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Texas A&M Football

Expect an increase in A&M products to be taken in future NFL Drafts

May 5, 2023

Just a week ago, there was little disappointment and some speculation regarding Texas A&M and the NFL Draft.

The first round passed without an Aggie selected. That was mildly disappointing because a few early mock drafts had projected defensive back Antonio Johnson as a first-day selection.

Of course, later in the weekend, running back Devon Achane was taken in the third round, Johnson in the fifth round and cornerback Jaylon Jones in the seventh round.

All three had entered the draft early. All were selected. That was a successful draft, especially considering A&M had no other prospects in the draft.

Defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson, offensive lineman Layden Robinson, receiver Ainias Smith and safety Demani Richardson opted to return to A&M for another season.

Consequently, A&M returns 10 offensive and nine defensive starters. That’s better than having a dozen players taken in the draft.

Yet, chronic critics use the draft as a reason to condemn A&M.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Taken 15th overall by Houston in 2022, Kenyon Green appeared in 15 games and made 14 starts as a rookie this fall.

Their main point is that no A&M players were taken in the first round. Also, that guard Kenyon Green is the only player recruited to A&M by Jimbo Fisher to be a first-round selection.

Make no mistake, A&M needs to produce more highly-skilled players who are first-round selections. In five drafts (2019-23), Alabama has had 18 first-round picks, Georgia 12, Ohio State 11 and Clemson nine.

It’s no coincidence those teams have been ultra-successful in reaching the playoffs over the last five years.

But A&M’s number of first-round picks could increase significantly in the next few years as players from the highly regarded 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes become draft eligible.

Projecting first-round selections is a fool’s errand, but in coming years, it would be no stretch to suggest Jackson, receiver Evan Stewart, quarterback Conner Weigman, center Bryce Foster, defensive linemen Walter Nolen, Shemar Turner, Shemar Stewart and perhaps a few others have the potential to be first-round picks.

The jabs will persist even though A&M is hardly alone with just one first-round choice.

Actually, in the last five drafts, several well-known programs have had only one player taken in the first round.

Offensive tackle Darnell Wright, who was selected last week, is Tennessee’s only first-round choice over the last four years.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In an early 2024 mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has USC’s Caleb Williams going first overall. McShay did not project an Aggie to be a first-rounder.

Other programs with a single first-round pick in that span include BYU (Zach Wilson in 2022), Arkansas (Treylon Burks in 2022), Cincinnati (Sauce Gardner in 2022), Kansas State (Felix Anudike-Uzomah) and Texas (Bijan Robinson in 2023).

Even Notre Dame, which has appeared in the College Football Playoff twice in the last five years, has only produced two first-round picks in that span — Jerry Tillery in 2019 and Kyle Hamilton in 2022.

Actually, A&M players have done well in the draft. In the last five drafts, A&M has had 20 players selected. Of those, seven were taken in the first three rounds.

That’s more drafted players than Wisconsin, Washington, UCLA, USC, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Baylor, Arkansas and Texas, among others.

Texas A&M will have many more players drafted in future drafts.

Don’t be surprised to see more taken on the first day.

Discussion from...

Expect an increase in A&M products to be taken in future NFL Drafts

3,394 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by Class of 65
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I'll believe it when I see it
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Just win.

That's all just win.
I am always wrong
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Lol. Right.
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Quit leaving early, how about that.
Class of 65
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What is an A & M product?
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