Shane Illingworth traditionally watches the NFL Draft with his father as a family event.
This year, however, will have a different feel to it for the Oklahoma State sophomore quarterback.
He still plans to watch with his dad, but this time he will be watching in anticipation for his extended family.
His Cowboy family.
“It's my first time like actually knowing these guys and being with them, and it’s so cool like, ‘These guys are really like going to the next level,’” Illingworth said following Saturday’s spring game at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“I always bonded with my dad over football and we like seeing the draft together. So, I'll probably be with my dad watching the draft, but I think it's crazy that all these guys you played with are now going to the next level, getting drafted and doing big things.”
There are a handful of draft hopefuls who Illingworth handed off to, threw to and were blocked by in his few games of action as a true freshman last season.
Among that group of expected Cowboys to be drafted includes offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, who is anticipated to be the first OSU player drafted in the first round since defensive back Justin Gilbert in 2014.
Jenkins, a native of Topeka, Kansas, is projected as a mid-first round target for teams in need of help on the offensive line. The latest mock drafts by ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated all had him going No. 20 overall to the Chicago Bears. The latest NFL.com mock draft him sliding all the way to the 31st pick – which is now held Baltimore Ravens, after they traded their starting right tackle, Orlando Brown Jr., to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Teven is an athlete. The thing of Teven was always his mentality,” OSU senior running back LD Brown said. “If Teven got his mentality right, just to be able to say, ‘Oh, I can do it.’ Because everybody knew Teven could do it.
“Teven just had to get that dog in him. You see where it can get him. Now, he’s going to make millions coming soon.”
If Jenkins does hear his name announced on the first day of the NFL Draft on Thursday, he will be the first OSU offensive lineman since Russell Okung in 2010 to go in the first 32 picks – and just the third former OSU offensive lineman to ever be drafted in the first round.
According to ESPN’s draft big board, receiver Tylan Wallace could potentially be the next former Poke picked in the draft.
The website considers him the 75th overall option in this draft class, which could make him a second-day option with the second and third rounds on Friday.
There is an outside chance Wallace isn’t the only former OSU receiver drafted.
Dillon Stoner isn’t ranked on the ESPN big board, but that doesn’t mean an NFL team couldn't show late-round interest for the Jenks native. He will otherwise likely find himself signed as an undrafted free agent.
“I'm really, really happy for them, because I mean, those guys, they worked their butts off and they deserve it,” OSU sophomore receiver Brennan Presley said. “Those guys are very deserving of everything that they get, so I'll be watching very closely. And I'll just have joy for them, no matter what happens, because I know they’ll both be great at the next level.”
ESPN ranks former OSU running back Chuba Hubbard, the 2019 NCAA rushing leader, at No. 150 overall.
With that ranking, he is being pegged as a potential fifth- or sixth-round pick as what ESPN considers the ninth-best tailback in the class.
“I want my dog to succeed,” Brown said of his former running mate in the backfield. “I feel like he’ll succeed wherever he goes. … He’s got a lot to him, and he’s ready to get back out on the field. I’ve talked to him every day really.”
Cornerback Rodarius Williams is considered a late-round or undrafted free agent prospect by ESPN.
Ranked the 30th-best corner in the class, the big board ranks him the 242nd overall – with 259 picks to be made over the three-day event.
“(First) or 7th round, I’ll be living a dream either way,” Williams tweeted out Sunday.
He will be joining his brother, Greedy Williams – a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2019 – in the NFL, once he finds his landing spot.
In the same category as Williams is fellow defensive starter, inside linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga.
The Calgary, Alberta, Canada, native is ranked No. 275 overall, and as the 21st-best option at the position, by ESPN.
“While he has some blitz talent, his coverage instincts and awareness are in need of improvement,” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said of Ogbongbemiga. “He should come in as a backup at Will linebacker.”