From the MVP of the Texas Bowl to a veteran leader on the offensive line, some former Longhorns are beginning their journey to the NFL this preseason.
Here’s a look at three alumni who have made an immediate presence on the field so far this year:
Williams was drafted midway through the second round with the 50th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have spent multiple draft picks on talented offensive linemen, but found themselves with a hole at left guard after moving La’el Collins to right tackle, and having their backup LG, Ronald Leary, leave in free agency to the Denver Broncos.
The Cowboys may have found their newest offensive line piece in Williams. He struggled with injuries during his junior year at Texas, but was a star during both his freshman and sophomore years. The injuries led to Williams starting less than half his games as a junior. He elected to forgo his senior year and committed to the NFL draft.
The Cowboys hope to name him the starting LG heading into the regular season. The Cowboys finished their preseason on Thursday against the Houston Texans.
Jefferson had a rocky entrance into the NFL. The College Advisory Committee recommended that he return to college, but Jefferson elected to forgo his eligibility in order to enter the NFL draft. Projections had him going in the second round, but Jefferson fell to the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round.
Jefferson has had nine total solo tackles in his four preseason games. While his numbers haven’t been stellar thus far, perhaps they will improve as Jefferson grows more accustomed to the NFL pace.
Jefferson is currently the third-string linebacker, but he should find some playing time behind Vontaze Burfict. The Bengals played their final preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.
Dickson, who was selected in the fifth round, finds himself with the rare opportunity of starting in his rookie season despite being drafted in a later round. Longtime Seahawks punter Jon Ryan was released on Aug. 20 after 10 seasons with the team, thanks in large part to the impressive play of Dickson over the past three weeks. The Seahawks have no other punters on the team now, so the starting job is Dickson’s to lose.
Dickson has yet to average less than 50 yards per kick in the preseason. He’s punted the ball within the 20 four times, and has a long of 61 yards as of Aug. 29 before the Seahawks’ final preseason game versus the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.