Texas' Emmanuel Acho hopes to follow brother's path to NFL

AUSTIN -- Sam Acho long has been there for his younger brother. But Sam's rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals might have benefited Emmanuel more than anything Sam has ever done for his sibling.

Despite being only a fourth-round draft pick, Sam made 10 starts, had 40 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles last season for the Cardinals.

"That was a lot of my motivation last year," Sam said Tuesday. "Obviously, I wanted to play to the best of my ability and be my best on the field and give more to God, because that's why I feel he created me. But in addition to that, I realized that if I played better, that helped out Emmanuel."

Emmanuel's time is coming.

The outside linebacker did position drills for scouts at Texas' Pro Day on Tuesday despite tearing his right quadriceps last month at the NFL Scouting Combine. At the combine, Acho had a 35 1/2-inch vertical with 24 reps in the 225-pounds bench press and a 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump. He ran a 4.73 in the 40-yard dash before injuring himself on his second 40 attempt in Indianapolis.

"I tried to put it in fifth gear and found out I only had four," Emmanuel Acho said.

"... I was very thankful that God gave me the chance to come out here and be injury-free [at the Pro Day], or be pain-free at least, and I was able to show that I'm still fluid, even though I wasn't 100 percent. I believe I looked close to it."

For the first time since 2000, the Longhorns might not have a player selected in the first three rounds. Linebacker Keenan Robinson, who ran a 4.70 in the 40 and had a 36 1/2-inch vertical Tuesday, and defensive tackle Kheeston Randall, who stood on his combine numbers, are the team's top prospects. Both have a chance to be third-round picks.

Acho is projected as a fifth-rounder.

Acho and Robinson both said they will attend the Cowboys' Dallas Day workout next month for local prospects. Robinson played at Plano East. Acho is a Dallas St. Mark's graduate.

The Brothers Acho, as Emmanuel refers to himself and his brother, always have played on the same team. They admit it will be "weird" if the Cardinals don't select Emmanuel in the April 26-28 draft.

Whoever drafts Emmanuel, though, can get a preview of what they're getting by watching what Sam did last season.

"The fact that Sam has been successful when he and I didn't feel like he got drafted as high as he should have, but he still made it and he still played very well for the Cardinals bodes well for Emmanuel," Texas coach Mack Brown said.

Emmanuel led UT with 131 tackles and 18 quarterback hurries last season. Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said Acho has "good size, good workout numbers and is a smart guy."

That, combined with Sam's rookie season, could improve Emmanuel's draft stock.

"I told Emmanuel, 'You ought to thank your brother, because your brother's play last year equated to you making some money,'" said draft analyst Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys player personnel director. "So consequently, I told him he should get a piece of his signing bonus when it takes place."

Emmanuel said he would agree to give up part of his signing bonus to his brother, if Sam will give Emmanuel his car. Sam, who drives a Range Rover Sport, laughed.

Emmanuel will just have to go along for the ride.

Charean Williams


Twitter: @NFLCharean

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