NORMAN, Okla. — From his senior season through the pre-draft process, Parnell Motley kept a quasi-checklist to further his football career beyond college.
Motley, the 6-foot, 180-pound Oklahoma cornerback, wanted better game footage to show NFL scouts during his final Sooner season.
“I wanted to display the best version of myself leaving out of collegiate football,” Motley told reporters following his pro day, “and I most certainly did that.”
More specifically, he wanted to show more physicality and said his coaches helped him achieve that with fine-tuning his technique.
And while he didn’t receive an NFL combine invitation, he felt his OU pro-day performance was solid.
"Overall, I’d give it about a B," Motley said. "Could have been better. A little rusty in some areas and things like that. A B+ or a B. Always want to be great in everything you do."
Motley admits his disappointment with missing the combine. He was grateful to have a final chance to showcase his talents, however, especially with the Sooners’ pro day happening the day before the sports world shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Had he not tested in front of NFL scouts when he did, Motley would likely have more worries this weekend.
NFL.com projects him as a priority free agent. Although, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said Motley could be a Day 3 pickup.
“Motley is more of that late-round possibility,” Kiper said during a teleconference last week. “I think he's gotta [play] special teams early and see what you can get out of him later on in a year or two in that secondary. But he's a late-round possibility.”
Motley recorded 41 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 13 pass breakups and an interception last season, a dip in his tackle totals from 2017 and 2018, but Motley made more plays on the ball.
For an OU team that stressed turnovers, Motley held his end of the bargain with his ability to create fumbles.
He was vital to OU's Nov. 30 win against Oklahoma State, picking up six tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and interception. And for an OU team that was racing toward the College Football Playoff, he couldn’t have picked a better time to show those abilities with all eyes on the Sooners' primetime Bedlam clash.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah was asked how players absent from the combine and not afforded a pro day because of the pandemic will be affected during a teleconference last Thursday.
“It's going to really impact the non-combine players,” Jeremiah said. “... The non-combine players where [franchises] didn't get a chance to get medical [evaluation], where you didn't get a chance to visit with them, it's going to penalize them a little bit, unfortunately, and it's going to be the benefit of the guys that were big school players or guys that have been to the combine.”
Jeremiah said it’ll be interesting to look back at this draft with so much of the regular process and data altered because of restrictions placed on NFL teams.
Even without a combine invitation, it could benefit a player like Motley, who feels he put together a quality highlight reel his senior season for a high-profile program.
“I'm curious to see how this draft goes and how it's looked back on five years from now because there's going to be less analytic impact on this draft than any one we've seen over the last handful of years because we don't have all the numbers,” Jeremiah said. “... A lot of the data that had been pulled together to make some suggestions and decisions for a lot of teams, they don't have all that data. It's more of a tape draft.”
If that’s the case, Motley’s efforts stopping the Big 12’s best receivers, such as TCU's Jalen Reagor to Baylor's Denzel Mims, should go a long way this weekend.
All that’s left now is to keep his phone close by.