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How Did the Longhorns NFL Draft Class Develop at Texas?

Yesterday, we introduced the Talent and Development Adjusted Rating system. Today, let's start applying that system looking at how the Longhorns draft class and ask how those 13 players developed at Texas. You can access all of the Texas Roster Analysis here:

There may be things we can learn from this analysis that can apply to the current team.

As a reminder, imbedded in the adjusted rating system is publicly available recruiting rankings (I use the 247 Sports composite score) and premium data from PFF (Pro Football Focus.) I will not be sharing the actual detailed PFF grade data, but I will discuss some trends from it.

You may want to start with the article that describes the adjusted rating system.

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Now let's continue.

Here is the Longhorns Draft Class.

Texas Draft Class

Let's look at some of the Texas players development.

For those that did not go to the main adjusted rating description article, this table may help.

Let's go through the top Longhorns by their development scores. Who developed the most?

Christian Jones

The player in this group that has the highest development score is Christian Jones. Surprised? He has played a TON - 3219 snaps- more than 500 more snaps than any Longhorns player. He also played well in 2022 and 2023.

Jones has been practicing for the Senior Bowl this week and the practice reports have been glowing per Alex Dunlap at The folks at PFF also have given us tangible evidence. Jones's PFF draft rank shot up in the last 24 hours from 252 to 128. This makes me feel far better about the 4.5 stars equivalent adjusted rating of 1.4319.

T'Vondre Sweat

We all know T'Vondre Sweat has been excellent and his development has been evident to all Longhorns fans. His development score quantifies this and has propelled the high 3-star recruiting prospect to now being a 4.5-star equivalent adjusted rating draft prospect projected to go in second round.

Xavier Worthy

Worthy has played a lot in his time at UT and started as a high 4-star prospect. He is now positioned as a likely second round pick. He might have been a first round grader if he had progressed more from his great freshman year.

Bryon Murphy

Murphy is the highest projected Longhorns projected player and is rated as a possible late first round pick. You can see that the one time 4-star prospect has developed to maintain that 4-star adjusted rating now as a draft prospect. NFL scouts are also reportedly enamored with Murphy's potential as a pro. Given his PFF grades, it makes sense to believe he will continue to improve.

Ja'Tavion Sanders

At times Sanders has been impossible to defend. He was the best TE in the 2021 recruiting class (5-star) and is likely the second-best TE, behind Brock Bowers, in the 2024 NFL draft class. He has developed well and is projected as a likely round two pick.

Jordan Whitington

Whittington has been a challenging data point for the development of this model. He was once a 5-star consensus recruit. He has had a lot of snaps - 1802- in his five years with the Horns. He now ranks as a four-star equivalent adjusted rating prospect. Currently he is the 222 ranked prospect by PFF for the draft. With all of those snaps, I think the NFL would have like to see more development and fewer injuries. I think Jordan somewhat suffers from the opposite of Murphy. Murphy is believed to still have a lot of development while I think Whittington is viewed as being as good as he will be. If someone takes him late, they may get far more than they expect.

A thing to remember here is that about half of the 4-star composite recruiting prospects (400-470 prospects were 4+ in 2021-2024) by the sheer numbers shown would end up in the 260 pick draft. If their development puts them at a 4-star developed college player, then some of those players would not be drafted.

Jaylon Ford

Ford somewhat plateaued in his development after 2022 and probably is accurately framed as a 4-star adjusted rating NFL draft prospect with a late pick grade. Ford has been great for the Horns and has done a lot developing from the 3-star recruiting prospect. Like Whittington, he too may be viewed as having developed to his potential already.

Adonai Mitchell

Mitchell is one of the players on the Longhorns that is testing the transfer player challenge I will describe in detail in another article. He was a low 4-star prospect when recruited to Georgia in 2021. He was a 5-start transfer in 2023. He has developed well but did lose some time in 2022 to injury. As he projects today in the adjusted rating system - a mid 4-star equivalent draft prospect - he probably has potential on his side and that is what is propelling him into an early second- round draft rating by PFF.

You can see the ratings of the other Longhorns as well.

If you think your Longhorns deserve to be rated even higher, you might want to check out how the top projected NFL draft picks developed and their adjusted ratings. That is coming next time.

The Texas Longhorns NFL draft class players provide an interesting validation of the overall Adjusted rating system based on their recruiting rating and their development (factored from snaps and PFF grades.)

We will continue to explore more draft players and those in the transfer portal leaving and coming to Texas.


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