AUSTIN (KXAN) — Predicting any kind of draft is essentially an act of futility. It might be obvious where the top players could be selected, but anything after that, it’s mostly conjecture and nobody knows until it happens. ESPN’s Matt Miller decided he’d give it a shot, anyway.
Miller, one of the network’s NFL draft analysts, put together not just a mock draft for the first round, but all seven rounds. And like most folks who consider themselves experts in guessing what front offices will do, he sees Bijan Robinson going off the board in the first round.
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He sees the Los Angeles Chargers taking the Longhorn great at No. 21. He quoted an NFL general manager saying Robinson could go as high as No. 10 to the Philadelphia Eagles. In a recent interview on the ESPN program NFL Live, Robinson said he’d like to play with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
NFL executives rave about Robinson’s combination of speed, power and versatility, and one executive with more than 20 years of experience went as far as calling him “the best running back prospect I can remember evaluating.”
Reactions like that have been fueling Robinson’s talent pushing him up draft boards rather than the positional value of a running back. Typically, teams shy away from drafting running backs in the first round because they don’t want to sink that kind of money into a position that’s known for long-term wear-and-tear and a relatively short NFL career.
Lest we forget, there are four other Longhorns waiting for their names to be called in the draft, particularly another running back. At No. 90 overall in the third round, Miller projects Roschon Johnson to play at Jerry World for the Dallas Cowboys. Miller said Johnson, “would be a fine complement to the speedy Tony Pollard.” The Cowboys could use another big running back after they released Ezekiel Elliott.
The mock draft has defensive tackle Keondre Coburn going in the fourth round to the New York Giants at No. 128 overall and Mojo Ojomo in the fifth round to the New York Jets at No. 143 overall.
Miller slotted linebacker DeMarvion Overshown at No. 161 overall to the Indianapolis Colts to round out the Longhorns in the draft. Deuce Vaughn, the Kansas State running back from Round Rock who graduated from Cedar Ridge, is projected to be drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with the last pick of the fifth round (No. 177 overall).
Miller also predicts Michigan State defensive tackle Jacob Slade as “Mr. Irrelevent,” the moniker given to the player selected with the last pick in the draft. Houston has the last pick in the draft, ending the 259-selection process.
The 2023 NFL Draft begins with the first round at 7 p.m. CT Thursday from Kansas City. The second and third rounds will be done Friday and the remaining rounds on Saturday.