Remember Keenan Clayton’s missed tackle against Washington in 2006?
Clayton, a former University of Oklahoma safety now making the transition to linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles, certainly does.
As a redshirt freshman safety, Clayton whiffed on an attempted tackle of Washington running back Kenny James, allowing James to lumber to a 54-yard touchdown. OU won the game, 37-20, but Clayton lost his position.
In fact, Clayton tells the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tamari, he got “fired.” Tamari recounts a story familiar to Sooner fans, how Clayton’s father would not let him quit after that very public failure and how it shaped the player and person Clayton has become. The story goes on to describe Clayton’s potential as a pass defender, highlighting a scene from a 7-on-7 drill when he deflected a pass intended for Eagles game-breaking wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Afterward, Clayton said he should have intercepted the pass. (Is it bad that I’m reminded of another forgettable moment for Clayton and Sooner fans: The Colt McCoy pass that looked like a sure pick-six interception in the first half last season against Texas?)
Locally and nationally, Oklahoma was the story of the NFL Draft. Sooner teammates Sam Bradford (St. Louis), Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay) and Trent Williams (Washington) went in the first four picks. Four Sooners went in the first round. OSU tackle Russell Okung went to Seattle and teammate Dez Bryant fell to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 24, marking the sixth state player picked in Round 1. So it’s easy to see how the Eagles’ selection of Clayton in the fourth round was overshadowed locally. But today’s story on philly.com gives you the impression that Keenan Clayton has landed with a team that likes him and needs him.