The NFL is now littered with former Texas players from the era. It seems like every game involves a Longhorn in the starting lineup. The biggest impacts appear to be on both lines and in the secondary while linebacker is without a doubt the weakest position. Injuries affected a few of the players 2008 season, but the program should be proud of what these guys are accomplishing.
– The Atlanta Falcon’s made the playoffs behind a great running game and solid quarterback play. The unsung unit on the team was the offensive line. Blalock has cemented himself as a starter on an upcoming team by starting all 16 games after playing in 14 last season. At Texas, Blalock played tackle, but in the NFL he has been able to slide back to his natural position of tackle. Blalock was even able to score a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
– The forgotten member of the 2005 secondary has become a solid nickel corner in the NFL for the 49ers. Brown played in 15 games and started in one. He recorded 30 tackles and two interceptions.
– The beginning of the season didn’t appear good for Benson. After being cut by the Bears it appeared no one would request his services. The Cincinnati Bengals fell apart and came calling four games into the season. Benson started 10 games, gained over 700 yards, and scored two touchdowns on the ground. He also added 20 receptions. “EL Ced” finished with two huge games; making the chance he is offered a longer deal by the Bengals a real possibility.
– Crowder struggled with injuries and the depth chart all season. He played in six games, starting zero, and recording one tackle on the whole year.
– Charles had a rookie season that has to be seen as a success. Charles sits behind Larry Johnson on the depth chart, but made plays when given the opportunity. The speedster averaged 5.3 yards per carry and added 27 receptions. His only touchdown of the season came on a reception. If Johnson isn’t retained by the Chiefs, Charles may get a look as an every down back.
– The offensive line for the Cowboys underachieved this season. Davis will go to another Pro Bowl but o-line selections are based on reputation more times than not. It was not all Davis’ fault but he did not perform at the level he did the previous year.
– Dawson was once again a lone bright spot for the Cleveland Browns franchise. He went 30/36 with a long of 56. He was perfect on extra point, but the 18 attempts magnify the struggles of the Browns offense.
– Dockery is one of the higher paid linemen in the league, but is never as dominant as his salary would warrant.
– Finley had a hard time getting started this season. He ended up playing in 14 games while starting one of them. The rookie finished with 6 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown on the season.
– Griffin has turned into a solid starting cornerback for the Vikings. He gets a lot of action playing opposite of Pro-Bowler Antoine Winfield but holds his own pretty well. Griffin plays with excellent enthusiasm and competitiveness which makes him an eager corner in run support. He played in all 16 games for the second straight season and recorded 91 tackles and a pick.
– Michael Griffin had the type of year that have made many hail him as the best defensive back to come out of the 2005 group. Griffin is a Pro-Bowl alternate after recording seven interceptions and a sack on the year. He is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the league. His play has allowed the Titan defense to become one of the best in the league. Griffin also returns kicks for the #1 seeded Titans.
– The former Marine has established himself as one of the last true fullbacks in the game. The Tennessee running game is one of the best in the league behind the duo of Chris Johnson and Lendale White. The two split carries with mirrored success, and the one constant is the presence of Hall. He has also become a weapon in the flat out of the backfield, recording two touchdown receptions this year.
– Hampton had a tough season as he struggled to get on the field with health and conditioning problems. When Hampton can play he remains the best 3-4 nose tackle in the game. He recorded one sack in 13 games that he was rarely able to make it all the way through.
– The Thorpe award winner hasn’t lived up to his draft status so far in his career, but it is still early. Huff lost his starting job and didn’t record a sack, interception, or forced fumble on the year.
– Jammer had another great year in San Diego. He is one of the most physical corners in the league and continually gets matched up with the opposing team’s biggest and best receiver. Jammer recorded 88 tackles, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles for the playoff bound Chargers. It has been amazing to watch the turnaround of Jammer’s play after struggling for the first few years in the NFL. The pressure of being a high pick has subsided and Jammer’s play has risen.
