Texas Draft Preview

The NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night, and when a Texas player doesn't hear his name called in the first round, it will mark the first time since 1991 that the Longhorns have gone consecutive years without producing a first-rounder.

Texas isn't the only power program with a drop-off in talent. In fact, none of Texas, Florida, Florida State and Miami are projected to have a first-rounder. And the last time that happened was 1976.

But while Longhorn fans won't need to watch anxiously on Day One of the three-day NFL Draft format, they should see multiple Longhorns find new homes over the whole draft.

Depending on who you ask, the earliest Longhorn off the board will be either linebacker Keenan Robinson or defensive tackle Kheeston Randall. Both carry mid-round grades, and could go as early as the third round, on Friday night, or as late as the fifth round on Saturday. Emmanuel Acho is also projected to have his name firmly in the draft, and has a likely spot in Round Five or so.

After that, things become hazy. The Longhorns could potentially have as many as six other players going between the late rounds of the NFL Draft or finding teams in free agency. Fullback Cody Johnson and kicker Justin Tucker are among the top several players at their positions, but with a non-premium on either spot, they could find themselves out of the draft. The same could be said for Fozzy Whittaker, recovering from a serious knee injury.

Offensive lineman David Snow is also in that range, and could hear his name called partially as the result of a strong Senior Bowl. Defensive backs Blake Gideon and Christian Scott are also hopefuls, the former because of his college production, and the latter for his athletic potential.

All of those players will likely find time in an NFL camp, at the very least.

Still, the draft is full of surprises, and the Longhorns could only have three players selected, or they could have as many as nine. And it's that sort of anticipation that should make the draft must-watch TV, as always.

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