The 2018 NFL Draft is set to get underway on Thursday evening and by the time the three-day event reaches its end on Saturday evening, it’s quite possible that six former Texas Longhorns will have walked the stage in Arlington, Texas.
Texas hasn’t enjoyed that kind of NFL Draft success since the Mack Brown era.
For a program as prestigious as Texas is, sending six talents to the NFL Draft shouldn’t be too notable of a feat — it should realistically be the norm.
But that’s the reality for a program that’s struggled mightily since the turn of the decade. Following Tom Herman’s debut season, which saw the program take a variety of steps forward in short order, however, Texas may very well accomplish what it hasn’t since 2010 when Brown’s Colt McCoy-led Longhorns were fresh off of a trip to the national championship — see six former players selected in a single draft.
Per NFL.com’s Chad Rueter’s latest mock draft, former Longhorns Connor Williams, Malik Jefferson, Michael Dickson, DeShon Elliott, Holton Hill and Poona Ford will each hear their names called at some point throughout the draft, with the picks ranking from the first to the fifth round.
- OT Connor Williams — First overall — 29th overall
- MLB Malik Jefferson — Second round — 33rd overall
- P Michael Dickson — Fourth round — 110th overall
- S DeShon Elliott — Fourth round — 120th overall
- CB Holton Hill — Fifth round — 139th overall
- DT Poona Ford — Fifth round — 148th overall
Following Texas’ near perfect 2009 season, Earl Thomas was drafted in the first round, while Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston were each selected in the second round. McCoy and his top target Jordan Shipley were taken off the board in the third round, and Roddrick Muckelroy became the final Longhorn drafted with the 131st pick in the fourth round.
In the years since, only two Longhorns were drafted in 2011, which increased to three in both, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Texas didn’t send a single Longhorn to the NFL Draft before five were selected the following year in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, however, only one former Longhorn — Hassan Ridgeway in 2016 and D’Onta Foreman in 2017 — was drafted in each respective class.
Fast forward to the present day and Texas is set to send talent to the NFL in bulk, just as it did when the Longhorns were among college football’s premier programs throughout the 2000s.
Of course, the 2017 Longhorns didn’t enjoy the immense success that the 2009 team did, which won 13 games and the Big 12 title en route to the national championship game. But nevertheless, Texas boasted arguably as much NFL-caliber talent last season as it has since the program’s glory days, and that was evident as the Longhorns secured their first winning season since 2013 and first bowl victory since 2012.
The hope for Herman and the ‘Horns is that sending six players to the NFL Draft isn’t an anomaly much longer, but once again the norm.
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