Before the season began, the Orangebloods staff went through a Longhorn player draft, where we selected the players we felt would have the biggest impact in Texas' 2011 season. Wow, have things changed.
With the regular season now in the books and the Horns preparing for a Holiday Bowl match-up with Cal, we decided to re-do our draft and see how it compared to our pre-season picks. We'll roll out one round per day over the next six days ... get ready for some pretty big discrepancies in pre-season expectations and post-season realities.
Pre-season first-round selections
1.1 Keenan Robinson
1.2 Kheeston Randall (Brown)
1.3 Jackson Jeffcoat (McComas)
1.4 Mike Davis (Suchomel)
1.5 Alex Okafor (howell)
1.6 Trey Hopkins (Ketchum)
1.1 Fozzy Whittaker - Running back (Originally selected round 2, pick 6 by Sean Adams)
Drafted by: Jason Howell
Reason for selection: Some knock him because of the injuries, but Fozzy's production speaks for itself. He was the Longhorns' biggest playmaking threat on offense and special teams and was the senior leader for a young Longhorn squad.
Other players considered: I thought hard about Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Acho and Carrington Byndom before completely deciding on Whittaker
Why this is a good value: He truly emerged as a big-time scoring threat as a senior for the Longhorns on offense and special teams.
Preseason first-round selection in this slot (1.1), selected by Sean Adams: LB Keenan Robinson
Why that pick was a hit or miss (per Adams): I think it was a hit because he was a really good player for the Longhorns. Was he worthy of the No. 1 pick overall is the real question?
1.2 alex okafor - Defensive end (originally selected round 1, pick 5 by Jason Howell)
Drafted by: Geoff Ketchum
Reason for selection: I don't know that he played as well over 12 games as Carrington Byndom for the defense, but in the final half of the season there was not a more impactful front seven player in the entire conference. In addition to playing the run well, he emerged as a feared rusher off the edge in the final six or seven games of the season.
? Other players considered: With the second pick in my possession, I really considered only two players: Okafor and sophomore cornerback Carrington Byndom.
? Why this is a good value: There's not currently a better defensive lineman in the Big 12 than the Longhorn junior and great defensive linemen are what win championships these days.
Preseason first-round selection in this slot (1.2), selected by Chip Brown: DT Kheeston Randall
Why that pick was a hit or miss (per Brown): Randall proved to be an essential ingredient to UT's stopping the run and holding the point of attack. Hit.
1.3 emmanuel acho - linebacker (Originally selected round 2, pick 2 by Jason Howell)
Drafted by: Chip Brown
Reason for selection: He was the team's defensive MVP because of his rock solid play and leadership.
Other players considered: No other player was considered. Acho could have gone first in this draft.
Why this is a good value: As the players got more and more comfortable in Manny Diaz's scheme, Acho rose to the top. He was the QB of the defense.
Pre-season first-round selection in this slot (1.3), selected by Dustin McComas: Jackson Jeffcoat
Why that pick was a hit or a miss (per McComas): I actually took Jeffcoat third overall in the pre-season draft, so it looks like my pick was a dead on hit.
1.4 Jackson jeffcoat - defensive end (originally selected round 1, pick 3 by Dustin McComas)
Drafted by: Dustin McComas
Reason for selection: We know that the defense was the most talented and productive unit for Texas this season, so it should not be a surprise to see so many defensive guys flying off the board early. I went with Jeffcoat because he was incredibly productive the second half of the season and was a difference maker for Manny Diaz.
Other players considered: This decision was an easy one once Acho and Okafor went ahead of me. The only other player I considered here was Carrington Byndom.
Why this is a good value: Jeffcoat was one of the best players and a playmaker for the Big 12's best defense. There is no way he would have been there again for me in the second round.
Pre-season first-round selection in this slot(1.4), selected by Jason Suchomel: Mike Davis
Why that pick was a hit or a miss (per Suchomel): Funny how things change. I thought this pick was a steal when I made it but Davis didn't live up to expectations and certainly didn't warrant a first-round selection.
1.5 keenan robinson - linebacker (Originally selected round 1, pick 1 by Sean Adams)
Drafted by: Sean Adams
Reason for selection: He has been one of the staples on the Texas team all season. Even playing MLB, a position that was not optimal for him, he played really well and was one of the more consistent players on the Texas defense.
Other players considered: The only other player I considered was Carrington Byndom.
Why this is a good value: It is a good value because Keenan Robinson played out of position all year and played well enough to play himself into a mid-round draft pick.
Pre-season first-round selection in this slot (1.5), selected by Jason Howell: Alex Okafor, DE
Why that pick was a hit or a miss (per Howell): Early in the season it looked like I may have reached but he turned it on and became the monster off the edge the last half of the season.
Reason for selection: I thought this was an absolute steal and a case could be made for Byndom to have gone No. 1 overall. He was the team's best DB, he was arguably the most consistent plyaer on the defense over the course of the entire year and his pick-6 against A&M was as big as any single play all season.
? Other players considered: None, really. This was a no-brainer for me and I was shocked Byndom was still on the board.
? Why this is a good value: The young CBs were a concern coming into the year but Byndom was a big part of solidifying the position. He played very well in drawing some ridiculously tough assignments and his solid play against Texas A&M was a big difference in UT going 7-5 as opposed to 6-6.
? Pre-season first-round selection in this slot (1.6), selected by Geoff Ketchum: Trey Hopkins
Why that pick was a hit or a miss (per Ketchum): It was a total miss, as Hopkins never emerged as a plus-player at right tackle this season. The early comparisons to Justin Blalock have not materialized at this point and a move to guard might be best for him in 2012.