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Texas A&M Football

NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein projects which round each Ag will go

April 23, 2024
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Houston radio personality Lance Zierlein also doubles as an NFL Draft analyst for NFL.com, and he'll definitely have his eyes on MoTown this weekend. On Tuesday, Zierlein joined TexAgs Radio to preview the 2024 NFL Draft before it begins on Thursday night in Detroit.



Key notes from Lance Zierlein interview

  • Two years ago, I didn’t know the Houston Texans were taking Kenyon Green, but that’s what I had in my mock draft.
     
  • I think Edgerrin Cooper ends up going in the second round, but I think he’ll be the first linebacker taken. It’ll be him or Junior Colson. Speed kills, and a lot of teams love that Cooper can go sideline-to-sideline. He can blitz too. Colson is more stable, but the higher upside is with Cooper. With speed, visibility and ability to play on third down, I think Cooper will go in the first 44 picks.
     
  • Layden Robinson vs. McKinnley Jackson being the second Texas A&M product off the board is a tough one. The former, I’ve heard anywhere from the fourth through the sixth rounds, and Jackson is probably a fifth-rounder. I wouldn’t rule out Ainias Smith, though. Quietly, he was a different player before the injury. He has a chance to be the second Aggie off the board, but it depends on how people want to use him.
     
  • I think Demani Richardson is probably going to go undrafted. It’s not a good safety draft. The teams he may have been considered in previous drafts will probably cut it off and take their chances in priority free agency.
     
  • For the Texans, it started with the right head coach, and DeMeco Ryans is wired right. Ryans never gets too high or too low. He gets along with the players in the locker room. He played the game, and he looks like he could still play. Players play hard for him. They got the right quarterback, and C.J. Stroud is blossoming as a leader and the stuff he does other than just throwing the football. From an ownership standpoint, Hannah McNair helping get rid of some of the snakes in the building has been huge. Cal McNair can now sit back and let people do their job. It is not a meddling ownership group. When you get the right people in place, things change. Did I expect change to happen this quickly? Absolutely not.
     
  • The top two quarterbacks in this draft have the ability to step in and have the season Stroud had, but that’s so hard. He had the best rookie season since Dan Marino. I think Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels could do it, but they need help around them. Stroud had help right off the bat. No matter where Daniels goes, he’s going to need that, and the Bears have started to build that around Williams. Chicago also has the No. 9 pick, so it’ll be interesting to see how they use that.
     
  • I have four quarterbacks going in the top ten. In the worst case, Minnesota will trade to nine or something to get the fourth quarterback available, which I believe is Drake Maye. The quarterback that could slip is J.J. McCarthy. The order of quarterbacks is still up in the air, depending on what Washington does at No. 2.
     
  • With McCarthy, I see some flashes. He runs the team effectively. He didn’t have to deal with much adversity at Michigan. He won at two different high schools, and he was a winner in two years at Michigan before winning a national championship this year. Watching him play, there are not many individual games or halves where he has to put it on his shoulders. It’s hard to project him being able to do that at the next level because we haven’t seen it yet.
     
  • The Dallas Cowboys are tough to project, and they could use offensive line help. You have to keep your head on a swivel with them. They have re-focused that organization over the years to make smart plays instead of flashy plays in the draft. With the wide receiver, I wonder if Dallas could go really aggressive at that position. I think they look at running back, but not in the first round. I think Dallas lets the draft come to them. They need an offensive tackle. Receivers will be there. A pass rusher could be there. With offensive tackles and an offensive center, I think that’s who the Cowboys will look at.
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NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein projects which round each Ag will go

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