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Best Longhorns in the NFL

Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images



Few college football programs have been better at sending players to the NFL than the Texas Longhorns. Even as the program has endured some down years over the past decade, the Longhorns still have plenty of pro talent on their roster, and regularly see players go into the league as the highest NFL picks in the draft. Since 1938, Texas has had at least one player drafted every year except 2014. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the current Texas Longhorns who are excelling in the NFL.

Jordan Hicks, Cardinals

Hicks had some ups and downs early in his career, largely because of injuries. In fact, he missed out on helping the Eagles win the Super Bowl because he was hurt. However, Hicks hit the reset button when he signed with the Cardinals in 2019. He started all 16 games in 2019, amassing 150 tackles and figures to be a key part of the Arizona defense moving forward.

Justin Tucker, Ravens

Tucker is arguably the best kicker of his generation. He’s been to three Pro Bowls and been a First-Team All-Pro selection four times since signing with the Ravens in 2012. He helped Baltimore win the Super Bowl as a rookie and has continued to excel ever since. Tucker was a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2010s and is statistically the most accurate kicker in NFL history. 

Kenny Vaccaro, Titans

Vaccaro is on a long list of All-Americans to come through Texas. After a standout college career, he was a first-round pick in 2013 and immediately became one of the best young safeties in the NFL. After he started to fade late in his time with the Saints, Vacarro signed with Tennessee in 2018 and revived his career. Vaccaro signed a lucrative extension with the Titans before the 2019 season and went on to have one of his best seasons, helping Tennessee reach the AFC Championship Game and cementing his spot as a key figure on the Titans for several years to come.

Trey Hopkins, Bengals

Despite starting 42 games during his time at Texas, Hopkins went undrafted in 2014 before signing with the Bengals. He had to work his way up the NFL ladder but has done so successfully. By 2017, Hopkins had moved into the starting lineup at right guard, ultimately moving to center, where he started all 16 games in 2019. His performance earned him a lucrative extension, meaning he’ll be a mainstay on the Cincinnati offensive line through at least 2022.

Alex Okafor, Chiefs

After winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012, Okafor was only a fourth-round draft pick. However, he’s continued to prove himself, starting 60 games over his first seven years in the league. During those 60 games, Okaford has collected 27 sacks, becoming a key role player for several teams.

Malcolm Brown, Rams

After leading the Longhorns in rushing during three of his four seasons in college, Brown went undrafted. Fortunately, he found a home with the Rams and has carved out a role as the team’s backup running back. Brown has provided a nice change of pace to Todd Gurley for several years and will get a chance to carve out a more prominent role in the Los Angeles backfield in 2020.

Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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