With the college football season (still!) more than two months away, NFL.com is taking the opportunity to rank the best draft picks from the 30 schools that have produced the most draftees since 2000, including the Texas Longhorns.
The site’s Chase Goodbread is in charge of picking the top NFL ‘Horns through a process that includes honors acquired in their pro career and performance relative to where in the draft they were selected. So, a seventh-round pick could be ranked higher than a first-round pick with a similar career.
There have been 62 Longhorns drafted since the turn of the century, which can make choosing only five difficult.
Nonetheless, the picks are as follows:
5. Casey Hampton, selected No. 19 overall by Pittsburgh in 2001:
Hampton played the entirety of a 12-year career with the club that drafted him, as good a sign as any that the team thought it hit the bullseye with the draft selection. He was selected to five Pro Bowls and notched 164 career starts in Pittsburgh. Hampton recovered from 2004 ACL surgery to make the Pro Bowl in 2005 and help the Steelers to a win in Super Bowl XL.
4. Brian Orakpo, selected No. 13 overall by Washington in 2009:
Orakpo's career in Washington began with a bang, as he recorded 19.5 sacks over his first two seasons and made the Pro Bowl both years. He was a Pro Bowl selection again last year in his second season with the Tennessee Titans, and now has 57.5 career sacks.
3. Derrick Johnson, selected No. 15 overall by Kansas City in 2005:
Johnson has spent his entire 12-year career in Kansas City, logging 154 starts with a reputation for a strong work ethic and positive locker room presence. He's the club's all-time leading tackler and has been selected to four Pro Bowls, including three in a row from 2011-2013. Johnson is recovering from an Achilles injury this offseason.
2. Jamaal Charles, selected No. 73 overall by Kansas City in 2008:
Charles spent the first nine years of his NFL career in Kansas City, during which he posted five 1,000-yard seasons and was selected to four Pro Bowls. He's also been a prolific receiver out of the backfield with 285 career catches, including a career-high 70 in 2013. Charles will be back for Year 10, coming off of knee surgery, on a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos.
1. Earl Thomas, selected No. 14 overall by Seattle in 2010:
Thomas has played a big role in Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary, having been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2011-2015. He's intercepted 23 career passes and forced nine fumbles. He suffered a broken leg last year, but is ahead of schedule in his recovery, according to coach Pete Carroll.
Did they get it right? Let the debate begin.