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Lincoln Riley say he’s ‘brutally honest’ with players about going pro

NCAA Football: Oklahoma Spring Game

The Oklahoma Sooners could end up having the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft for a second straight season. If Kyler Murray gets scooped up by the Arizona Cardinals, or someone else trades up to take him No. 1, he would join Baker Mayfield as Sooners quarterbacks taken with the top pick in back-to-back seasons.

So as Lincoln Riley soaks up the glory of potentially having two straight No. 1 draft picks, he makes sure to use his power and influence wisely, telling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, “I just try and be brutally honest with them. You can’t bring them in there and tell them what they want to hear or just what you want to tell them. It’s got to be the truth. If you’re truthful and transparent with them their whole way through, you’ll build trust in that relationship and they’ll listen to your opinion. At the end of the day, they’ve got to make the decision. We also use a lot of numbers and research to back up what we’re talking about and, at the end of the day, we want guys to do well.”

Riley used offensive lineman Cody Ford as an example, who Riley believes could have stayed at OU if he had convinced him to, but the head coach knew his time had come, adding, “If we had really strongly advised Cody to stay, he would have. But that wasn’t going to be the best thing for Cody. He’s going to be a first-round pick. Every part of it makes sense for him to go ahead and go to the NFL even though it would help our team [if he stayed] next year.”

For Riley, he’s recruiting at such a high level, that while he’s losing a lot of talent, he just keeps reloading. Speaking of which, on this week’s podcast we interviewed Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson about his NFL Draft preparation. Listen to it here.

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