Marquise Goodwin of the San Francisco 49ers poses for a photo during warmups before the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 27, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Ranking the 2017 Longhorns in the NFL: Someone jumped up 14 spots to No. 1 on our annual list

Posted February 12th, 2018

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There were 32 Longhorns in the NFL in 2017. And for the seventh year in a row, we’re going to rank them based on their play on the field. Defensive players have recently gotten most of the attention, but it’s starting to look like a few offensive players are making strides.

In fact, in a bit of an upset, our No. 1 Longhorn in the NFL for the 2017 season is Marquise Goodwin. The fifth-year wide receiver for the 49ers vaulted up from the 14th spot last season. The addition of Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco was a big factor. Before the new signal caller joined the team, Goodwin was making the best of his situation as he had 23 catches for 500 yards. In the final six contests, however, Goodwin exploded for 33 receptions and 462 yards.

Eight of our top 10 are still defensive players. Our next-best offensive player is a rookie who showed he’s ready for the big stage. Injury knocked him out of the season, however.

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Injuries were a factor for a lot of Longhorns in the NFL this season. You could say the Achilles’ heel for some of these players is their…Achilles’ heel. No less than three Longhorns suffered from the injury this year.

Ranking the 2017 Longhorns in the NFL

The Statesman's rankings of the former Texas Longhorns in the NFL for 2017.
RankPvs. YearNamePos.TeamDescription
114Marquise GoodwinWRSan FranciscoGoodwin started to look like a true No. 1 receiver this season. He had a career-high 56 catches for 962 yards, 38 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season. The 49ers offense, led by another former Longhorn Kyle Shanahan, will be one to watch in 2018.
24Earl ThomasFSSeattleThe Seahawks failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Thomas finished the season with 88 tackles, his most since 2014, two interceptions and a touchdown. Thomas also was voted a starter for the pro bowl by his peers.
31Brian OrakpoOLBTennesseeOrakpo finished the season with 7 sacks, 44 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. It’s Orakpo's third straight season having recorded at least 7 sacks.
43Derrick JohnsonILBKansas CityJohnson ended the year with 71 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 7 passes defended. It was only the second year he failed to record a sack in 13 years in the NFL.
58Malcom BrownDTNew EnglandBrown didn't win back-to-back Super Bowls, but the third-year tackle started the game and contributed six tackles and a half-tackle for loss. He's been very consistent, finishing the regular season with 49 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
611Adrian PhillipsSSL.A. ChargersWith Los Angeles falling just shy of the playoffs, Phillips finished the year with a career-high 63 tackles, 5 passes defended and 2 interceptions. His 2 picks were a career best and he also forced a fumble.
710Quandre DiggsSSDetroitDiggs posted a career-high 55 tackles. He also notched career highs in sacks (1), interceptions (3), passes defended (9) and tackles for loss (5). A move from nickel corner to safety proved to be beneficial in the final five games.
818Alex OkaforOLBArizonaBefore Okafor suffered a torn Achilles' in Week 11, he signed with the Saints as a free agent and helped the defense improve drastically. Though he played in just 10 games, he finished with a career-high 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 4 passes defended.
92Jordan HicksILBPhiladelphiaHicks ruptured his Achilles' on just the second play in a win over Washington in Week 7. He finished the year with 28 tackles. It’s the second time in his three-year career that he’s been unable to complete the season. He still gets a Super Bowl ring.
107Justin TuckerKBaltimoreTucker made 91.9 percent of his field goal attempts, connecting on 34-of-37 this season. He made every field goal he tried under 40 yards and was 16-of-19 from beyond that range, with a long of 57.
11RD'Onta ForemanRBHoustonThe rookie also ruptured his Achilles' in Week 11. Foreman rushed 78 times for 327 yards and two touchdowns. Before his injury he was showing flashes of brilliance.
129Kenny VaccaroSSNew OrleansVaccaro wasn’t able to finish the season as he dealt with a groin injury that wouldn’t go away. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 21. Vaccaro had 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a career-high 3 interceptions.
136Keenan RobinsonOLBN.Y. GiantsRobinson injured his quad on Nov. 5 and ended up on injured reserved. In just six games of action he recorded 32 tackles and 2 passes defended.
145Brian RobisonDEMinnesotaRobison's Vikings allowed the fewest points in the league this year. He took a smaller role but still managed 20 tackles and 4 sacks. Robison's had at least 4 sacks in 7 straight seasons.
1516Phil DawsonKArizonaIn the season finale, Dawson made three field goals beyond 40 yards and added one from 53. Doesn’t sound like someone quite ready to retire, but we’ll have to see what the 42-year-old decides.
1613Sam AchoOLBChicagoAcho finished the season with 45 tackles, his most since 2012, 3 sacks and a forced fumble. He was 3 tackles shy of a career high.
1728Lamarr HoustonOLBHouston/ChicagoHe finished the year with 17 tackles and 5 sacks in 10 games. Houston also scored on a 34-yard fumble return while with the Texans earlier in the season. It was his first touchdown in his eight-year career.
1823Jamaal CharlesRBDenverCharles rushed 69 times for 296 yards and one touchdown in 2017. He added 23 receptions for 129 yards as he played in 14 contests, a marked increase over his previous two seasons.
1917Hassan RidgewayDTIndianapolisRidgeway made his biggest contribution in the season finale when he made 3 tackles, a season-high, and recorded his third sack of the year. He totaled 14 tackles on the year and his 3 sacks were a career best.
2024Malcolm BrownRBL.A. RamsBrown had his best season so far, rushing 63 times for 246 yards and a touchdown in his third year backing up Todd Gurley.
2115Fozzy WhittakerRBCarolinaWhittaker ended the year with 18 yards rushing and 5 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. His role was severely decreased with the addition of Christian McCaffrey to the backfield.
2227Colt McCoyQBWashingtonWith Alex Smith joining the Redskins, it looks like the Longhorn legend will continue to serve as a back up. He hasn't attempted a pass in two seasons.
23RNick RoseKWashington/L.A. ChargersHe was 11-of-14 on field goal attempts this season with two teams. Rose had a long of 55 yards with the Redskins earlier this season.
2422Geoff SwaimTEDallasPlayed in a career-high 15 games but caught just two passes for 25 yards.
2529Trey HopkinsOGCincinnatiThe Bengals had a rough year. Hopkins played in 712 offensive snaps and started in 12 games.
261st yearMarcus JohnsonWRPhiladelphiaJohnson has a Super Bowl ring after the Eagles defeated the Patriots. He played in 10 games and caught 5 passes for 45 yards in his first year of action.
2719Roy MillerDTKansas CityPlayed in seven games with his new team before his arrest and subsequent release derailed his season.
28RTyrone SwoopesTESeattleThe former quarterback played in two snaps in Week 17.
2932Duke ThomasCBDallasHe suffered a lower leg injury during the preseason and was moved to IR in Sept.
3030Mykkele ThompsonCBN.Y. GiantsThe Giants finally waived the third-year player after two injury plagued seasons. He switched to cornerback before being waived. He's been signed to a reserve/future deal by the Saints.
3120Aaron WilliamsSSBuffaloAfter missing all of 2017, Williams made it official on Jan. 31 that his career was over. Numerous head and neck injuries cut the safety's career short.
3225Donald HawkinsOTKansas CityHe signed with the Chiefs in June, but was placed on IR in Sept. The Chiefs released him on Nov. 14.

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