Today we'll look at current Longhorns with the best chance of being Texas' next first-round draft pick. The last UT player selected in the first round was Kenny Vaccaro (15th overall to New Orleans) in 2013.
DE Cedric Reed
The 6-foot-6, 258-pound Reed would have been a high draft pick had he entered this NFL Draft. Instead he chose to return for his senior season to build off of his monstrous junior campaign that really put him on the map.
He was one of only two played in the FBS with at least 5.0 sacks, four pass breakups and five forced fumbles. The other was Khalil Mack of Buffalo, who many say is one of the best pure football players in the 2014 draft.
Reed led the team in forced fumbles (5) and ranked second in sacks (10.0) behind Jackson Jeffcoat (13.0). He was second on the team in QB pressures (16) and tackles for loss (19), third in tackles (79), and third in fumble recoveries (3).
Diggs would be a first-round pick if bloodlines were any indication of how one would pan out at the next level. His brother, former Longhorn Quentin Jammer, has spent the last 12 years in the NFL playing at a very high level.
Diggs has proven he can play at that level too in 36 career starts at UT out of 39 games. His 32 career pass breakups and eight interceptions are both the most on the current roster and he just needs four more pass breakups to break into the UT career top 10 list.
A two-time All-Big 12 selection (2011, 2013), Diggs will have the ability to show his versatility this season as he's expected to play plenty of nickel for the Longhorns.
DT Malcom Brown
Brown could be the best defensive tackle in the Big 12 (TCU's Chucky Hunter is right there), or at least the one with the highest ceiling.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound junior, who came to Texas with all the hype in the world, played up to it last season when he finished the season ranked tied for third on the team in PBUs (5), third in tackles for loss (12) and third in QB pressures (6). He was also seventh on the team in tackles (68).
If he puts up another season with similar, or better numbers, he'll be in contention to be one of the top DTs taken next season along with Ohio State's Michael Bennett, Washington's Danny Shelton, Iowa's Carl Davis, and Alabama's Brandon Ivory.
That should be attainable considering all the talent the Longhorns will have on the defensive line and behind them at linebacker.
OL Kent Perkins
This 6-foot-5, 325-pound offensive lineman hasn't even begun to scratch the surface for how good he could be.
As a freshman in 2013 he played in six games as a reserve guard and was working with the first-team until he got injured early in spring. He'll work his way back into a starting roll upon his return.
Perkins' instincts are off the charts, he is an extremely bright player, and is the strongest players on the roster not named Desmond Jackson. With Joe Wickline's coaching there's no reason why he should be a high-round draft pick by the time his career at Texas is over.
Texas has several backs worthy of high-round draft picks. But the NFL has become much more of a passing league and RBs aren't taken as high as they used to be. North Carolina's Giovani Bernard was the first RB taken in 2013 at No. 37 overall.