– DJ has moved inside and performed well for the Chiefs. The knock on the former Texas star coming out was his unwillingness to take on blocks, and after a few years as a pro the criticism still exist. When playing in space he excels, but at the point of attack he has remained a liability. Johnson has been up and down, but has shown flashes of potential. He ended the year with 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception, and four forced fumbles. If/when the light turns on for DJ the sky is the limit.
– Okam may have earned himself a roster spot for next year with his play down the stretch. He lacks the motor and intensity most coaches want out of an interior defensive lineman, but he has the tools to become a solid player in the league if he ever turns it on.
– I feel bad for Cory Redding. I feel bad for any player, coach, trainer, and journalist (except Rob Parker) in Detroit. Redding was the heart and soul of their defense (if that is possible), and if he ever gets out of Detroit he may have a chance to make some noise. Until then, he’ll be rich in Detroit. He got three sacks on the year.
– Robison plays behind Jerod Allen so his snaps are limited. When he is on the field he shows up and makes plays. He managed 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 15 games.
– Shaun Rogers is the most disruptive interior lineman in football today. The guy is just huge and unstoppable when his motor is turned on. He took over games at points this season in spite of double and triple teams. Rogers will be in the Pro-Bowl again after turning in 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He has Hall of Fame type talent when it is all clicking for Rogers.
– He may not be the best athlete in his marriage, but the Thorpe award winner has become a better than average cornerback in a tough place to play. Ross started in every game he played, 15, and grabbed 3 interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Ross has the ability to be a shutdown corner as his technique and confidence continue to grow.
– Scaife has emerged as a very productive tight end even in the face of losing his quarterback and his team bringing in a big name free agent in Alge Crumpler. There were a few games where Kerry Collins completely forgot about Scaife, but he finished with 58 receptions and two touchdowns. Scaife has also become better as a blocker which allows him to stay on the field in all situations.
– People tend to forget about Sendlein when discussing the better offensive lineman Mack Brown has put into the NFL. Sendein has started every game of the season for a playoff team. Not too bad.
– Simms is the number three quarterback on Tennessee’s roster.
– Studdard remains a reserve lineman for the Houston Texans. He hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup.
– Sweed is listed as the 4th receiver on the Steeler roster. One would think Sweed will contribute more after a full off season.
– The Patriots use a lot of tight ends in their offense, so none of them have numbers that are going to blow you away. Despite that Thomas has been able to get on the field a lot so far in his career. He pulled in nine receptions for 93 yards, but was never able to reach the end zone.
– Injuries rendered the 2008 season a wasted one for Vasher. He played in eight games, recording one interception, before being placed on injured reserve.
– The former Heisman trophy winner and league pariah has made his comeback has a productive back in the Miami system. He was one of the many bright spots on a team full of them this year. Williams is able to make plays without being relied on to carry the full load because of the presence of Ronnie Brown. Ricky scored four touchdowns on 659 yards rushing. He may have made his biggest impact as a receiver out of the backfield where he averaged over seven yards a catch on 29 receptions.
– The losing ways of the Lions followed Williams from Detroit to Dallas. Roy was never able to make an impact for the Cowboys for reasons that still remain unclear. He has proven to have the ability which leaves work ethic and injury as the two other reasons for his lack of production. Williams has unfortunately been criticized for both a lack of work ethic and inability to stay healthy in his career. He will need to have a huge year next year to justify the trade and contract Jerry Jones awarded him.
– Young was another Longhorn that struggled with injury. Denver is notorious for alternating backs, and with the addition of injuries Young was never able to stay on the field. When he was healthy he produced so it will be interesting to see what the new coach in Denver decides to do with Selvin.
– 2008 was not a good year for VY. The greatest player in Longhorn history lost his job after one game and a knee injury, and never was even given the chance to win it back. It now appears Jeff Fisher made the right choice as Tennessee earned the #1 seed in the AFC. While they did it with defense and running the ball, Collins has done a good job in a Trent Dilfer type role. This season may end up being the best thing that has ever happened to Vince as a professional if he uses the experience in the right way.
