NFL talent evaluators may want to take a long look at Texas safety DeShon Elliott this draft season.
For reasons beyond his own obvious skills.
Elliott was an All-Big 12 pick, a consensus All-America and one of the three Thorpe Award finalists as the nation’s best defensive back after intercepting six passes last season and returning two of them for touchdowns. He elected to skip his senior season to enter his name in the 2018 NFL draft.
His history is impressive enough. But the school history dials up the urgency to scout and evaluate him.
No one produces safeties like the University of Texas. Elliott is the seventh All-America safety from the school, following in the footsteps of Michael Griffin, Lance Gunn, Michael Huff, Stanley Richard, Earl Thomas and Kenny Vaccaro. And the Longhorns have already produced five first-round picks at the position – Griffin, Huff, Richard, Thomas and Vaccaro.
Huff was the seventh overall pick of his draft, Richard the ninth of his, Thomas the 14th, Vaccaro the 15th and Griffin the 19th of their respective drafts. The quality safeties from Texas don’t last long on draft day. And add Bill Bradley, a third-round pick, to that list of quality safeties. Thomas has gone to six Pro Bowls with the Seahawks, Bradley three and Griffin two.
For that matter, few schools have the draft history of the Longhorns. Texas has had 44 first-round draft picks and half of those were selected in the Top 10. The Longhorns have had three players selected first overall in drafts – linebacker Tommy Nobis in 1966, fullback Earl Campbell in 1977 and defensive end Kenneth Sims in 1982. Texas has also had two players selected second overall and three more third overall.
The Longhorns only have two players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, quarterback Bobby Layne and fullback Earl Campbell. But Texas has had three NFL rushing champions – Campbell, Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes.
Here is the University of Texas all-time NFL team:
QB Bobby Layne, Hall of Fame
HB Ricky Williams, NFL rushing champion
FB Earl Campbell, Hall of Fame
WR Roy Williams, 1 Pro Bowl, 393 career catches
WR Lam Jones, 138 career catches, 13 TDs
TE Pete Lammons, Super Bowl champion with the Jets
OT Jerry Sisemore, Eagles Hall of Fame
OT Leonard Davis, 3 Pro Bowls
G Harley Sewell, 4 Pro Bowls
G Dan Neil, 2-time Super Bowl champion with Broncos
C Mike Baab, 9-year starter with Browns, Patriots
DE Tony Brackens, 55 career sacks
DE Brian Orapko, 64 ½ career sacks
DT Casey Hampton, 2-time Super Bowl champion with Steelers
DT Doug English, 4 Pro Bowls
OLB Derrick Johnson, 4 Pro Bowls
MLB Tommy Nobis, 1960s NFL all-decade team
OLB Britt Hager, 9-year veteran
CB Bobby Dillon, 4 Pro Bowls, 52 INTs in eight seasons
CB Jerry Gray, 4 Pro Bowls
S Earl Thomas, 6 Pro Bowls
S Michael Griffin, 2 Pro Bowls
K Justin Tucker, NFL record 90.2 percent accuracy on FGs
P Bill Bradley, 4-year punter for Eagles, 3-time Pro Bowl safety
KR Eric Metcalf, TDs on 10 career punts, 2 career kickoffs