NFL Power Rankings: The 10 Best Former Texas Longhorns Currently in the League
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the football hotbed of Austin, Texas has produced a number of impressive players in the NFL. With so many successful seasons in the history books, the Texas Longhorns have produced such notable professionals as Earl Campbell and Bobby Layne.
But who today is carrying the torch for the Longhorns in the NFL? Who is making the entire city of Austin proud with their accomplishments on Sunday?
Click through the slideshow to find out.
10. Aaron Ross, New York Giants, Cornerback
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Ross came out of the Texas system and started right away for a young, hungry Giants team. During his rookie campaign he totaled 42 tackles and three interceptions.
Ross also started for the Giants in the Super Bowl as they knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots and shocked the world.
In this last season, Ross was again a major component of the New York defense. He continues to grow as a player and provides a much-needed spark for the Giants.
9. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns, Quarterback
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After starting the season behind veteran signal-caller Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy finally got his chance to lead the Browns in Week 6.
While McCoy didn't lead the Browns to a winning record, they were 4-7 under him. He threw more touchdowns than interceptions, nine to six; he did give them a playmaker.
Whether it be with his arm or his feet, McCoy finally gave the Browns a legitimate threat under center. He even led them to a shocking upset of the New England Patriots.
Hopefully we see more development out of him in Year 2.
8. Jermichael Finley, Green Back Packers, Tight End
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After fighting against veteran Donald Lee for playing time in his rookie year, Finley took over the starting gig in his sophomore season.
Finley thrived in the Packer's system, adding another unique threat to Aaron Rodger's dangerous arsenal. He was a big target downfield who could catch a lot of passes.
Coming into 2010, he was projected as one of the top five tight ends in the league. Unfortunately in Week 5 he suffered a knee injury, which forced him to miss the rest of 2010.
Look for Finley to comeback stronger than ever in 2011 as he re-emerges as one of Rodger's favorite weapons.
7. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks, Defensive Back
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Earl Thomas came out of the 2010 draft class with immense expectations.
The former Longhorn played right away under Pete Carroll with the Seahawks. During his rookie campaign, Thomas totaled 76 tackles and five interceptions. He helped lead the upstart Seahawks to a win over the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs.
Look for Thomas to continue to grow as a player and become a staple on the Seattle defense for years to come.
6. Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins, Running Back
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Not many NFL players have had the up and down career that Ricky Williams has, but that doesn't mean he isn't a talented athlete.
After an incredible amount of hype followed Williams out of Texas, he crumbled under the pressure. While he performed well on the field, his off-the-field behavior drew the ire of fans and the press.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2002 and also led the league in rushing, but his fall from grace soon came.
Williams was suspended for marijuana use and eventually retired from the game. He eventually returned and tested positive again and was suspended for the entire 2006 season.
Since then, Williams has been a solid contributor for the Miami Dolphins. He has provided an excellent second option to starting running back Ronnie Brown and has even outplayed his teammate multiple times.
5. Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins, Linebacker
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Brian Orakpo came out of college with huge expectations on his shoulders. So far he has managed to live up to them.
After being drafted with the 13th overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, Orakpo quickly became a staple in the Redskins defense. Against the Raiders, he recorded four sacks in one game and was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Orakpo would later be named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, as a reserve. He was the first Redskins player to do so since Tony Green in 1978.
Orakpo again made the Pro Bowl this past season after Clay Matthews was unable to play due to making the Super Bowl.
Look for Orakpo to continue terrorizing defenses into the future.
4. Cedric Griffin, Minnesota Vikings, Cornerback
Cedric Griffin was finally becoming the shut-down corner that everyone envisioned.
Over the course of the 2008 season, he recorded 80 tackles and an interception, while helping lead a tremendous Vikings defense.
He continued to improve in the 2009 season as he recorded 65 tackles and four interceptions. In the Vikings eventual playoff loss to the Saints, he tore his ACL.
The knee was successfully repaired over the course of the offseason and he made his 2010 debut in Week 3 against the Lions. Two weeks later he would tear the ACL in his other knee and be forced to miss the remainder of the season.
Griffin hopes to finally be healthy in 2011, when he can finally live up to the potential he has shown in the past.
3. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals, Running Back
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After an anemic start to his career with the Chicago Bears, Benson began to look like who he was projected to become when he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Benson immediately thrived working alongside Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco.
Benson posted 1,251 yards and six touchdowns in his second year with the team, despite only playing in 13 games. He helped lead the team into the playoffs where he rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown in their loss to the Jets.
He continued his streak in 2010 as he recorded 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns over the course of 16 games. Benson was a huge contributor to the Bengal's offense and looks to continue to be so in the coming years.
2. Quentin Jammer, San Diego Chargers, Cornerback
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Jammer has been a staple of the feared Chargers defense for the past eight seasons.
While he hasn't always had the most interceptions, he has continued to grow as a football player each and every year. Jammer has been apart of the Chargers since his birth into the league and has improved as the team has.
He fully blossomed in the 2007 season as the Chargers brought in better players to surround him with. He put up his highest interception total of his career and helped guide the younger players.
This past season, Jammer recorded 42 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. The Chargers, as a whole, put forth a disappointing season, but they will look rebound in 2011.
1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, Running Back
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The electric little man out of the Kansas City backfield lands at the top spot of our countdown.
Charles came out of Texas two years ago and has averaged 5.3, 5.9 and 6.4 yards per carry each year in the NFL. The last was good enough for second all-time.
Charles uses his insane quickness to juke out second-level defenders and blow into the secondary. His explosive capabilities made him a fan favorite with the Chiefs almost instantly.
He will continue to be be one of the best running backs in the league for many years to come.