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Texas’ Samuel Cosmi, Joseph Ossai see their dreams come true during Friday’s NFL draft

Cosmi taken in second round by Washington, Ossai goes in third round to Cincinnati; More Horns hope to get called Saturday

Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi (52) became the first Longhorns offensive lineman drafted since Connor Williams went in the second round in 2018.

When the call comes, that moment is powerful, no matter if you’re picked in the first round or seventh.

Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi had the phone pressed to his ear and could barely speak Friday night as his NFL dream came true.

“Are you serious?” Cosmi said while holding his cell phone and trying to listen to Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera. “I’m gonna be a … I’m gonna be … I’m going to Washington, you guys!”

The Longhorns’ bruising left tackle was taken 51st overall in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday. Cosmi was the first UT player taken and highest offensive lineman drafted since Connor Williams went 50th overall in the second round in 2018.

“I couldn’t even think and everything kind of zoned out after that,” Cosmi said. “It’s just a feeling that I can’t believe I got to experience, so it’s just very, very special.”

Moments later, edge rusher Joseph Ossai went 69th overall in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals. Ossai, who wore Malik Jefferson’s UT jersey No. 46, was drafted by the same team that picked Jefferson in 2018. Ossai hoped to go higher, like all draftees, but he was ecstatic just to get that call.

“I feel great,” Ossai said on a post-draft video call with Cincinnati reporters. “I feel great because I’m a huge believer that God knows what he’s doing. He’s seen into the future and you can’t, and He knows the best possible situation for you. And to Him, this was the best possible situation for me. 

Sept. 27, 2019: ‘God has a purpose in me’: Texas’ Joseph Ossai is trusting his path from Nigeria to Austin

“It might not be the flashiest,” Ossai added. “You see me, I’m sitting here dressed in diamonds and a suit. I have Louis Vuitton shoes right now, so I was prepared for the flashiest, but God had other plays.”

Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters they also didn’t expect Ossai to be available in the third round “but everybody’s board is different.”

“He’s relentless,” Taylor said. “Really brings a nice physical presence, has a great burst off the edge and really like what he brings to the table. Really like the human being, really like the football player. Excited to have him.”

Taylor said it’s possible Ossai needs to add more weight to his 253-pound frame. “We feel really good about how we’ll use him right out of the gate,” the Bengals coach said. Ossai had 55 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks after being moved to the “Jack” rush edge position last season under defensive coordinator Chris Ash.

Cincinnati reporters also reminded Ossai that he actually sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow during the Texas-LSU game in 2019. “Man, I can’t say anything to him because he has all the bragging rights because he won that game,” Ossai said.

Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai (46) sacks LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

Asked if he still can’t believe Burrow converted that critical third-and-17 pass, Ossai said, “That’s a touchy subject.”

Cosmi and Ossai became the first Tom Herman-era signees to get drafted. The former Texas coach who's now working with the Chicago Bears is likely to have several more former players hear their names called during Saturday’s final rounds. Caden Sterns is the sixth-best safety prospect still available and quarterback Sam Ehlinger is the fourth-best quarterback still out there, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s draft board.

Friday’s second and third rounds also brought an end to the Big 12’s draft drought. No Big 12 players were taken in the first round for the first time. Oklahoma State lineman Tevin Jenkins was the first conference player taken (39th overall by Chicago) and then TCU safety Trevon Moehrig went 43rd to Las Vegas.

Cosmi was the 12th offensive lineman drafted. He started 34 out of 35 games at Texas and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2020. Pro Football Focus gave him the third-highest grade for pass blockers among draft-eligible tackles. 

He opted out of the Longhorns’ final two games last season after the team was eliminated from Big 12 title contention. 

“I just tell them, I’m going to be one of the hardest working guys coming on this field,” Cosmi told Fox 26 at his draft party in Humble. “I’m going to prove my spot and prove the team, and hopefully bring a Super Bowl to the city of Washington.”

Other Texas exes posted short videos welcoming Cosmi to the NFL.

“Hey Sammy, congratulations on such a huge moment in your life,” Williams said in a short Twitter video. “I hope you get to really enjoy it with friends and family today. Take it all in is the best advice I can give. It's such a special moment that you'll never forget. And I can't wait to see you on Sundays. Hook ’em.”

Said Calvin Anderson: “Been a pleasure watching you develop since your first year starting in 2018 but this is just the beginning. So take advantage of the opportunity. Make your family proud, and welcome to the Texas NFL brotherhood.”

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.