What: 2012 NFL Draft
When: Tonight, 7:00 PM CST
After a less than desirable 2011 football season the Longhorns still managed to have four players taken in the draft, all before the fifth round was completed. The other notable fact is that they were all defensive players. Aaron Williams was taken in the 2nd round by the Buffalo Bills, Curtis Brown was selected by the Steelers in the 3rd round, Sam Acho went to Arizona in the 4th round and Chykie Brown went to the Baltimore Ravens in the 5th round. Will this year’s draft be more accommodating for former Texas players? I hate to say it but probably not. We take a quick look at the Texas prospects:
Keenan Robinson, LB
The Butkus Award semifinalist and 2nd-team all-Big XII played in 51 games in a highly successful career at Texas. Last season he was the pillar of the Texas defense and contributed to a Texas defensive unit that ranked 1st in the Big XII and 11th in the country in total defense. Robinson has more potential than the role he was used in at Texas and I think an NFL team will grab Keenan late in the 3rd round. If Robinson is not selected in the 3rd look for him to be gone before the 5th round starts. He should be the first Longhorn player selected.
Kheeston Randall, DT
For a big guy weighing in at +300 lbs. Kheeston Randall has great athleticism and can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme. Randall was a first-team all-Big XII selection and started all 13 games last year at Texas. Randall is another guy that is probably a bit undervalued as an NFL prospect but he will likely be selected in the 4th round.
Emmanuel Acho, LB
The scouting reports on Emmanuel Acho are very similar to his brother’s, former Texas linebacker and current Arizona Cardinal Sam Acho – Great open tackler who reads the ball extremely well but is a bit undersized and needs to work on his speed. Acho’s decision making is exceptional which is a huge plus for him. Acho could go somewhere in the 4th round but realistically he should be selected in the 5th round. Do not rule out a possible reunion with his brother Sam on the Arizona Cardinals.
Cody Johnson, FB
Johnson is the epitome of a team player and has played the role that the Texas coaches have asked him to play, never complaining about the lack of carries or playing time. He is a north/south bruising runner that gets the “workhorse” yardage teams need on 3rd and 4th downs. His negatives seen by NFL scouts are related to his size and lack of pass-catching/ blocking abilities. Cody graduated in December and has been preparing for the NFL Draft, in which he could be selected in a late round but will most likely sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
Blake Gideon, Safety
Blake Gideon started all 13 games at safety for the Longhorns last season. He has taken a lot of criticism from Texas fans and for good reason. He needs to work on his coverage skills as well as his tackling which was why he was not invited to the NFL Combine. Blake had 10 interceptions and 276 tackles in his tenure at Texas. He will look for an opportunity to sign with an NFL team after the draft has finished.
Fozzy Whittaker, RB
The injury bug hit Fozzy early and often in his career at Texas, as the running back suffered knee injuries in 2008, 2009 and finally during his senior season in 2011 when he tore both his ACL and MCL in the game against Missouri. The knee injuries are definitely concerning to potential NFL teams but Fozzy is considered a sleeper in this draft because of his skill-set. His kickoff return capabilities, his speed as a runner, his ability to pass catch and his leadership and character make Fozzy appealing for teams with late round picks. In the event he does not get drafted he will sign a deal to play somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
While it will likely be tomorrow or Saturday before the first player from Texas is drafted, get your beer and peanuts out. The 2012 NFL Draft starts tonight!