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Louisville's NFL Draft success bodes well for Charlie Strong era at Texas

Just do this in Austin and the Longhorns should return to national prominence.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most remarkable stories surrounding the 2015 NFL Draft was the number of Louisville Cardinals players selected.

With 10 draft picks, the Cardinals only ranked behind the Florida State Seminoles, which led with 11 overall picks, and the same number of combined selections from the Oregon Ducks and the Ohio State Buckeyes, the two teams that played for the national championship back in January.

After Louisville had three first-round draft picks last season, there have now been 14 players selected from Texas head coach Charlie Strong's former program in the last two years, a remarkable number when considering that the school produced only 25 total draft picks over the 10 years leading up to 2014.

This is all pertinent to the Longhorns because it illustrates Strong's ability to evaluate and develop talent, though Cardinals wide receiver James Sample wasn't recruited by him. Plenty of the players were recruited by Strong, though, as his first full recruiting class at at Louisville was the 2011 group headlined by star quarterback recruit Teddy Bridgewater that wasn't rated highly by the recruiting services, sitting at No. 28 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.

All told, there have been 10 players drafted now from that class, including two players who were two-star prospects by 247Sports -- offensive guard John Miller and outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount. Six other players were consensus three-star prospects in the ratings and only two, Bridgewater and safety Gerod Hollimon, were consensus four-star prospects.

That's an incredible hit rate of 45% for that class, which ended up producing three first-round draft picks and three third-round draft picks.

Strong also had an impact on the Texas draftees this year:

So teams clearly respect Strong's ability to evaluate and develop players, which played out for the four Longhorns defenders drafted, all of whom improved during their one season under the new Texas head coach. Defensive back Mykkele Thompson stands out in particular, as he was a fan whipping boy for most of his career before becoming a physical presence in the Horns secondary capable of playing multiple positions and executing perfect form tackles.

In fact, Louisville was the only program with more defensive players taken than Texas with six selections.

Meanwhile, the only two Texas A&M players drafted were more of Mike Sherman's excellent offensive line recruits.

Before the draft even ended on Saturday, new tight ends/special teams coach Jeff Traylor was already using that draft success as a recruiting tool:

As much as the coaching staff may trumpet that success around the state of Texas and nationally, the hope is that the 2015 Longhorns class, the first full class under Strong, will experience the same type of draft success three or four years from now.

Having players selected in the NFL Draft doesn't always correlate with on-field success, but Louisville did go 12-1 in Strong's final season, losing only a close contest against UCF. If Strong can experience that same type of draft success at Texas, it will likely come as the Longhorns return to national prominence.