If there was any concern over the hiring of Charlie Strong at Texas, perhaps Thursday night should serve as a reminder to Longhorns fans that this Charlie Strong guy knows a thing or two about developing talent.
Hey Texas fans doubting the hire of Charlie Strong: Louisville just sent three players to the first round of the #NFLDraft. Texas sent zero.
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) May 9, 2014
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater rounded out the first round after the Minnesota Vikings traded up to get the final pick Thursday night. Two defensive players went before him, with safety Calvin Pryor going to the New York Jets and linebacker or defensive end Marcus Smith was a surprise pick of the Philadelphia Eagles. That, to me, is what Texas fans should be excited about.
One of the first things Strong needs to do with the Longhorns is make them a tougher team, especially on defense. While having a quarterback like Bridgewater was certainly a luxury for Strong at Louisville, the defense really helped turn the Cardinals around since Strong arrived at the program. Texas fans should take comfort in seeing the Cardinals have just sent two defensive players in the first round, something Texas last did in 2007.
This is one of the reasons I was confident with the hiring of Strong at Texas. Strong took over Louisville and built a team worthy of playing in a Sugar Bowl and dominating a heavily-favored SEC team (Florida). If you remember that game, the offense had their big plays, but so did the defense. Strong is not afraid to tell it like it is at Texas. He has already said this is not going to be an instant fix in Austin, but if he can have a fraction of the success he had at Louisville (23-3 the past two seasons) then it will not be long before Texas is back to seriously contending for Big 12 championships and entering the College Football Playoff conversation.
If the first round of the NFL Draft was any indication, Texas will find ways to develop top talent on defense as part of that formula.