College Confidential

Best available NFL draftees include lots of Tarrant, Texas connections

A'Shawn Robinson of Alabama and Fort Worth Arlington Heights on the red carpet Thursday at the NFL Draft.
A'Shawn Robinson of Alabama and Fort Worth Arlington Heights on the red carpet Thursday at the NFL Draft. TNS

As we head into today’s second round of the NFL Draft, we’ve already seen a significant interest in prospects with local connections. Of the 31 first-round picks selected Thursday, five played for Big 12 schools or colleges in Texas. That’s roughly one in every six picks, thus far, with a local hook in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Expect that ratio to continue tonight, with an emphasis on defensive tackles with local connections, when the draft resumes in Chicago. Expect two defensive tackles with local ties, Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth Arlington Heights) and Baylor’s Andrew Billings, to be among the first names announced when the draft resumes.

Both players have first-round ability yet were squeezed into the second round by teams with other needs. Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, a Mansfield High School grad, also projects to hear his name called during the two-round segment tonight. Other best-available talents with connections to Big 12 or Texas-based colleges include Kansas State OG Cody Whitehair, Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard, Baylor CB Xavien Howard and Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah.

Depending on team needs and preferences, it may not be too early to have a breakthrough evening for Texas Tech OT Le’Raven Clark, TCU WR Kolby Listenbee, Oklahoma DE Charles Tapper or West Virginia safety K.J. Dillion. That’s 10 names with local ties and legitimate chances to be taken during tonight’s two-round segment.

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