It was a good week for Texas running backs and for the former Horns that play for the Tennessee Titans. This week’s group was led by Cedric Benson on offense and the continued dominance of Shaun Rogers on defense.
- Benson had his first 100 yard game as a Bengal this week against the Jaguars. It looks like Cedric is playing motivated football since his return after being cut by the Bears for charges that were eventually dropped. Benson had 104 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
- The Falcons keep winning and their offense keeps on putting up points. Atlanta beat up the Raiders in every phase of the game on Sunday. The offensive line play is allowing rookie quarterback Matt Ryan to have a big year.
- The rookie running back had his best game of his young career as he went over the century mark on the ground for the first time. Charles got his chance because Larry Johnson is still suspended by the team and backup Kolby Smith went down with an injury. The speedster didn’t disappoint gaining 106 yards on 18 carries.
- The Cowboys keep stinking it up and a lot of it has to do with the play of the offensive line. Dallas has suffered injuries no doubt, but the running game is hurting and the quarterbacks have had no time to throw.
- The best kicker in recent Longhorn history went two for two with a long of 52 yards in a Cleveland loss.
- Cedric Griffin had a decent day against the Texans recording four tackles. Houston struggled to get their offense going on the day as the secondary for the Vikings did a decent job.
- The Tennessee Titans are the best team in football right now, and they’re led by a group of former Longhorns. Griffin is the current standout of those former Horns because of his steady play in the back of the Titan defense. Griffin had six tackles in the overtime win over the Packers.
- The Titan offense is not explosive in the passing game, but they get it done in the running game behind the lead blocking of the former Marine. Hall has become one of the premier true fullbacks in the NFL. He was even given a carry that he took for three yards.
- Hampton had a big game in the middle Monday night in a win over the Redskins. The big man has struggled with injuries and did have to come out of the game on occasion.
- It wasn’t a good day for the Raiders or Michael Huff. The Falcons did whatever they wanted to do on Sunday through the air and on the ground. Huff finished with three tackles on the day.
- It was a slow day for DJ as he finished the game with only four tackles. It appeared the Chiefs were going to win a game, but as bad teams are knows to do they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
- The Lions are awful. They are the Los Angeles Clippers of the NFL. After controlling the game against the Bears they managed to give it away at the end. I feel so bad for Redding who finished with four tackles and a sack in the loss.
- Robison recorded two tackles in the win over the Texans. He continues to only get snaps when the starters need a break.
- Rogers is a monster. He has been dominating teams lately including nine tackles and a sack in the loss to Baltimore. Rogers will end up in Hawaii at the end of this season.
- Another Longhorn on the only undefeated team in the NFL. Scaife has become one of the most consistent targets in the league finishing the game against the Packers with four receptions for 26 yards in a game where first downs were few and far between.
- Thomas got the start against the Colts on Sunday night. He finished the game with three receptions for 29 yards in the loss.
- The former Heisman winner finished with 16 yards for the third straight week. Ronnie Brown has become the clear go to back in Miami with Ricky getting touches when the Dolphins go to their “Wild Cat” formation. He has made an impact in the passing game as he made his third catch for over 20 yards in two games.
- Williams has not made the impact some thought he would coming to the Cowboys in a mid season trade. If anything the lack of production for Roy shows why there are so little trades made in pro football. In the loss, he caught one ball for 28 yards.
Roy Williams caught his first touchdown with Dallas and Shaun Rogers had a huge game for Cleveland. Read below to see how all the former Horns did this week:
- Brown had a quiet night in a loss to the Seahawks. Brown had two tackles in the game.
- The Bengals are awful, but Benson has been a bright spot in his short time there. Benson ran the ball well in the first half before being taken out of the game plan because of the deficit his team faced. He finished the game with 13 carries for 49 yards and two receptions for 20 yards.
- Charles had his best rushing day of his young career on Sunday averaging nine yards on five carries including a long thirty yard run. Starting running back Larry Johnson continues to miss time because of off the field issues, so the rookie’s role should continue to grow.
