On the third and final day of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Texas Longhorns finally got involved.
The Washington Redskins selected former Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson with a fourth-round pick, No. 119 overall, to extend the school’s streak of having at least one player taken in every NFL Draft since being shut out in 1937.
But Robinson, one of three Texas players selected Saturday, had the longest wait of any Longhorn in 12 years to become the first player from his school to hear his name called on draft day. Defensive end Cedric Woodard, a sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens, was the lone Longhorn selected in 2000.
Robinson (6-foot-3, 235 pounds), who finished with 317 career tackles, should be a good fit with his new team, said Texas coach Mack Brown.
“He’s a leader,” Brown said. “He’s big. He’s strong. He’s fast. He can play all over the field and he was also one of our best special teams players.”
Bullock heads home: Texas A&M kicker Randy Bullock, winner of the 2011 Lou Groza Award given to the top kicker in college football, received a double-barreled pleasant surprise Saturday. Not only was the Houston native drafted _ never a given with college kickers, even elite ones _ he was picked by the Houston Texans, the team he has cheered since they joined the league in 2002.
“It feels great. To have the opportunity to play in my hometown, it’s a dream come true,” Bullock said. “When I saw the Houston area code (on his cell phone), my heart stopped.”
Bullock is the first kicker the Texans have drafted in franchise history. He replaces Neil Rackers, who signed a free-agent deal with the Redskins in the off-season.
Waco connection: Baylor center Philip Blake, a fourth-round pick of the Denver Broncos, will re-join former college teammate J.D. Walton in the Broncos’ offensive line. When Walton left Baylor, Blake moved from guard to center to take his place.
“When I made the move to center, he gave me a few tips. I’ll learn from him again,” said Blake, who may be used at both positions by the Broncos. “Playing guard is an option, but I have an option to play center as well (in the NFL). I’m very comfortable at guard and at center.”
Waco connection II: Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway, a sixth-round pick by the New York Jets, projects to be the team’s backup in 2012. He will replace Waco native LaDainian Tomlinson, a former TCU star who retired after spending the last two seasons with the Jets. Ganway will get to continue running behind Baylor guard Robert Griffin, a Euless Trinity graduate who also was a Jets’ sixth-round selection Saturday.
Gruden challenge: The Big 12 had three quarterbacks selected in the first round, most by any league. The list included Baylor’s Robert Griffin III (Washington), Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill (Miami) and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden (Cleveland), a 28-year-old former minor league baseball player who became the oldest first-round pick in NFL history.
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said he will be watching the group closely to see if they can answer a lingering question in his mind.
“Why haven’t any of the Big 12 quarterbacks really hit the lottery lately in the NFL?,” Gruden said. “Blaine Gabbert, we’re waiting to see that; Vince Young hasn’t really sustained himself; Sam Bradford has got to prove it going into (2012); Colt McCoy. There’s a lot of Big 12 quarterbacks, I think, that have to really step on the gas this year.”
Broyles better: Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles, the NCAA career receptions leader selected in the second round by the Detroit Lions, said his rehabilitation from a torn ACL in November could have him back on the field soon but offered no specific timetable.
“I’m back to doing everything normal,” Broyles said. “All the weight room stuff, all the running stuff. I’m getting my flexibility back as well. I’m on pace. I look and feel better than ever right now, to be honest.”
_ Jimmy Burch