Longhorns in the NFL: Defensive and special teams stars shine

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Justin Tucker made plenty of big kicks at Texas and he has carried over his success to the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

As of late, the Longhorns have struggled to put skill position players in the NFL, and as a result, former Longhorns finding the endzone each week is a rare occurrence. However, with tight end Andrew Beck carving out more foundational roles in the offenses of their respective teams, change seems close. But as of now, Longhorn fans have to look to running back Malcolm Brown and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to create offensive highlights on the field. However, the Longhorns have not struggled with filling the NFL with elite defensive and special teams talent. There are 14 former Longhorns at defensive positions in the NFL, seven of which are defensive backs or safeties. While a flashy offense sells tickets, defense and special teams win games, and this is where our former Longhorns shine.

The 2019 NFL season is nearing the halfway point, and former Longhorns continue to shine among the NFL’s most productive talent.

Jordan Hicks- Arizona Cardinals Linebacker 

Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Jordan Hicks showed out this week despite the Cardinals’ 31-9 loss to the Saints. With six solo tackles and 10 total, Hicks was second in tackles for the Cardinals in a defensive effort that, despite a good showing from Hicks and Budda Baker, left something to be desired against an elite Saints offense. Hicks now has 79 tackles on the year, which ranks second in the NFL. With a first-year head coach, rookie quarterback and an offense devoid of stars, the Cardinals’ defense can only do so much. With only 40 yards rushing on the day, the Cardinals’ inability to establish the run kept the game from ever being competitive. However, the Cardinals were coming off three straight wins after their disappointing start and are showing signs of growth. With a defense led by Hicks as well as promising young talent, the Cardinals look to get better and better as the season progresses.

Justin Tucker - Baltimore Ravens Kicker 

Tucker continues to be unmatched by his peers in the NFL. After burying three field goals and three extra points in the Ravens’ win against the Seahawks, Justin Tucker is now a perfect 16 of 16 on field goals and 20 of 20 on extra points. He is the only NFL kicker to be 100% accurate in oth statistics this season. With 68 total points so far, Tucker is currently ranked fifth in the NFL in points scored. Tucker continues to be one of the most dependable players in the league, and he currently holds the title of most accurate NFL kicker of all time. In the hopes of defending that title, he has been automatic so far in 2019, and he will continue to be a crucial part of a promising Ravens team that is poised to dominate the AFC North.