Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans is sacked by Hassan Ridgeway #91 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Football

Our sixth annual Ranking the NFL Longhorns project: Part 1

Posted January 6th, 2017

Advertisement
Story highlights
  • Three former UT linebackers are slotted near the top of our rankings.
  • One former Longhorn was clearly the best at his position in the NFL.
  • The total number of Longhorns in the NFL dropped from 36 in 2015 to 31 in 2016.

Once known as DBU, the University of Texas looked more like LBU for the 2016 NFL season.

Three linebackers stole the show, slotting near the top of the American-Statesman’s sixth annual Ranking The NFL Longhorns project.

One snapped the two-year reign of our previous standout who topped our list with a high-impact season that earned him his fourth Pro Bowl trip. Notching 10.5 sacks — 13th best in the NFL — he added 16 quarterback hurries.

Advertisement

The eight-year pro, No. 3 in Ranking the 2015 NFL Longhorns, has accumulated 57.5 career sacks.

A holdover from the Longhorns’ last national championship team earned our No. 5 spot.

In his fifth year and playing for a new team, another ex-Longhorn enjoyed a breakout year and surged from 16th to sixth on our list.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) reaches the ball forward to try and get a first down as Detroit Lions defensive back Brandon McDonald (33) forces him out of bounds in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. Charles was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) reaches the ball forward to try and get a first down as Detroit Lions defensive back Brandon McDonald (33) forces him out of bounds in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. Charles was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Injuries cut down a number of NFL Longhorns, a drop of 36 players in 2015 to 31 in 2016, most notably Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs running back, the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry average (5.5), barely got warmed up in 2016 before being shut down. He never fully recovered from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered early in the 2015 season.

And last, one ex-Longhorn was clearly the best at his craft in the entire league.

Here we present our ranking of the 31 Longhorns in the NFL in two parts, starting with Nos. 31 to 16:

Longhorns in the NFL

The Statesman's rankings of the former Texas Longhorns in the NFL for 2016, part 1.
RankPvs. YearNamePos.TeamDescription
31
RDuke ThomasCBSan FranciscoSigned to the 49ers practice squad late in the year. Reached injury settlement with the Texans in summer, signed by Eagles then cut Oct. 21.
3035Mykkele ThompsonFSN.Y. GiantsAfter making a tackle in the opener, he injured a knee in week 2 and spent a 2nd consecutive season on IR (Achilles in 2015).
29NRTrey HopkinsOGCincinnatiThe 3rd-year lineman, not on the active roster until week 17, got a look-see and played 10 snaps.
286Lamarr HoustonOLBChicagoThe 7-year pro only made it through the opener unscathed, tearing his left ACL in week 2 and missing the rest of the year.
2727Colt McCoyQBWashingtonDid not throw a single pass for the first time in his 7-year career. Has 2 years and $5.6 million remaining on his contract.
26NRChykie BrownCBCincinnatiPlayed in 5 games with 2 special-teams tackles, suffered season-ending knee injury in late November in Baltimore, where his career began.
25NRDonald HawkinsOTN.Y. JetsSaw some limited snaps in 7 games for Carolina, was cut and picked up by the Jets but didn't play after week 11.
2429Malcolm BrownRBLos AngelesWasn't on the field much backing up Todd Gurley. Had 18 carries for 39 yards, a 2.2 average, and 3 catches for 46 yards.
2312Jamaal CharlesRBKansas CityA second straight injury-lost season for the former NFL rushing champ. Carried 12 times for 40 yards and 1 TD and caught 2 passes for 14 yards.
2228Geoff SwaimTEDallasStarted 6 games (played in 9), catching 6 passes for 69 yards (3 first downs) before a torn pectoral muscle in week 10 ended his season.
2122Tony HillsOTNew OrleansThe 8-year veteran got into 11 games backing up Terron Armstead at left tackle and played special teams.
2023Aaron WilliamsSSBuffaloA neck injury brought his season to a halt Oct. 23 for a second straight year. Had 13 tackles, 5 passes defensed and a fumble recovery for a TD.
198Roy MillerDTJacksonvilleThe 8-year pro started the first 6 games, mainly plugging gaps and adding 10 tackles, before tearing his right Achilles tendon.
1818Alex OkaforOLBArizonaThe Pflugerville product, a starter in 2015, played in 15 games as a reserve, making 13 tackles, with 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
17RHassan RidgewayDTIndianapolisRookie who played in about 30 percent of the Colts defensive snaps. Started 5 games. Had 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass defensed.
1615Phil DawsonKSan FranciscoThe 2nd-oldest player in the NFL to Adam Vinatieri (43) made 18 of 21 FG tries, one from 53 yards, for the low-scoring 49ers.

Comments