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Five Longhorns selected in 2021 NFL Draft

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Photo:  Austin American Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Texas Longhorns had five of eight eligible players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, serving as the most by the program since 2015 and tied for the most by a Big 12 program. 

Offensve lineman Sam Cosmi, linebacker Joseph Ossai, defensive tackle Ta'Quon Graham, safety Caden Sterns and quarterback Sam Ehlinger were all drafted by NFL teams on Friday and Saturday.

Wide receiver Tarik Black, defensive back Chris Brown and wide receiver Brennan Eagles went undrafted but will look to sign undrafted free agent contracts with NFL teams.

SAM COSMI, OL - Second Round (pick #51)

University of Texas offensive lineman Sam Cosmi became the first Texas player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.  Cosmi, who started at tackle in the Longhorn's last 34 games, was drafted by the Washington Football Team with the 51st pick in the second round on Friday evening.

Last season Cosmi was selected as a first-team All-Big 12 member and a third-team All-American by the Associated Press.

On being selected by Washington, Cosmi had this to say:

"I was just excited and I can’t wait. The first thing that crossed my mind was that I get to block against Chase Young. I admire his game so much, and I’m excited to be able to get better going against him. Iron sharpens iron and being able to play against the best is just going to make me even better. I’m looking forward to blocking him in practices and doing that."

JOSEPH OSSAI, LB - Third Round (pick #69)

Linebacker Joseph Ossai was drafted with the 69th pick in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals.  Ossai served as a team captain for the Longhorns last season and capped his time at Texas with six tackles for loss and three sacks against Utah in the Alamo Bowl.

He finished a productive playing career with the Longhorns with 165 tackles, including 30.5 for a loss, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Ossai credits his time at Texas for helping prepare him to play at the next level.

"Texas has taught me a lot. I think the most important thing it’s taught me is hard work pays off. Everything else I can learn when it comes to developing skills or the ins and outs of the league, but the part of the determination and the grind, I’m confident in that. I’m confident in the amount I’ve learned at Texas."

Ta'Quon Graham, DT - Fifth Round (pick #148)

Temple, Texas native and defensive tackle Ta'Quon Graham was the first Longhorn to hear his name called on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.  The Atlanta Falcons used the 148th pick in the fifth round to select Graham, making him the fifth player in school history to be drafted by the Falcons.

Graham was a team captain in the 2020 season and an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season.  He started in 23 games in the last two seasons for the Longhorns and finished his time at Texas with a four tackle, one sack performance in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

He had this to say about receiving the call from Atlanta:

"The feeling was amazing. It’s something that you definitely dream about as a kid and for it to finally come true and to hear those words that they’re going to use a pick on you, it’s just crazy. I automatically started breaking down and it got really emotional really fast."

Caden Sterns, S - Fifth Round (pick #152)

Caden Sterns became the 26th defensive back selected in the NFL Draft over the last 20 years, and will continue his career with the Denver Broncos.  Sterns was a Day Two, fifth round selection (152nd pick), and became the sixth Texas player drafted by the Broncos.

Sterns was a team captain last season and started in all 13 regular season games as a freshman, and had four interceptions as a freshman.

He finishes at Texas with 172 tackles, eight pass breakups and five interceptions.


Sterns is excited about playing for the Broncos and moving to the mile-high city.

"It’s dope to go to Denver. I’ve always talked about that I’ve never been to Colorado, but always wanted to go and live there. I love the mountains and nature, so to go there just in that aspect is cool within itself, but to go to such a great organization that has such a strong line of safeties, it’s awesome."

Sam Ehlinger, QB - Sixth Round (pick #218)

Sam Ehlinger became the first quarterback drafted since Colt McCoy in 2010.  He was selected in the sixth round with the 218th overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts.  Ehlinger made 43 starts for the Longhorns and played in 46 games, leading Texas to 27 wins as a starter (good enough for fourth  most in Texas history).

Ehlinger was a team captain in each of the last two seasons with the Longhorns and leaves Texas with his name in the record book.  He ranks second in completions (923), passing yards (11,436), total offense (13,343), passing touchdowns (94), and total touchdowns responsible for (127). Ehlinger also ranks second in rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks (33) and third in rushing yards (1,907). He threw for more than 200 yards, and surpassed 300 yards 10 times, both the second-most in school history behind only Colt McCoy.  

On the national level he is only one of three players in history to throw for at least 11,000 career yards and rush for more than 1,500 yards.  

Ehlinger won three bowl games as the starter for Texas, something only Colt McCoy has done.


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I'm kind of sur

On 5/2/2021 at 4:03 PM, java said:

I’m really surprised some of these guys declared this year. Think they could have improved their position with an extra year, but no one asked me. 😂

Me too. Like SH, I thought Sterns was going to be a 6-7 rounder - AT BEST.  He showed up at the camps and combines demonstrating a LOT of natural talent. Which begs the question: did he underachieve, is he coachable, or was it all due to injuries?  Obviously, someone thinks he can be coached up since his metrics dont show considerable talent. 

This is probably going to be unpopular but... with four guys picked ahead of him, Sam still soaks up just about all the attention in the media and social media.  I'm an underdog rooting kind of guy and this inflated adulation is annoying.  Alright... slam away. 

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