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The 2022 NFL draft came and went over the past few days, and 262 players witnessed their dreams came true when they heard their names called.
Unfortunately for the handful of Longhorns that were hoping to get selected, not a single one of them were drafted throughout the seven rounds. This marked the first time a Texas player was not selected in the NFL draft since 2014.
While this doesn’t mean they will not have a shot to make an NFL roster, as they were all quickly picked up as undrafted free agents, it does go to show how Tom Herman left the program and what Steve Sarkisian inherited.
Current Longhorns such as D’Shawn Jamison and DeMarvion Overshown took to Twitter to assure their fan base that the lack of draft picks won’t happen again, but it has left many looking for answers as to how a blue blood program like Texas could have zero players taken.
Among the Power Five schools to not have people selected, Texas was joined by Vanderbilt, Arizona, and Duke among others.
Texas is a program that should never be mentioned in the same breathe as the others, but the former coaching regime issues along with the dreadful 2021 season played a major role in this happening.
Here is a breakdown as to why no Longhorns heard their name called.
Lack of production
Ricardo B. Brazziell /American-Statesman-USA TODAY Sports
To start with the most obvious one, not a single one of Texas’ draft hopefuls were able to consistently produce in their tenure .Cornerback Josh Thompson and kicker Cameron Dicker had the best chance to be drafted, but Thompson was never able to standout and likely suffered from having to learn a new defense every season due to constant coordinator changes. Dicker on the other hand started his career off strong, but became one of the most inconsistent kickers, and out of all the positions in the NFL, kicker is the most interchangeable. Of the specialists that were selected, Dicker was neither more consistent or as talented as any at either kicker or punter.
Tight end Cade Brewer is the epitome of a solid college player that likely wouldn’t go pro, as the super senior was never one of the best players on the team but he was adequate enough to consistently play. There is nothing wrong with that, but compared to the other tight ends in the class, Brewer just wasn’t the blocker or playmaker that any of the others were. EDGE Jacoby Jones was plagued by injury, and had one career sack. That simply will not get it done.
Similar to Brewer, offensive linemen Denzel Okafor was a super senior that had the measurables but was unable to ever be consistent enough to truly be considered spending a pick on. Oregon transfer Brenden Schooler played two positions at Texas and excelled at neither. If Herman would not have switched him to receiver, he could have gotten more quality reps at safety and who knows the player he would have been.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
During his time as the head coach, Tom Herman was able to bring in highly ranked recruits, but the issue lies with what he did with them once they got on campus. Outside of his first season, he brought in three top 10 classes that he and his staff were unable to maximize. It was obvious by their performances on the field, and it was even more evident in the win-loss column, as even with two classes that ranked No. 3 and No. 9 the product was still bad. It also doesn’t help that the 2019 class may be among the worst recruiting classes ever assembled. Texas is feeling the impact of that now.
Sarkisian inherited the leftovers from Herman’s disastrous tenure and similarly to Herman was unable to help boost the player performance up a notch. It will be interesting to see if Sarkisian and his staff will be able to develop the players more.
Image courtesy of Texas Sports
While it is on the players to perform and stand out, I will say that it is very hard to do so when every single season of your career there is a new system to learn. Each one of the players whether it be on offense or defense had three coordinators in three years, thanks to Herman trying to save his job and try something new, along with Sarkisian being hired and bringing in his staff. Many hoped that Sarkisian would retain defensive coordinator Chris Ash, as the team had shown improvement under him but it was to no avail.
So not only where the players not producing each season, they had to learn a foreign system practically every year essentially setting them up for failure. This season will mark the first time since Tim Beck and Todd Orlando that Texas will have the same coordinators going into the next season. This puts even more pressure on the development, as there is no longer the excuse of it being a new system or learning curve.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
While Sarkisian has brought in the No. 5 class in the country, and a very strong class of transfers this offseason, last season the transfers they brought in were very questionable. Sarkisian turned to other powerhouse programs to take on their reserves like Ben Davis, Ray Thornton, and Ovie Oghoufo and got minimal production from them. Both Davis and Thornton struggled all season, and were not as beneficial to the defense as we thought they could have been. With a full year to recruit, Sarkisian seems to have brought in some talented players, but that is to be determined.
Herman on the other hand, had a majority of his recruits he brought in transfer or simply not be as good as they were expected to be. He allowed elite players to leave the state, and was unable to get the best out of the players he landed. A prime example would be the “best defensive back class of all time” which included two five-stars in B.J. Foster (Sam Houston St.). and Caden Sterns (NFL). This class was expected to be the cornerstone, but Overshown rarely saw the field at safety causing the move to linebacker and players like Anthony Cook, D’Shawn Jamison, and Jalen Green (Mississippi State) haven’t been as advertised.
We have also seen remanence of this issue this past year, as over 40 players have left the program with Sarkisian at the helm. It is evident he has emphasized cleaning house of those who don’t fit the culture or will not produce. This next season will be a great sign to determine if Sarkisian is landing playmakers, or players who were just highly touted recruits who will not live up to their rankings like in years past.