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Where have all the Longhorns gone?

April 20, 2012

With only 3 players from the University of Texas expected to be drafted this year (Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho, Kheeston Randall) and only 4 players picked in last year’s draft (a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th) the university is going through a bit of a dry spell. If no other Longhorns are picked it would mean only 7 players had been picked in a 2 year span which would be the fewest Longhorns drafted over 2 years since ’04-’05. Yet not only is the number of players being drafted on the decline but the quality of prospects has declined as well. During it’s 7 year glory era (’04-’10) the team had ten 1st round picks and was regularly churning out top 5 picks like Vince Young, Cedric Benson, Mike Williams, and Quentin Jammer yet this year is likely to be the 2nd year in a row the team doesn’t have a player picked in the 1st round which will be the first two year drought since ’93-’94. The pipeline from UT to the NFL appears to be drying up at the exact time when it’s former stars are taking a turn for the worse. Whether it’s the older players who have had some injuries and are on the decline as part time starters (Casey Hampton, Shaun Rogers, Leonard Davis, Roy Williams), the players in their prime who are scaring away teams due to their many off the field issues (Cedric Benson, Vince Young), the early round picks who have been complete busts to this point (Limas Sweed, Sergio Kindle), or the former stars who are still called a team’s starter but are on shaky ground (Colt McCoy, Cedric Griffen) the University of Texas’ influence in the NFL is on the decline. Part of that could just be the ebb and flow which occurs in all things but part of it could be the hesitance scouts now have for UT players as they’re widely regarded as soft due to the “country club” atmosphere. I would actually argue for a third theory which is that UT just doesn’t have as much talent as it used to. The Longhorns have gone 13-12 the past two seasons and been considered one of the biggest underachievers in college football. The lack of success caused an entire housecleaning of their coaching staff with a new offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and numerous new position coaches yet possibly the real reason for the lack of success was the Longhorns declining talent base. There still are UT bred playmakers in the NFL like Jermichael Finley, Michael Griffen, and Earl Thomas but their numbers are dwindling and UT’s pipeline to the NFL is drying up much like Miami’s did a half decade ago.

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