Four Longhorns on early NFL draft lists


Mel Kiper Jr. has released his newest Big BoardInsider for the 2013 NFL draft. No Longhorns made that list. Nor did any Big 12 players.

Texas defensive ends Alex Okafor did make Kiper’s list of prospects who just missed out on a spot on his board. Here’s what Mel had to say:

Alex Okafor, DE, Texas(: A really talented player, Okafor started slow and finished slow in 2011. He can get to the quarterback, but needs to continue to improve in a few areas.

Kiper does have four defensive ends ranked on his Big Board. All of them -- the LSU tandem of Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, Michigan State’s William Gholston and Auburn’s Corey Lemonier -- are juniors.

Another underclassman who has Kiper’s eye: Jackson Jeffcoat. The Texas junior also made his “just missed” list and is ranked No. 5 among junior defense end prospects. He’s on the radar for first-round consideration.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas(: A star coming out of high school, this could be the year Jeffcoat really comes into his own. He played pretty stiff in his first season-plus in Austin, but he had 7.5 sacks in his last seven games last year. Watch out.

Kiper has Okafor as his No. 3 senior defensive end prospect and put Carrington Byndom in the fourth spot on his junior corner rankings.

One curious omission is senior Kenny Vaccaro. He didn’t make the cut for Kiper’s top five safeties, although that could change. The guy holding down the No. 5 spot, Miami’s Ray-Ray Armstrong, was kicked off the team this summer and is now at Faulkner University, an NAIA school.

Vaccaro is the top Texas prospect on ESPN Scouts Inc.’s top 150 rankings for the 2013 NFL draft. He’s the No. 1 safety on the board and ranked 19th overall.

Okafor is 49th overall and the No. 6 defense end on that list, and Jeffcoat is No. 8 among ends and ranked 56th.