Texas Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Longhorn

Zach Shelton@@zachisagingerFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

Texas Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Longhorn

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    Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has released his final mock draft that has several Texas players falling down the board. In total, he has five former Longhorns getting picked, while a sixth has done enough to earn consideration.

    As if not having a first-round pick for the third time in four years wasn't bad enough, Miller doesn't even have a Longhorn going in the first three rounds. Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat has fallen out of the third round, while receiver Mike Davis is now considered a sixth-rounder.

    However, offensive guard Donald Hawkins continues to be a bright spot, breaking past his seventh-round status from Miller's April mock. Joining him as late-round selections are Anthony Fera and Chris Whaley, while projected free agent Trey Hopkins should earn himself a selection.

DE Jackson Jeffcoat

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Round 4 (111)

    Jeffcoat carries tremendous upside as one of the most decorated players projected to be available in the fourth round.

    Jeffcoat amassed quite the resume as a senior, tying for third in the nation with 13 sacks, earning recognition as a consensus All-American and winning both the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year award and the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end.

    Had Jadeveon Clowney finished off his career in similar fashion, nobody is even debating his status as the top overall pick. But even after posting some of the most impressive numbers of any defensive end at the combine, scouts remain leery of going all-in on Jeffcoat due to his history of injuries.

    Even with the injury bug looming and Jeffcoat's tweener status making him difficult to project, Miller still likes him as a top-10 prospect at the position. His versatility and NFL pedigree alone make him worth a mid-round selection, and he could easily go higher.

WR Mike Davis

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Round 6 (179)

    Wide receiver is one of the deepest positions in the draft, and Davis has done very little to separate himself from the crowd.

    Having never cracked 100 receptions, 1,000 yards or 10 touchdowns in any season, Davis had to wow scouts to break into an earlier round. He kicked off the process with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, but he lost some momentum when a foot injury prevented him from fully participating at the combine.

    Davis then sealed his later-round status with an average pro day, running a 4.5 and registering an unimpressive 32.5-inch vertical leap, according to Wescott Eberts of Burnt Orange Nation. Since his route tree consists almost entirely of vertical routes, the 6'0" wideout did hardly himself any favors with those measurables.

    For what it's worth, Davis did burn Jason Verrett and Justin Gilbert, two of the draft's top corners, for a combined 168 yards on 11 receptions last season. The upside is there, and that's about it.

OG Donald Hawkins

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Round 6 (207)

    An All-Big 12 performer in 2013, swing tackle-guard Hawkins continues to climb up Miller's draft board, this time cracking the sixth round.

    Hawkins is a JUCO transfer who started 24 out of 25 games for Texas at left tackle. At 6'4", he is much too small to play there at the professional level, which is why he has been listed as a guard.

    Per Miller's Twitter, Hawkins does his best work on the move thanks to some nice agility. Miller also says that Hawkins impressed at both the Medal of Honor Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, punctuating a strong pre-draft campaign with a 32-inch vertical leap at his pro day, according to Alex Dunlap of RosterWatch.

    That said, Hawkins could easily go undrafted because of a perceived lack of strength. The 295-pound prospect managed just 20 reps on the bench press, via NFLDraftScout.com, which would have tied for last among all offensive linemen at the combine. 

PK Anthony Fera

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Round 7 (245)

    Considered one of the top kickers in the draft, All-American Fera has a nice shot of being picked up in the seventh round.

    Fera connected on over 90 percent of his kicks as a senior, leaving his leg strength as the lone question surrounding his NFL future. Just 25 of his 79 kickoffs went for touchbacks at Penn State, and his longest field goal at Texas was a 50-yarder.

    If Fera is drafted, and Miller believes he will be, that means he's shown enough leg that a team wants to nail him down. Otherwise, going undrafted is less of a hurdle for specialists than it is for other positions.

DT Chris Whaley

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Round 7 (254)

    Miller has defensive tackle Whaley going 254th overall, just two spots ahead of Mr. Irrelevant, thanks to the upside he showed as a senior. 

    If they handed out an award for Most Ill-Timed Injury During a Breakout Season, the former Longhorn runs away with it. Whaley never missed a game the first three seasons of his career, then tore his ACL after becoming the first defensive linemen in program history to return both a fumble and interception for a touchdown.

    Though he is out of his knee brace, Whaley has only been able to perform 22 reps on the bench press for NFL scouts, according to Eberts. Unable to show off his agility at all through the process, the former running back can only hope a team takes a shot on him.

OG Trey Hopkins

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    Matt Miller's Projected Selection: Undrafted

    A two-time All-Big 12 performer, guard Hopkins was not invited to this year's NFL combine in February. That didn't stop him from putting up a workout that allowed him to stand out from the crowd.

    Showing off some impressive explosiveness, Hopkins caught the attention of everyone in attendance at Texas' pro day. His 32-inch vertical, via Dunlap, and 110" broad jump would have been top-three among all offensive linemen. His 28 reps on the bench were good for 14th-best, via Eberts.

    This performance should earn a selection for a player who started 42 games in college and produced at a high level throughout his career. Hopkins has already taken meetings with the Browns and Eagles.


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    CB Carrington Byndom: A seventh-round selection in Miller's previous mock, Byndom's 177-pound frame would make him a minor irritant for bigger NFL receivers. His 4.35 40-yard dash time, via NFLDraftScout.com, at Texas' pro day caught some attention, but he's never lived up to the hype from his All-Big 12 sophomore season. Might sneak into the seventh round as the only other Longhorn who has a chance to be drafted.

    SS Adrian Phillips: Ran a 4.58 at his pro day, via NFLDraftScout.com (h/t CBSSports.com), so teams won't be lining up to stick his 5'10", 202-pound frame in their secondary end any time soon.

    OG Mason Walters: Four-year starter who was unimpressive on film and didn't set himself apart in testing. Probably doesn't get a shot as a free agent either.

    DE Reggie Wilson: Registered 19 tackles as a senior while Cedric Reed took total command of the strong-side defensive end slot. He's not an NFL player.