Top Football Players from Texas Longhorns who made it to NFL | Texas Football

Top Football Players from Texas Longhorns who made it to NFL | Texas Football

Texas football produces a huge pool of talented players each year and has produced some of the greatest players in the NFL. Having had a successful streak in American Football for so many years Texas is expected to contribute to the NFL draft greatly. We cannot disregard the impact the likes of Earl Campbell and Bobby Layne had in the NFL.

A dip in the number of players making it to the NFL from the Texas program?

In 2016 and 2017 surprisingly only a solitary player managed to make it past the NFL draft. This was a huge setback for the program and also a matter of concern. And as a matter of fact, most of the players that have impressed in the NFL coming out of Texas Longhorns were from the years when the program was on a high.

So yes, we witnessed a dip in the selection rate. But, little to worry as 2018 and 2019 came with some good news for the program and several alumni of the program made it to the NFL draft.

There’s a whole new pack of talented players coming each year that have every chance to make it to one of the seven drafts of the NFL.

The top 10 players from Texas Longhorns that made a huge impact in the NFL:


Defensive End

Class: 2004-2006

NFL teams: Minnesota Vikings


It is very rare to witness a player sticking to the same franchise for so long as Brian has stayed with the Vikings. Brian was picked in the fourth overall round of 2007 NFL round and since then he has played with the Vikings in the heart of their defense.

He averages about 5 sacks per season and any team would love to have a player like him.  In the season of 2017 he picked up 7.5 sacks and also forced 3 fumbles onto their opponents, however, his 2018 season was a rather dismal one. He still got some football left in him as surely a player to watch out for.


Position: Linebacker

Class: 2002-2004

NFL teams: Oakland Raiders

Though it would not be wrong to state that Derrick is almost nearing retirement, and not much of football is left in him, he still has a firm presence on the bench of Oakland. His opinion is of great value to the team.

Johnson is approaching 37 and it is hard to cope up with the injuries a player has picked up. The 2018 season was a lukewarm one for him as he had a solitary fumble recovery, forced a fumble, and picked up 48 tackles. Just like Brian, Derrick too remained with the franchise that picked him in the NFL draft.


Position: Kicker


NFL teams: Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 27: Kicker Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens waves to fans after the Ravens win 23-16 over the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium on November 27, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Justin played as both a punter and kicker for the Texas Longhorns and banking on his superb kicking abilities he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. Justin is to date regarded as the best kicker in the history of the NFL and of course in the history of Texas Longhorns. Justin has been named thrice in the NFL All-Pro Second-Team, which is a great achievement.

The 2016 season was a great one for him where he just missed a solitary kick attempt and converted all the extra point attempts despite the changed rules in the NFL.

The Longhorns will remember him for his heroics in the game against Alabama Crimson Tide, where he did put up quite a show. It was the BCS National Championship Game.




NFL teams: Detroit Lions

The 2017 season was a great boost in Diggs NFL career with the Detroit Lions, he notched up three interceptions, a forced fumble to his name, and one sack during the 2017 season playing in the defense of Lions.

Though he hasn’t the most likely built for a football player being 5-foot-9, still he overcompensates in other areas like speed and low center of gravity. Diggs was picked up in the 6th NFL draft of 2015 and since then he is with the Lions. He is still among the underrated Safety in the country.

6- Adrian Phillips

Position: Safety


NFL teams: Los Angeles Chargers

Safety is hard to find in the game, that too with the level of consistency Phillips has shown. He was an undrafted Freeman agent when he got associated with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.

He made his place in the team in the 2015 season. the 2017 season was the turning point in his career where he bagged  47 tackles, two interceptions and contributed in deflecting five passes. He is a perfect example for other underrated players who are trying to make a statement for themselves in the NFL.

5- Malcolm Brown

Position: Defensive End


NFL teams: New England Patriots

You will get a hint of his prowess in the game just by seeing his personality, Malcolm has got a perfect build for a defensive back.

In 2014 he was the All-American lineman of the year, which forced him to take an early exit from Texas Longhorns, and paved a way for the Patriots. The 2017 season was a mixed one for him where he bagged 2.5 sacks and 29 tackles.

Brown always had an issue with injuries and is struggling with it. He was also nominated in the NFL’s All-Rookie Team in 2015.

Brown is expected to enjoy an elongated stay with the Patriots.

4- Brian Orakpo

Position: Linebacker 


NFL teams: Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

Before playing for the Titans, Brian had a stay with the Washington Redskins. His college career was a great one with the Longhorns where he bagged an All-American and also a Big 12 Defensive Player title. He has played 10 seasons in the NFL.

He has appeared 4 times in the Pro Bowl and regarded as the top Linebacker Texas has ever produced in the past 15 years. Last season was an average one for him where he racked 7.5 sacks, in tandem with 30 tackles, and forcing 3 fumbles.

He still got a lot of football left in him and expected to have a soothing stay with the Titans.

3- Kenny Vaccaro

Position: Safety


NFL teams: New Orleans Saints

Coming off of a great college football career with the Longhorns, Kenny was picked up by the Saints in the 2013 NFL Draft, that too in the first round. He was fortunate enough to get picked as most of the defensive backs go underrated.

In 2013 he was given a place in the prestigious NFL’s All-Rookie Team, which was a great boost for his career.

The past few seasons are a bit lukewarm for Kenny, he just started in 12 matches in 2017. He might soon be found in some other team’s uniform. To date, he has 10.5 sacks, and a touchdown to his name for Titans.

2- Marquise Goodwin

Position: Wide Receiver


NFL teams: San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles.

Goodwin was playing for the Buffalo Bills, before joining forces with the San Francisco 49ers. His college career wasn’t the most promising one, as one would expect. He was on a downfall during his last year at the Texas program. As a surprising fact, he never crossed the 500 yards mark for the Longhorns in a season.

In his very first year for the San Francisco 49ers, he picked up 44 yards, ran for over 950 receiving yards, and made 56 catches.

Goodwin has always had a bad relationship with injuries and most of the seasons he finds himself struggling with injuries. Still, he has the ability to take on the opponents with the ball in his hands. He currently plays for Philadelphia Eagles joining them in April 2020.

1- Earl Thomas

Position: Safety


NFL teams: Seattle Seahawks

Earl is probably the best product from the Longhorns program we would come across in the past 2 decades. He had a highly impressive career with the Longhorns and carried on his impressive run with the Seahawks too. Staying with the Seahawks he received the All-American title, and Super Bowl champion (XLVIII).

Earl came into the limelight when he amassed 8 interceptions in a single season for the Longhorns. His stay at the Texas Longhorns was rather a short one as he was picked by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 draft of NFL.

Currently, Earl is playing as a safety for Baltimore Ravens.

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