The Texas A&M Football program has produced three consecutive top 10 draft picks in the NFL draft. The Aggies could make it four years in a row since left tackle Jake Matthews is about to enter his senior season. The 2014 NFL draft may cause personnel losses at A&M that will not be easy to recover from.
College football coaches are constantly turning over their roster when it comes to talent. It is a never-ending process of recruiting talent to replace the talent that departs due to graduation or early entry into the NFL.
Coaches prepare for their seniors and some of their top-juniors to leave school. The issue at A&M right now is that a number of their top prospects are only second-year starters.
Quarterback Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans will both be third-year sophomores during the 2013 season and eligible for the draft. Both possess the kind of talent that NFL scouts crave.
The Aggies coaches could realistically be faced with losing their three best offensive players in the same draft. That is not all, as the Ags have a number of players who have garnered NFL interest.
The Ags are poised for a tremendous season in 2013, but the offseason may be even more interesting. Aggie fans are going to have to hold their breath to see who returns for 2014.
The Third-Year Sophomores
Manziel made himself into a household name by becoming the first player to win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. He passed and rushed for 5,116 yards and 47 touchdowns.
Manziel is the kind of play-maker that every scout covets. There are lingering questions about Manziel's size and arm strength. The continued success of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will help alleviate some of the size concerns.
At 6'0", 215-pounds, Manziel is taller than Wilson but not quite as thick yet. The questions of arm strength will be sorted out on the field.
If Manziel puts up similar numbers to his freshman season, some team will take a chance on him in the first round. Franchise quarterbacks are a limited commodity, and someone will give Manziel a chance to resurrect their franchise.
Evans has incredible size for a receiver at 6'6", 225-pounds. He is extremely adept at using his body to screen defensive backs away from the ball.
Evans has tremendous body control and leaping ability. If he repeats his productivity from his freshman season—when he caught 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns—he will be highly sought after.
Some are already projecting Evans to be a first-round pick based off of his freshman season. If he exceeds those totals as a sophomore, he could really move up the draft board.
Brandon Williams may very well be the best running back on the A&M campus right now. He has legitimate 4.4 speed to go along with a 6'0", 200-pound frame.
Williams transferred to A&M from Oklahoma so he could be closer to his daughter. He sat out the 2012 season and will be a third-year sophomore in 2013.
In the Aggies spread offense, there are a lot of running lanes. A running back with breakaway speed like Williams could put up impressive numbers.
If he has an All-SEC caliber season, Williams could decide to limit the punishment his body takes in college and go try to support his daughter in the NFL.
The junior class is where the Aggies could really be hurt by defections. The 2013 roster contains plenty of juniors with NFL talent who may not choose to stay in school, even if they are not projected to be a first-round pick.
Junior cornerback Deshazor Everett can make a case as the best defensive player on the team. He played both cornerback and safety for the Ags in 2012.
Everett is very strong against the run and has displayed nice cover skills. He will spend the entire 2013 season at cornerback and should be able to work on his craft further.
Some already have Everett being drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft. It would be hard for anyone to turn down that kind of money.
Cedric Ogbuehi will start at right tackle for the Aggies in 2013. He is the heir apparent to the left tackle spot once held by Luke Joeckel and now occupied by Matthews.
If he has a good season in 2013, then the fourth-year junior could choose to test the draft waters. At 6'5", 295-pounds, he has ideal size and projects as a left tackle in the NFL.
Depending on how strong the offensive tackle class is in the 2014 draft, Ogbuehi may find it financially advantageous to enter the draft. Some believe he will be drafted in the first round along with Matthews if he declares early.
How many Aggies will leave early to enter the 2014 NFL Draft?
Cameron Clear has NFL size at tight end at 6'6", 270-pounds. He has value in the NFL right now as a blocking tight end.
The junior college transfer will be eligible for the NFL draft after one season in Aggieland. If he can prove that he is a receiving threat in the Aggie offense, then he could project as a top-three-round pick.
Clear is originally from Memphis and has no connections to A&M. If he is told the right things by the NFL evaluators after the 2013, he could leave.
The Aggies obviously have talent up and down their roster on the 2013 team. It will be interesting to see how much of that talent is stripped away from the team in the 2014 NFL draft.