NEW YORK (AP) — Clearly, that was one heck of a Sun Bowl team.

Oklahoma, which finished 8-5 last season and played a December bowl game in El Paso had four players taken in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

"I am so happy for these guys mostly because of the way they represent themselves," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "They are a credit to our university and our football program. I could not be more pleased for them. This accomplishment is the result of hard work and dedication that these guys have put forth since they day they arrived on our campus. They have earned their way to this level."

Of course, part of the reason the Sooners struggled last season was that quarterback Sam Bradford was hurt early in the season.

The St. Louis Rams weren't afraid, taking him first.

Then at No. 3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Right after that, the Washington Redskins made Trent Williams their left tackle of the future.

And as if that weren't enough, the Cincinnati Bengals took tight end Jermaine Gresham with the 21st pick.

"To think that four guys who came in as members of the same recruiting class went in the first 21 picks is amazing," Stoops said.

Gresham also was hurt last year, but another reason a depleted Oklahoma team may have struggled was apparent just by looking at the first-round board.

Five other Big 12 players were picked, along with the four sooners. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh went second, offensive tackle Russell Okung of Oklahoma State went sixth to Seattle, which later picked Texas safety Earl Thomas at No. 14.

Atlanta took linebacker Sean Weatherspoon 19th, and wide receiver Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State went to Dallas at No. 24. That's over a third of the first 24 players.

At his news conference shortly after he was picked, McCoy was asked about the three Sooners taken with the first four picks.

"We can't play football in the Big 12, but the first four picks went out the Big 12? Mmmmm," McCoy said, then held up three fingers and leaned forward in his seat.

"Three of 'em from Oklahoma, by the way."

Eds: SUBS 11th graf to CORRECT to Dallas sted Denver.