is a defensive end by the name of Shawn Oakman. Oakman is an absolute freak of nature, standing at 6’9” and 280 lbs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen you read that right, 6 feet and 9 inches. Oakman is heading into his senior season and his hoping to cement himself as a top draft pick. Here are his stats from the 2013 season:

  • 51 total tackles (38 solo, 13 assisted)
  • 5 tackles for loss
  • 11 total sacks
  • 3 Forced Fumbles

Here is my preseason scouting report of Oakman:
Games scouted: Oklahoma (’13), SMU (’14), Buffalo (’14), Oklahoma St. (’14), and Michigan St. (‘15—Cotton Bowl)
Defensive scheme: 4-2-5
Note: The GIFs below are specific plays that caught my eye
Oakman is a 4-star recruit out of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and Penn Wood High School. He has superior size and strength compared to the other college players and is a man playing against kids almost. He is already built for the NFL. He also has great upper body strength, which he can use to knock defenders back. When he is pass rushing, he has great speed to gain the advantage on other linemen. he has the ability to drop back into pass coverage when he is asked. Oakman played on the Punt Block team for Baylor. When he realizes he is not going to get to the QB, he jumps in the air to try and block the pass. He has a “mean” factor to his game and fights on every play. He does pursue the ball carrier if the runner is within reasonable distance. He has instinctive play on where the ball is and takes good angles when pursuing.

Originally, he was at Penn State, but transferred after off the field issues in 2012. He has poor balance, which could be related to being so tall. Defenders dive to take his legs out, and he is stopped in his tracks. He has trouble changing direction, cannot stop and cross a defender’s face. Often, he goes too fast when pass rushing. He has trouble rounding the corner to get to the QB. He seems to lack some lower body mass; his calves look a little skinny. He doesn’t seem to use leverage to help win battles and, often, comes in too high on linemen, which allows them to take control of the situation. Oakman is often taken out of run plays and needs to anchor himself better. He has rather average hand usage. He often has trouble separating from linemen on run plays. He needs a better barrage of moves other than a slap-swim move. He has some tackling issues, has had many clean shots on QBs, and has missed the easy sack. He dominates the poorer competition, but struggles a little bit more with top tier teams.
The bottom line here is that Oakman is a freak of nature who has great potential in my book. He reminds me very much of Arik Armstead from Oregon who was drafted this year to San Francisco. Unlike Armstead, Oakman is much nastier and has a lot more production to show for himself. Oakman does have some things to work on, such as his run defense. He occasionally makes a good play on the run, but it is not often. Pass rushing is definitely his game and should remain his main focus, as he has no trouble getting to the QB; he just simply needs to complete the play. I saw, in multiple games, instances where he had several clean blindside hits on the quarterback, and he found a way to miss. If not for the missed tackles, he would have crazy sack numbers each year if he just simply wrapped up.
I don’t personally feel Oakman belongs in a 4-3 defense. I feel his size and athleticism would better suit him as a D-Lineman in a 3-4 defense. Typical pro 4-3 linemen are quicker and can change direction a lot faster than Oakman can, which is why I feel if he is put in a 3-4 defense he will succeed. As of now, I feel it is a safe bet for Oakman to go somewhere in the mid to late first round in next year’s draft.
Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at