Breaking down the potential Texas NFL draft prospects
AUSTIN, Texas – The 2019 Longhorns football season ended with a win over the highly-acclaimed Utah team in the Alamo Bowl Tuesday. This was the last time that many of those players on the field suited up in the burnt orange, as a handful of guys are likely to declare for the upcoming NFL Draft in April. The question of whether Sam Ehlinger will return for his senior season remains unanswered, as well as the status of third-year offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi. However, seniors Devin Duvernay, Collin Johnson, Malcolm Roach and Brandon Jones will all obviously enter the draft.
As for the potential draftees, let’s take a look at some of these players from Texas who could potentially hear their name called in Las Vegas this April.
Devin Duvernay (WR, 5-11, 200 LBS)
2019 Stats: 106 REC, 1,386 YDS, 9 TD
Player Comparison: Michael Gallup
Draft Projection: Third round
Duvernay was the ultimate weapon this season for Texas. He has the speed and abilities of a slot receiver but also succeeded in burning opposing defenders down the sideline. These are the types of receivers that we’ve seen succeed in the NFL as of late, which is why Duvernay is being given the Gallup comparison. In Gallup’s first year with the Cowboys, he led the team in receiving. While we don’t expect Duvernay to do that right out of the gate, his speed and style of play will certainly help an NFL team looking for receiver depth.
Collin Johnson (WR, 6-6, 220 LBS)
2019 Stats: 38 REC, 559 YDS, 3 TD
Player Comparison: Devin Funchess
Draft Projection: Fourth round
Collin Johnson came into the 2019 season expecting to be “the guy” on Texas receiving core. Unfortunately for Johnson, his senior season production was stalled at times due to battles with an injured hamstring throughout the season. While this might hurt his draft stock a little, Johnson’s speed and 6′6″ frame makes him an immediate weapon for any team, especially in the red zone. While Johnson’s name may not be called on day one, we believe the stud receiver from Texas will make an impact in the league whether he’s drafted in the first or last round.
Brandon Jones (S, 6-0, 205 LBS)
2019 Stats: 64 TKLS, 1 INT, 1 Forced Fumble, 4 Passes Defended
Player Comparison: Micah Hyde
Draft Projection: Fifth round
Senior Brandon Jones is essentially a lock to declare for the draft at this point, but when the Texas safety will get drafted and how he will perform in the NFL remains a big question mark. Jones was arguably one of the best defenders in the banged-up Longhorns secondary in 2019 and has the size, speed, and ballhawk ability to play defense in the NFL. Bills Safety Micah Hyde has a very similar size and style of play to Jones. He’s a hard hitter and a demon on the field but is a leader as well. We think there will be a team in the NFL looking for the same type of leadership that Jones helped bring upon the Texas defense. While we see Jones lasting until the last day of the draft, there’s certainly a chance a team looking for defensive help could jump on him earlier than that.
Malcolm Roach (DE, 6-3, 291 LBS)
2019 Stats: 24 TKLS, 3 Sacks, 1 Pass Defended
Player Comparison: Charles Omenihu
Draft Projection: Sixth or seventh round
Roach totaled 16 more tackles and 3 more sacks in 2019 than he did in the 2018 season. The 6′3″ senior defensive lineman was the heart and soul of this Texas team. While he is not what you would call a “standout prospect,” the team that gives Malcolm Roach a chance to prove himself will at the very least get a player who will put everything into the game and his teammates. Assets like that are hard to come by in the NFL today. While his locker room presence likely won’t help him get drafted, a 6′3″ defensive lineman could help any defense improve if given the right tools and coaching to improve as a player. While Roach will likely fall to the last day of the draft, the team that does take a chance on him will be in for a pleasant surprise. His draft comparison? Former Texas Longhorn teammate and current Houston Texan, Charles Omenihu.
Looking to the future
The Texas Longhorns are no stranger to losing talented players to the NFL. It’s a compliment to not only the players but coach Tom Herman and the rest of the staff. While the losses of these seniors will certainly make a dent in the team next year, expect Texas Football to continue doing what they do best — recruit in the offseason and prepare for Week 1. However, the talent was there this year. The big question for 2020 will be whether that talent will be displayed in a similar way to how it was on Tuesday against Utah or will the Longhorns beat themselves like they did many times in 2019?
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