The week of practices before the Senior Bowl, where some of the best NFL prospects in the country go head-to-head in a series of one-on-one drills, are as important as the game itself for NFL teams looking for hidden gems in the lead up to the April draft.
So far, two former Texas standouts, LB Emmanuel Acho and DT Kheeston Randall, have been impressive:
Emmanuel Acho is just a smart, instinctive football player. He's not the greatest athlete but does a great job diagnosing the action and putting himself in a position to make plays on the ball. Acho has looked good against the run and pass.
Kheeston Randall (DT-DE, Texas) showed exceptional agility for a 300-plus pounder during individual drills, and he was a handful to block because of his ability to work inside-out against blockers. Randall looked less comfortable pass rushing from the outside, but his size-athleticism combination may make him an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end for a Steelers-type scheme.
Both Randall and Acho have a chance to be picked in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft after strong senior seasons, helping lead the Longhorns back to a bowl berth after a 5-7 collapse in 2010.
Acho was a third-team All-American, racking up 115 tackles, including 14.5 for loss from the OLB position, while Randall was a dominant force on the interior of the defensive line.