Texas Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Longhorn

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2014

Texas Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Longhorn

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    The 2014 NFL draft is right around the corner, and the Texas Longhorns have a few players who will likely be drafted.

    The Longhorns' NFL draft showing has dwindled over the last three years. Texas had 10 players drafted since 2011, while conference rival Oklahoma had 17 players drafted during that same time.

    Regardless of the past, five former Longhorns are likely to be called during the three-day draft festivities this week. 

    Here's a look at where those Longhorns might land in the 2014 NFL draft.

DE Jackson Jeffcoat

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Matt Miller's final mock draft projection: Fourth round, No. 111 overall pick to the Detroit Lions.

    Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat had an up-and-down career at Texas. He suffered two season-ending pectoral injuries in 2011 and 2012, but managed to bounce back during his senior season. He won the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the best defensive end in college football.

    He racked up 86 tackles, 22 tackles for losses of 95 yards, 13 sacks, 19 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble in 2013.

    Position ranking (CBS, NFL.com): No. 9, No. 18

    What the experts are saying

    NFL.com:

    Developmental 3-4 rush-linebacker prospect with the pedigree and sack production to warrant interest. However, Jeffcoat will need to get strong and improve vs. the run to ever become more than a backup.

    CBSSports.com:

    Jeffcoat has strong hands to work off blocks, but is too easily manhandled in the run game as teams run at him routinely and he struggles to do much to stop it. He lacks special traits, but his motivated attitude and NFL bloodlines help him considerably. Jeffcoat doesn't have elite skills, but is a try-hard player with enough ability to warrant a mid-round pick.

WR Mike Davis

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    GM Andrews/Associated Press

    Matt Miller's final mock draft projection: Sixth round, No. 179 overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Wide receiver Mike Davis' senior stats were not extremely impressive, but the reason for that was out of his hands for the most part. The 6'0", 197-pound wideout was a part of an offense that focused more on running the ball than throwing it down the field.

    He had an exceptional junior season and even contemplating forgoing his senior year to enter the draft. He told ESPN's Joe Schad that he was informed he could be a third-round pick in 2013, but he wanted to try to win the Biletnikoff Award, which was why he returned for his senior year. That decision may have cost him some money.

    Position ranking (CBS, NFL.com): No. 32, No. 26

    What the experts are saying

    CBSSports.com:

    Davis has a good mix of size and speed and has the skill-set to line up inside and outside, on the line of scrimmage and off, but needs to continue to progress as a route runner and prove he is reliable catching the football. Despite the physical traits, he is the type of prospect who leaves you wanting more, but his natural ability gives him a fighting chance in the NFL if he is willing to work.

    NFL.com:

    A big, long, athletic receiver with inconsistent hands and questionable toughness and effort. Displays starter-caliber physical traits, yet his playing demeanor and approach turn off many evaluators and could force his draft status to sink. Is at his best outside the numbers as an 'X' receiver.

OL Donald Hawkins

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Matt Miller's final mock draft projection: Sixth round, No. 207 overall pick to the Denver Broncos.

    The Texas Longhorns have not had an offensive lineman drafted since Tony Hills in 2008. If Miller's projection is accurate, that drought could be coming to an end. Donald Hawkins only spent two seasons in Austin after transferring from Northwest Community College in 2012.

    The 6'4", 295-pound lineman was a part of one of the most experienced offensive lines in 2013, which only gave up 16 total sacks. 

    Position rankings (CBS, NFL.com): No. 31 (OG), No. 75 (OL)

    What the experts are saying

    CBSSports.com:

    Hawkins stays light on his feet with good lateral quickness and shuffle to protect the edge, doing a nice job squaring up defenders with natural body control and coordination. Hawkins looks comfortable pulling and blocking on the move with the athleticism to get to the second level and clear the road down the field.

    NFL.com:

    A finesse, college left tackle lacking ideal agility, bend and balance to handle NFL speed rushers and the girth, strength and power desired on the right side. Will have a long battle to earn a role and needs to get stronger. Best chance could come at right guard.

K Anthony Fera

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Matt Miller's final mock draft projection: Seventh round, No. 245 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers.

    Kicker Anthony Fera spent his first two seasons playing for Penn State but transferred to Texas following the Nittany Lions' NCAA sanctions. He suffered a groin injury at Penn State, which lingered over to his playing time during his first season at Texas in 2012.

    He showed the college football world what he could do during his senior season. He made 20 of 22 field-goal attempts. His longest was a 50-yarder against Oklahoma, and he was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which honors the best placekicker in college football.

    Position rankings (CBS, NFL.com): No. 2, No. 4

    What the experts are saying

    CBSSports.com:

    Versatile experience, handling the punting, kickoff and place-kicking duties most of his career. Athletic and controlled striker with flexibility and natural bend to elevate his kicks and create proper trajectory. Mentally tough. Steady and consistent, set a school-record with 15 straight field goals made in 2013. Technically-sound with easy movements.

    NFL.com

    Fine accuracy, placement and hang-time as a punter. Consistently accurate field-goal mid range inside 40 (did not miss as a senior) and shows range beyond 50. Has experience on big stages. Versatile.

DT Chris Whaley

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Matt Miller's final mock draft projection: Seventh round, No. 254 to the Dallas Cowboys.

    Defensive tackle Chris Whaley was on a roll in 2013 but a torn ACL sidelined him. The 6'3", 269-pound tackle had 25 tackles, five tackles for loss, a pick-six and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in nine games prior to his injury.

    He is an interesting athlete because of his versatility. He was recruited as a running back but moved to defensive end and eventually to defensive tackle during his five years in Austin. 

    Position rankings (CBS, NFL.com): No. 28, No. 20

    What the experts are saying

    CBSSports.com:

    He will undoubtedly be compared to Henry Melton, both being former Texas running backs who made the not-so-common transition from the backfield to interior defensive line, and the comparison isn't too far off—both have athletic feet to be upfield gap penetrators. Whaley showed flashes the past few seasons, but needs time to develop at the position and is worth a day three investment with his best football likely ahead of him as long as his knee recovers as expected.

    NFL.com:

    Similar to former Longhorns DT Henry Melton, Whaley is a converted running back who outgrew the position and flipped to the other side of the ball. Flashed big-time potential before suffering a season-ending ACL injury and will require some time to recover. Developmental project with intriguing upside for a patient team willing to develop him.