Sizing up the Longhorns' Draft Struggles

There are two ways to look at Texas's below average draft production this year.

On one hand, you could use it to point out that Texas struggled to recruit, and land, potential difference makers. That's true. The other is to state that Texas had a few high draftees return to school, and to say that it will get better. That is also true.

The 2006 class has been much-maligned for his high number of misses especially in key positions like on the offensive line. The 2007 and 2008 classes also had misses, but ultimately, they will probably be more remembered as classes that produced decent players who were just below NFL Draft status.

Blake Gideon, Christian Scott, Cody Johnson, David Snow, Justin Tucker, and Fozzy Whittaker (though he has an injury excuse) were this year's guys who fit that description. Last year had Kyle Hix, John Chiles and James Kirkendoll. And the draftees produced by the class (with the exception of Earl Thomas and Aaron Williams) weren't high-draft picks: Keenan Robinson, Kheeston Randall and Emmanuel Acho this year and Curtis Brown and Sam Acho last year. When you add in the 2008 guys who didn't redshirt, Texas had as many as nine guys who were seen as potential draftable prospects in 2012, and three of them were drafted.

So the Longhorns had plenty of misses. But even the guys they "hit" on weren't home runs. Take a look at 2009, and it gets a little bit better. Both Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro were potential high-round draft picks who came back to school.

But it's in the more recent classes that Texas's recruiting has really taken off. 2010 produced two potential really good early entries with Jackson Jeffcoat and Carrington Byndom. But the class is so much deeper than that. That class also produced Jordan Hicks, Trey Hopkins, Adrian Phillips, Ashton Dorsey and Mike Davis, all of whom are getting some NFL interest. And that doesn't count guys like Demarco Cobbs, who has NFL potential but who is just now breaking onto the field. And of course, then there's the boffo 2011 crop, which includes Malcolm Brown, Quandre Diggs, Joe Bergeron, Josh Cochran, Desmond Jackson and Jaxon Shipley who made sizable impacts their first years on campus, while Steve Edmond and M.J. McFarland are prepared to do so this year.

So don't be surprised if next year's draft sees a Longhorn go in the first round for the first time in three years, nor if the ensuing drafts are packed with a more typical bevy of Texas players. Because while Texas has been down — and the NFL Draft has served as a reminder of that drop — the future indicates that the Longhorns will rise yet again.

Horns Digest Top Stories