- The Cowboys got back on the win column, but it had little to do with the play of the offense. Dallas has suffered a lot of injuries but the play of the offensive line has to be disappointing.
- Dawson continues to play well going three for three with a long of 42 in the Cleveland win of Jacksonville.
- The Titans made a statement on Monday night in a win over the Colts. Griffin was all over the field finishing the game with eight tackles.
- The Titan running game changes focal points throughout the game with the combination of Chris Johnson and Lendale White, but the one constant is the consistent blocking ability of Ahmard Hall. Hall played well again as the Titans remain undefeated.
- Hampton got back in the stat column after struggling with injuries throughout the year. The big defensive tackle recorded six tackles while controlling the middle of the line.
- The Raiders and Michael Huff continue to struggle. The former Thorpe Award winner was credited with two tackles and no pass breakups in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
- Jammer went all the way to London to get hurt. He finished the game with six tackles before he left the game with a minor leg injury. The game was not good for either team’s secondary. Jammer gets a week off to heal up.
- DJ had a chance to be a hero against Brett Favre and the Jets but he dropped a potential interception that hit him right in the numbers. He finished with six tackles in the loss.
- Redding recorded five tackles and a half sack in another Detroit loss. I feel bad for anyone playing in Detroit, Roy Williams got out, now we need Redding to follow.
- Rogers was dominant for the second straight week. When Rogers plays all out he could be the best interior lineman in the game. In the win against the Jaguars the nose tackle recorded nine tackles and a sack.
- The Titans are the best team in the league right now and everywhere you look a former Longhorn standout is making a contribution. Scaife looks to be the best tight end on the squad even with the addition of Alge Crumpler. On Monday night Scaife had five catches for 44 yards.
- Thomas caught a ball after going a week without one. The Patriots won the game and Thomas is one of many tight ends New England uses.
- Williams scored a touchdown but was held to 16 yards on seven carries in the upset win over the Bills. He did have a 47 yard reception in the game but gave a fumble that set up a score for Buffalo.
- Roy Williams scored his first touchdown as a Cowboy on a two yard fade in what ended up being the only touchdown of the game. Williams wasted no time pleasing his Texas fans by putting up a “Hook em’ Horns” sign in the air for the world to see.
- Vince Young remains the man on the Titan sideline
Great week for Duane Akina’s former proteges in the NFL as Tarell Brown, Michael Griffin, and Nathan Vasher all had interceptions in week three. Ricky Williams also had his best performance of the year as he and backfield mate Ronnie Brown ran all over the New England Patriots. Meanwhile wide receiver Limas Sweed is still waiting to see the field for the first time as a pro out in Pittsburgh. Read on to see how the rest of the Longhorns in the NFL performed last week:
– Two tackles and an interception in the loss to the Chargers.
– Seven carries for 38 yards rushing plus three catches for 24 yards. Jamaal also had his first NFL kickoff return for 21 yards.
– 1/1 on field goals and on extra points.
– Finally saw the field for the Packers against the Cowboys but had no catches. He got in on special teams and managed to pick up an unsportsmanlike penalty in a brush with Martellus Bennett.
– Two tackles against Carolina.
– Big game against the Texans with two interceptions. Also added two tackles.
– One carry for one yard.
– No stats against Philly. Will miss the next game against Baltimore with an injured groin.
– Three tackles, two of them solos, against Buffalo.
– Recovered a fumble and returned it 23 yards, broke up two passes, and added three tackles in the Chargers blowout of the Fightin’ Brett Favres.
– One tackle in what may be one of 16 losses this season for the Chiefs.
– Two solo tackles for the lowly Lions against the 48ers.
– Had a solid game against Baltimore posting four tackles.
– Five solo tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
– Three catches for 26 yards including a touchdown.
– Still no playing time.
– One catch for four yards in what will hopefully be one of many losses for the Patriots.
– Good performance for Nate versus Tampa Bay. Three passes defended including an interception, with four solo tackles added on.
