By Chuck Licata, managing editor
Draft “experts” across the nation are enamored – and projecting – two wide receivers and two defensive tackles wth Texas roots to have their names called in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Draft prognosticators think two Baylor players – DT Andrew Billings (hometown: Waco) and WR Corey Coleman (Richardson) – will fly off the board in Round 1 of the April 28-30 in Chicago. The Bears’ Pair are expected to be joined Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth) and TCU’s Josh Doctson (Mansfield) as those who will visit NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the main stage before the first round of the draft concludes.
While exact draft positions (and the teams who select them) varies, predictions place all four in the middle-to-lower tier of the first round. One consistency in the predictions has Green Bay taking Billings to help their leaky run-stop game. Robinson is expected to be taken by teams needing a boost in run-stop and pass rush while Coleman and Doctson are predicted to go to teams like Cincinnati, Detriot and the Houston Texans. The Bengals lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency while the Lions will be looking for WR help with the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Coleman has actually been projected by one expert as being trade-bait in the first round.
Five more Texas-based collegians are expected to hear their names called in Round 2. They include WR Rashard Higgins (Dallas) of Colorado State, CB William Jackson III (Houston) from Houston, Safety OL Jalen Mills (DeSoto) of LSU and Le-Raven Clark (Rockdale) of Texas Tech. Predictions vary on these players; team “needs” will probably dictate their actual draft position.
A half-dozen more Texas-based young men could find their new NFL team in Round 3. Those include running back Jonathan Williams (Allen) of Arkansas; corner back Xavier Howard (Houston) of Baylor; offensive lineman Spencer Drango (Cedar Park) of Baylor; corner back Zack Sanchez (Forth Worth) out of Oklahoma University; and, wide receiver Keyarris Garrett (Daingerfield) of Tulsa.
The NFL draft is filled with athletes stock rising and falling all the way up to draft day. My pick to watch from Arlington, Texas is WR Kolby Listenbee TCU. Listenbee missed two games early in 2015, but came back to finish the season with 30 catches for 597 yards (19.9 yard avg.). Kolby isn’t a monster wide receiver, but what he has is blistering speed! Listenbee was a four time All-American in the 100 meter dash (10.3) that has what it takes to be a serious deep threat at the next level. He also ran a blazing 4.39sec 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, and he is still not at 100%. World class speed with great route running ability and hands, keep your eye on him to do great things.
A*Shawn Robinson Alabama FWorth DT
Andrew Billings Baylor Waco DT
Corey Coleman Baylor Richardson WR
Josh Doctson TCU Mansfield WR
Rashard Higgins Col State Dallas WR
William Jackson III Houston Houston CB
Jalen Mills LSU DeSoto S
Germain Ifedi A&M Houston OL
Le-Raven Clark T-Tech Rockdale OL
Jonathan Williams Arkansas Allen RB
Xavier Howard Baylor Houston CB
Spencer Drango Baylor CP OL
Zack Sanchez OU FWorth CB
Hassan Ridgeway Texas Mansfield DT
Keyarris Garrett Tulsa Daingerfield WR