It’s well known that the Oklahoma Sooners have struggled to find consistency across all three levels of defense for years now. In 2020, the makings of high-level defense began to take shape as the defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and linebacker and side groups began to hold their end.
In the cornerback, in particular, Alex Grinch and the Oklahoma defense began to find players who could help lock down their passing play and create turnovers. Woodi Washington took over as a starter at a cornerback position, and the Sooners will have some turnover in the others. Tre Brown and Brendan Radley-Hiles are gone, giving the others a chance to show off and show off.
Enter DJ Graham, the sophomore from Keller Central High School. In Graham’s first year with the Sooners, he only saw 240 snaps as part of the defensive back rotation. Of these 240 shots, 162 were covered. In this limited action, DJ. Graham was really good.
In those 162 cover shots, Graham didn’t allow a touchdown, and his passer rating was only 37.3, according to Pro Football Focus. He has only been targeted 22 times in the passing game and has only allowed a reception 10 times by PFF. That’s a 45.5% completion percentage vs.
For reference, Radley-Hiles allowed a completion percentage of 57.1% and a pass mark of 77.2.
Pretty good for a newcomer.
DJ Graham will compete for the shots with Jeremiah Criddell and Jaden Davis, but has a chance to become the starter against Woodi Washington.
Graham brings the length defensive coordinator Alex Grinch covets away from home, and in his limited snaps in 2020 Graham has shown he has a nose for football. In his six games, he came away with one interception and one pass deflection.
When opposing quarterbacks threw DJ Graham’s path in 2020, they didn’t meet much success. Its length and its covering capacity closed the windows of passage and did not allow anything easy. He’s a player to watch as the Sooners prepare for 2021. His presence alongside Woodi Washington will help the Oklahoma Sooners secondary team take a big step forward, making the 2021 Sooners’ defense a force with which to count.