2024 NFL Draft: Program-record 11 Texas Longhorns selected, 6 on final day

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders will remain teammates with running back Jonathon Brooks.

Sanders was selected with the first pick in the fourth round, No. 101 overall, by the Carolina Panthers on the third day of the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday. Brooks was a second-round selection by the Panthers on Friday. In total, 11 Longhorns were selected in the draft with six going on the final day. It’s the most Longhorns picked in a draft during the modern era and was second to Michigan’s 13 draftees this season.

2024 NFL Draft: These Texas Longhorns were selected in the first round

Sanders has the all-time record at Texas for career receptions by a tight end with 99, racking up 1,295 yards and seven touchdowns over three seasons. He caught 45 passes for 682 yards and two touchdowns in 2023.

“He works hard at his craft, has an extremely high football IQ, and we asked him to do a lot in our offense, and he definitely did great things for us,” Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I know he’s got huge upside and a bright, bright future ahead of him. He’s still just scratching the surface, and I’m excited for JT and where it can go for him with the Panthers.”

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Sanders said he’s already talked to Brooks about reuniting.

“I FaceTimed with him. It’s a great feeling,” Sanders said. “We came into college together, so we’ve experienced college and been through the ups and downs, highs and lows. It’s just a great experience.”

Sanders was the fourth tight end picked in the draft. Jared Wiley, who transferred from Texas to TCU after the 2021 season, was picked No. 131 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Offensive lineman Christian Jones was picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round at No. 162 overall. Running back Keilan Robinson was selected at No. 167 overall by Jacksonville. Linebacker Jaylan Ford went to the Saints near the end of the fifth round at No. 175 overall. Cornerback Ryan Watts was selected in the sixth round by the Steelers and receiver Jordan Whittington was picked up by the Rams in the sixth round.

The last pick in the draft typically earns the nickname of “Mr. Irrelevant,” since they don’t usually make a roster or contribute after their selection. San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy has done his best to buck the trend after being the last pick in the 2022 draft, and the Jets used this year’s final pick on Alabama safety Jaylen Key.

Georgetown native and Eastview grad Levi Drake Rodriguez became the first player from Texas A&M-Commerce, an FCS program, to be drafted since 2000. The defensive tackle was taken in the seventh round at No. 232 overall by the Vikings.

The Bills used its first pick of the seventh round on an offensive lineman from England, Travis Clayton. He’s part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. The Jets used a fifth-round pick on a player from the Canadian Football League, defensive back Qwan’tez Stiggers. He played for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts last season.

Jett Bush and Ryan Sanborn signed free-agent contracts after going undrafted. Bush, a linebacker, signed with the Patriots and Sanborn, a punter, signed with the Falcons.

Texas Longhorns in the 2024 NFL Draft, by round

  • Round 1

  • Round 2

    • No. 38: T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Titans

    • No. 46: Jonathon Brooks, RB, Panthers

    • No. 52: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Colts

  • Round 4

    • No. 101: Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Panthers

  • Round 5

    • No. 162: Christian Jones, OL, Cardinals

    • No. 167: Keilan Robinson, RB, Jaguars

    • No. 175: Jaylan Ford, LB, Saints

  • Round 6

    • No. 195: Ryan Watts, CB, Steelers

    • No. 213: Jordan Whittington, WR, Rams

  • Undrafted free-agent signings

    • Jett Bush, LB, Patriots

    • Ryan Sanborn, P, Falcons

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