Four downs: Texas NFL evaluations 

February, 20, 2013
2/20/13
1:00
PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Texas and the NFL draft

I was able to talk to ESPN Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr. about Texas' draft eligible players, and he gave his assessment of all three players.

[+] EnlargeKenny Vaccaro
AP Photo/Eric GayKenny Vaccaro is moving up Mel Kiper's Big Board and should be a first-round pick in April's NFL draft.
On safety Kenny Vaccaro, Kiper said, “He can cover and he can hit. He can play run and match up in coverage. He is moving up my board, and he is a mid-first [round] grade.” Vaccaro was No. 18 on Kiper's latest Big Board, which was released on Feb. 13.

Kiper said about Alex Okafor, “He can transition from power to quickness fairly easily and that was helped but playing inside during some of his career at Texas. I look for him to be a late first-round pick, but could go early in the second round depending on trades and needs.”

Marquise Goodwin received a lot of praise from Kiper, saying, “He is arguably the fastest and most explosive receiver in this NFL draft. He has had some drops, but when they used him he was explosive. He is a solid third-rounder right now and could move up.

Second down: Has Texas shed its label of being soft?

One of the oldest rumors in college football and one of the hardest stereotypes for the Texas Longhorns to break has been the label of being soft. It comes and goes and is probably seen as being accurate right now. With the success that Texas has had since Mack Brown has been at Texas, that label has to be somewhat of a myth. Texas is in the top five in producing NFL players, but some tend to think that the trend is heading south.

I asked Kiper about it and he gave me some clarity, “I don’t think it is applicable to these kids (Vaccaro, Okafor and Goodwin), but that sentiment has definitely been out there over the last five to seven years. There’s no doubt about that.”

In the end, Texas will have to earn its way out of the soft label if they have attained it again. I have a sneaky suspicion that the offensive line classes from 2012-14 will shed that label fairly quickly.

Third down: Do off-the-field issues affect the on-the-field play?

Texas RB Foreman Cleared To Play
D'Onta Formean has been cleared academically to join the Longhorns football squad.
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