Longhorns in the NFL: Preseason

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Photo Credit: Virginia Scherer | Daily Texan Staff

You can find former Longhorns all over the NFL, and this season the NFL got a whole new influx of Longhorn talent. Here’s a guide to keep up with some of the more prominent Longhorns.

Offense:

Fresh off winning the 40 yards of Gold competition and unofficially becoming the NFL’s fastest player, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is set to take on a strong veteran role this season. As one of the league’s young and emerging teams with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan, Goodwin and the 49ers will be one of the more intriguing teams in the league.

Also on an intriguing team is Cowboys guard Connor Williams. The former All-American saw 10 starts his rookie season, and is currently listed as the starting left guard. With a lot of question marks around the Giants and Redskins heading into the season, Dallas is expected to compete with the Eagles for the NFC East title. However, Williams’ sophomore season won’t be easy, as the Cowboys’ nondivisional games include matchups against the Saints, Patriots, Bears and Rams. Considering Dallas’ run-heavy offensive, Connor Williams has the opportunity to serve a crucial role in the Dallas offense as the Cowboys approach the season with playoff hopes.

Defense:

Headlining the defensive side of the ball is a five-time All-Pro safety and Super Bowl champion Earl Thomas. After sour contract negotiations and an emotional injury ended his tenure with the Seahawks, Thomas will undoubtedly be motivated during his first season with the Baltimore Ravens.

Thomas adds a Longhorn presence — joining DeShon Elliott — as well as veteran presence on the Ravens roster. With the Steelers losing Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell and the Browns adding a star like Odell Beckham Jr., the AFC North will be truly competitive and exciting for the first time in recent memory.

Special Teams:

Seahawks punter Michael Dickson and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, often overlooked but also two of the most talented special teams players in the league, are poised for productive seasons. After his unanimous All-American and Ray Guy Award-winning season in 2017 at Texas, Dickson averaged the second-longest punt distance in the NFL and was named first-team All-Pro as a rookie.

Justin Tucker has been the NFL’s pillar of consistency at the kicker position since he entered the league in 2012. Tucker currently holds the title of most accurate NFL kicker of all time, with an astonishing field goal percentage of 90.1%. While they don’t get as much acclaim as many other NFL stars, Dickson and Tucker perform at the top of the sport, and their contributions will certainly prove critical to the success of their respective teams this season.