Texas A&M is poised to be a star attraction when the first round of the NFL Draft airs on ESPN April 25.
As Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News noted, ESPN analyst and distant Rick Perry cousin Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first mock draft (link is paywalled), with A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel going #1 (to the Kansas City Chiefs) and defensive end Damontre Moore right behind him at #2 (to the Jacksonville Jaguars).
Joeckel, an Arlington native, won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman this past season, while Moore, who hails from Rowlett, is a top pass rusher and “sack artist.” Both players are leaving College Station one year early, clearly with good reason.
Zwerneman points out that the Aggies have never had a #1 NFL draft pick: John Kimbrough, John David Crow, Quentin Coryatt, and Von Miller were all #2s.
And a double-dip would be truly historic: Penn State did it in 2000 with Lavar Arrington and Courtney Brown; before that you have to go back to 1967, when Beaumont’s Bubba Smith was followed by his Michigan State teammate Clint Jones.
Of course, projections aren’t history. Former Cowboys front office legend Gil Brandt also has Joeckel at the top of his NFL.com mock draft, but does not see Moore going until the Cleveland Browns take him at #6.
There’s also a difference between rankings and projections. Brandt’s fellow NFL.com writer Bucky Brooks lists Joeckel and Moore as the top two talents in the draft, but doesn’t have them getting picked that way, which is of course dependent on team needs.
Brooks’s mock draft has Kansas City taking a quarterback (West Virginia’s Geno Smith) at #1, with Moore going second to the Jaguars, and Joeckel as the fourth pick, which would put him in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey.
Aggie fans who also love the Cowboys may survive that (just as they did William Thomas), but how about this? The Eagles’ hiring today of former University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, whose offensive approach is similar to Kevin Sumlin’s, had Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com floating a more-than-half-serious prediction:
“With their first pick of the 2014, 2015 or 2016 NFL Draft (whichever one it is) the Philadelphia Eagles select @jmanziel2“
— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) January 16, 2013