Young, Huff Go Early In First Round

The Tennessee Titans made Texas QB Vince Young their First Round pick, and the third selection, overall, in the 71st NFL Draft in New York Saturday. SS Michael Huff heard his name called four picks later when the Oakland Raiders made the Thorpe Award winner their top pick.

Other Horns taken in the 2006 Draft:
CB Cedric Griffin, 2nd Round, Minnesota
TE David Thomas, 3rd Round, New England
OT Jonathan Scott, 5th Round, Detroit
DT Rod Wright, 7th Round, Miami (see The Story Behind Wright's Slide and Wright Reaction)

Young was the first QB, while Huff was the first DB, taken in the 2006 Draft. Young's No. 3 pick marked the highest a Longhorn QB has ever gone in the Draft while Huff, at the No. 7 pick, becomes the third-highest Longhorn DB to be selected. Quentin Jammer (2002, San Diego) and Bryant Westbrook (1997, Detroit) were both picked No. 5 in their respective seasons.

It marks the fifth time in the Mack Brown era that two Longhorns were tabbed in the First Round. Prior to Brown's arrival in 1998, Texas had two First Round picks just four times in program history.

It's been a rollercoaster ride for the even-keeled Young ever since he darted into the USC end zone on 4th-and-five on a confetti-splashed January 4. His stock has soared in some circles while plummeting in others. (Some suggested that Young was in such a free-fall that he would not even be the first Longhorn selected Saturday.)

Yet, one month ago, a source close to the situation said it was all but certain that the Titans would take Young with their top choice. For the moment, Young is under the tutelage of lifelong mentor Steve McNair. (Even if the Titan QB returns in 2006, he is not expected to remain with the organization for more than a couple of seasons.) The Titans organization passed on USC QB Matt Leinart despite the fact that Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow was the 2004 Heisman winner's collegiate coach. Leinart fell all the way to the 10th pick when Arizona made him its First Round choice.

Longhorn QBs have been rare breeds in the professional ranks. Young is the first Longhorn QB to be selected in the First Round since 1948 when legendary Bobby Layne was Chicago's top pick. In fact, VY is just one of five Longhorn signalcallers selected since the NFL began the Draft in 1938. Tampa Bay made Chris Simms its Third Round pick in 2003 while St. Louis made Longhorn QB Rick McIvor its Third Round pick in 1984. (The identity of the fifth Longhorn QB who was a Draft Day selection makes for a great Burnt Orange trivia question: the distinction goes to Paul Campbell, who was Layne's backup and the Philadelphia Eagles Second-Round pick in 1948.) Nine other former Texas QBs have been drafted, or at least played in the NFL, at another position.

Young saw his hometown Houston Texans select North Carolina State DE Mario Williams with the Draft's top pick before New Orleans tabbed USC RB Reggie Bush. The first consensus first-team All-American QB in Longhorn history, Young is the winningest all-time QB in school history with a 30-2 mark and led the program to its fourth national championship with the riveting 41-38 comeback against USC in the BCS Title Game. The two-time Rose Bowl MVP established new school records for total offense (9,167 yards) and TDs (81). The Horns set an NCAA record for points scored (652) last season while setting a school record for points-per-game (50.2), total yards (6,657) and yards-per-game (512.1).

Huff became the fourth Texas DB drafted in the past five years. There was little question that Huff was the top DB in this year's Draft, but he elevated his stature when he was clocked at 4.34 in front of NFL scouts last month, The Raiders have now used five First-Round picks on DBs in the past six seasons but are still looking to shore-up an inconsistent secondary. Huff logged 50 starts at Texas on the way to First-Team All-American honors and can play either safety or cornerback in Oakland. He logged 318 career tackles, 44 PBU, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three blocked kicks. Huff averaged 23.1 yards on seven INT returns, including a school-record four INT returns for TD.

TEXAS TWO-STEP: MULTIPLE FIRST-ROUNDERS UNDER MACK BROWN

YEAR..........PLAYER, TEAM

2006..........QB Vince Young, Tennessee

...................SS Michael Huff, Oakland

2005..........RB Cedric Benson, Chicago

...................LB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City

2004..........WR Roy Williams, Detroit

...................DT Marcus Tubbs, Seattle

2002..........OT Mike Williams, Buffalo

...................CB Quintin Jammer, San Diego Chargers

2001..........OT Leonard Davis, Arizona

...................DT Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh


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