And that got us thinking about the 2016 draft.
The state of Texas led the way for the most former high school players drafted by the NFL in the spring with 32 in all.
Of that number four were drafted in the first round.
So we began wondering which players had the best chance to make the 53-player cuts and find their way on the roster in the next few weeks.
We also took into consideration a rule of thumb by many NFL front offices. They believe teams should get at least three immediate starters in the first three rounds of the draft. Texas had 10 players from the state picked in the first three rounds.
So here are our favorites.
Hungriest for success — receiver Corey Coleman, chosen by the Browns in the first round. Coleman’s dad is currently in prison for cocaine distribution. The receiver, who played at Richardson Pearce High and Baylor, spent a lot of time with his godfather, former NFL defensive back Ray Crockett. Coleman was a star at Baylor, catching 173 passes for 3,009 yards and 33 touchdowns. The knock against many Baylor offensive products, however, is they’re not league ready when they get to the NFL. Insiders blame it on the Bears’ offensive system, which is mostly reading the defense and making a decision at the line of scrimmage. Still, no player from the state of Texas has more motivation than Coleman. Therefore, it’s hard to think he won’t make the cuts.
Best spot to land — tight end David Morgan, a sixth round pick of the Vikings. Already chosen by several Vikings reporters as a a player who will stick, Morgan from UTSA, is in the ideal spot because of what Minnesota asks their tight ends to do. The Vikings use a lot of double tight end sets to open holes for running back Adrian Peterson (another Texan). And blocking happens to be Morgan’s strength. In addition, he can catch passes in traffic and uses his frame well by refusing to go down, so there’s the added bonus for the Vikings.
A player from a school to uphold a legacy — defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, a fourth-round pick by the Colts. A Texas Longhorn, Ridgeway wreaked havoc on offensive linemen, often blitzing and sacking quarterbacks. During the loss to Oklahoma State, Ridgeway even picked up a fumble and ran it back for touchdown wearing only one shoe. He’ll try to fill the spot vacated by another Texas legend, Cory Redding, who left the Colts after the 2014 season.
Player who beats the longest odds — linebacker Elandon Roberts, a sixth-round pick by the Patriots. Roberts, a University of Houston product, stands 6-0 and weighs 235 pounds. But he has a trait that coach Bill Belichick looks for in defensive players — a nose for the football. Roberts led the Football Bowl Subdivision last season with 88 solo tackles. In addition, Houston coach Tom Herman said the linebacker was one of the best leaders he’s ever been around, which is another trait Belichick looks for in his linebackers.
Obviously we hope every Texan makes an NFL, and they’re all capable of doing so. After all, there’s a reason why universities around the country recruit these high school players. They’re known for having the ability to study film correctly, spend time in weight rooms without being asked, and have received some great coaching before they step foot on a college campus.
We just believe these players have the best chance to carry on the tradition of Texas high school football.
Love it? Hate it? Want to tell me to take a hike? Let me know!