Draft

Texas A&M draft primer: This year’s top talent, plus positions where Aggies are strong (and not so strong) in NFL

NGUYEN PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS A&M ATHLETICS; MILLER AND GARRETT PHOTOS BY USA TODAY SPORTS

Texas A&M never has had a player taken first overall in the NFL draft – something fans of Texas, TCU and Texas Tech and SMU have taunted Aggies fans about for a while – but that almost certainly is going to change April 27, when Cleveland makes its pick.

Defensive end Myles Garrett is seen by basically everyone as the top pick, and A&M finally will join its in-state brethren in having an alum go first overall.

Garrett won’t be the only Aggies player drafted. In fact, it’s likely that at least seven A&M players are selected, which would be the most in one draft since 1992, when eight Aggies were drafted. The draft was a 12-round affair then.

Here’s a look at Texas A&M players who have a legitimate chance to be drafted this year, along with a look at the positions where A&M alums have fared well – and not so well – in the NFL.

This year’s potential draftees (in rough order of when they can be expected to come off the board): DE Myles Garrett, S Justin Evans, G Jermaine Eluemunor, WR Josh Reynolds, OL Avery Gennesy, DE Daeshon Hall, WR Ricky Seals-Jones, WR Speedy Noil and QB Trevor Knight.

The Aggies are: “Offensive Tackle U.” Four years, four first-round draft picks at tackle for the Aggies. The order: Luke Joeckel (Jacksonville Jaguars, second overall, 2013), Jake Matthews (Atlanta Falcons, sixth overall, 2014), Cedric Ogbuehi (Cincinnati Bengals, 21st overall, 2015) and Germain Ifedi (Seattle Seahawks, 31st overall, 2016). But those four haven’t lived up to the draft hype. Matthews has improved for the NFC champion Falcons after a rocky start, but Joeckel has moved to guard after struggling mightily in Jacksonville, Ogbuehi has been hampered by knee and shoulder injuries and Ifedi struggled at guard as a rookie. All four aim to follow in the path of past Aggies star Richmond Webb, the seven-time Pro Bowler who protected Dan Marino’s blind side for the Miami Dolphins in the 1990s.

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Next in line: Defensive tackles from College Station have fared well in the NFL, particularly in the previous decade. At that time, former Aggies Sam Adams, a massive run-stuffer who played for six teams and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, and Pat Williams, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, ranked among the most coveted tackles in the league. Joining them on the Aggies’ NFL list were Brandon Mitchell, Ty Warren, Rocky Bernard, Red Bryant and Ron Edwards, four of them Super Bowl winners. A trip back a little further turns up steady veterans such as Charlie Krueger (1960s and 1970s, San Francisco 49ers) and Ray Childress (1980s and 1990s, Houston Oilers), who were quietly good for a long time.

Not so much: One might think that those powerful A&M offensive lines would pave the way for a parade of NFL-bound running backs. But it hasn’t always worked out for Aggies rushers in the pros. Only the Green Bay Packers’ Christine Michael currently represents Texas A&M running backs on an NFL roster, and with 1,080 yards in four years, he hasn’t exactly dominated the league. No A&M running back has started even 30 career games in the NFL since Keith Woodside started 50 for the Packers from 1988-91. The last former Aggie to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season was Earnest Jackson with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985.

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Over the years: Aggies linebackers have had a Texas-sized impact over the years in the NFL, even though Denver Broncos superstar Von Miller is the only active Texas A&M linebacker to have a full-time starting job in the league at any point during the past decade. Some of the brightest stars of the pre-Miller age: Jack Pardee (played 15 years with the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins from 1958-72), Lee Roy Caffey (three-time Super Bowl winner with the Packers and Dallas Cowboys), William Thomas (a two-time Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles and later Oakland Raiders in the 1990s) and Dat Nguyen (who started with the Cowboys in the early 2000s before injuries ended his career prematurely).

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