– Great game for Ricky and his counterpart Ronnie Brown as the Dolphins went back to the college game to get a little offensive firepower. He had 16 carries for 98 yards (6.1 average) and two catches for 21 more yards.
– Two catches for 18 yards in a loss to San Francisco. Roy has to be frustrated and already looking forward to 2009 somewhere other than Detroit.
– Very efficient game against New Orleans with 11 carries for 65 yards.
With injured it wasn’t a very exciting week for ex-Longhorns in the NFL. Quentin Jammer and Selvin Young probably had the best weeks, while the complete absence of Jermichael Finley and Limas Sweed continues. Here’s how all the former Horns did in week two of the NFL season:
– Less busy after a good week one, only three carries for seven yards. The Chiefs only rushed the ball 19 times all game as a team. Charles also had a 15 yard catch and hurt Larry Johnson’s feelings.
– Two of two on field goals with a long of 38 yards in a loss.
– Still looking for his first career catch. I’m not sure if he’s getting any snaps at all.
– Six tackles and one pass breakup against Peyton Manning and the Colts.
– Picked up his first interception of the year off a tipped pass. Also added six tackles from his safety spot.
– Three carries for nine yards.
– One tackle.
– Four tackles against KC and two passes defended.
– Posted 11 tackles and had a forced fumble in the Chargers’ controversial loss to the Broncos.
– Eight tackles, seven of them solo.
– Inspired me to teach my kids to deep snap.
– Three solo tackles against the Packers.
– First sack of the 2008 season and added six tackles.
– Four tackles.
– Without Vince Young, just one catch for six yards.
– Still no catches in his NFL career. Like Finley, looking at his game logs it appears he’s not even playing.
– Picked up his first catch of the year against the Jets, a 14-yarder from Matt Cassel.
– Returned punts for the first time in a long while. Had three returns for a total of 21 yards. Added two tackles.
– After an exciting preseason another ho hum game for Ricky. He had 11 rushes for 28 yards in the Dolphins’ blowout loss to Arizona.
– Just about the same performance as week one: three catches for 48 yards. Looks like Calvin Johnson has become the clear number one target in Detroit, maybe Roy can head down to Tennessee next year as a free agent.
– Was the Broncos’ leading rusher with eight carries for 78 yards, including a big 49-yarder. Also added one catch for eight yards.
Casey Hampton placed on PUP list for being out of shape by Steelers. He won’t be allowed to practice in this camp until he drops weight
In an effort to measure which college programs have been the most successful over the last five seasons, the Wall Street Journal has come up with The Dow Jones College-Football Success Index. I’m not sure why, but they have chosen to use a formula that calculates the success of college football teams using only NFL information. They use the number of players starting/contributing on NFL teams as one factor, which also includes how many games their NFL teams win. The other factor is a team’s “draft success” which attempts to determine whether a team’s players have lived up to their draft promise.
The Longhorns land at number sixteen, which isn’t too low except for the fact that teams like North Carolina and Texas A&M land ahead of the Horns. That’s a pretty tell-tale sign that your ranking logic is horribly skewed. They list only , , and as standout players. I guess Pro Bowlers and , who might be the best defensive tackle in the league, don’t count as standouts.
Here’s their comment on Texas:
National champs sent only three players to the NFL this year from the nation’s top offense. One problem: Longhorns’ shotgun formation isn’t popular in the NFL.
Not a very good argument there. I’m guessing a better reason we only had three offensive player’s drafted is that the team has seven returning starters this year on that side of the football. It’s kind of hard to be drafted when you’re still in college. went third overall, tight end went in the third round to the Patriots, and tackle was the Lions’ fifth round selection. Guard signed a free agent deal with the Saints and backups and also found teams despite not being starters at Texas. Actually seems like a pretty good success rate to me.
So basically they took a faulty premise and backed it up with terrible analysis. There’s a lot of ways to determine a successful college football program, but how many backups a school has in the NFL is probably one of the last things you should consider.
Via: The Wiz