the 2013 NFL

Former Longhorn quarterback Vince Young is now the likely backup quar- terback for the Packers after the team released quarterback Gra- ham Harrell on Friday evening. Young has been out of the NFL since 2011. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Kenny Vaccaro
New Orleans Saints
Safety 

After an impressive career in burnt orange, Kenny Vaccaro joined New Orleans in the first of the 2013 NFL Draft — the first time in franchise history the Saints drafted a safety that early. The 15th overall pick will strengthen the Saints’ defensive backfield, which was the second-worst in the league last season. The hard-hitting Vaccaro recorded 92 tackles in his final season at Texas and tallied two interceptions. He’s already created a buzz around the Saints’ organization after starting a few on-field skirmishes, most notably with veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. 

 

Marquise Goodwin
Buffalo Bills
Wide Receiver

Former Olympian and Longhorn Marquise Goodwin established himself as an impact player early on for the Bills this preseason. Goodwin, a third-round pick in 2013, returned a kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown in his first preseason game. 


Goodwin will add needed speed and quickness to the Bills’ return game. 

 

Alex Okafor
Arizona Cardinals
Outside Linebacker

The Arizona Cardinals selected Alex Okafor in third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The defensive lineman set a number of records during his senior season, which included a 4.5 sack effort in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Okafor, who played defensive end at Texas, is listed as an outside linebacker on the Cardinals’ roster. Either way, expect Okafor to find a way to the quarterback.

 

Vince Young
Green Bay Packers
Quarterback

Young is back in the NFL after sitting out the 2012 season, after the Bills released him at the end of the preseason. The Packers released Graham Harrell on Saturday evening, making it likely that Young will be the backup to Aaron Rodgers to start the season. Although he is firmly entrenched behind Rodgers on the depth chart, Young impressed in his preseason debut, throwing for 41 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 39 yards on three carries in Friday’s 17-10 loss to Seattle. 

 

Brian Orakpo
Redskins
Outside Linebacker

Orakpo returns to the Redskins’ starting lineup in Week 1 after a torn pectoral muscle forced him out of the final 14 games of 2012. The Redskins hope that Orakpo, who has recorded 29.5 sacks in 49 career games, can return to form as a pass-rusher. If he can, it would be a huge aid to the 30th-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Now in a contract season, the 27-year-old outside linebacker is healthy and primed for a productive year in Washington.

 

Aaron Ross
Giants
Cornerback

Ross will play a significant role in the Giants secondary, especially after cornerback Jayron Hosley left Saturday’s preseason game with an ankle injury. If Hosley is unable to return for the season opener, Ross could slot as the Giants’ third cornerback behind Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster. In the pass-happy NFC East, look for Ross to see plenty of time in New York’s secondary.

Former Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin runs after the catch during the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. Goodwin was drafted to the Buffalo Bills over the weekend with the 78th pick. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Three former Longhorns will boast new jerseys, new teams and new cities after being selected during the 2013 NFL Draft this past week.

Safety Kenny Vaccaro was selected in the first round of the draft as the 15th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was picked 78th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the third round while defensive end Alex Okafor was chosen as the 103rd overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.

First off the board for the Longhorns was Vaccaro, who had made it his goal to be the first safety chosen. Without waiting too long on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, his wish was granted.

“This is just the beginning,” Vaccaro said. “Now I have to keep working hard to get to New Orleans and make an impact.”

Vaccaro was a strong prospect heading into the draft after leading the Longhorns in tackles in 2012. 

“I have been grinding my whole life, literally since I was four years old, for this opportunity,” Vaccaro said. “The Saints were my last visit, and I had a good feeling about it.”

Goodwin, well aware of the other talented players still up for grabs, didn’t pay much attention to the draft Friday night, during which he got the call from the Buffalo Bills.

“I was just sitting out there throwing the football with my brothers and sitting on the back of the truck talking,” Goodwin said. “I was like, ‘Dude, I don’t even think I’m going to go today. There are still receivers ranked ahead of me on the board.’ I got the call while I was on the back of the truck.”

Being chosen as a new member of an NFL team came after a whirlwind eight months for Goodwin, during which he competed at the Olympics in London and finished out his senior year of football, forgoing his last season of track to prepare for the draft. 

“[My time at Texas] really taught me patience and how to persevere through thick and thin,” Goodwin said. “I went off the board before guys that had a lot more catches and yards than I did. But I’ve got a wonderful opportunity in front of me, and I’m just going to make the most of it.”

For Goodwin, Buffalo comes with some familiar ties. Former Longhorn and current Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams is a close friend while men’s head track coach Bubba Thornton also played as a wide receiver for the Bills. 

Okafor said he couldn’t stop smiling after the call he received from the Arizona Cardinals.

“It’s just a blessing,” Okafor said. “No matter what team you go to, when you get that call on draft day you’re already in love with the team. Really, that is all you can ask for.”

Two other former Longhorns, defensive end Sam Acho and center Lyle Sendlein, are already on the Cardinals roster. 

For Okafor, who many analysts predicted would be chosen in the second round, the phone call that came upon his selection was a welcomed end to the waiting game.

“I expected to be called yesterday,” Okafor said on Saturday. “It was a long wait yesterday. But God has a plan for me. Today I couldn’t be any happier.”