University of Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown was selected by the New England Patriots with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, which began Thursday evening in Chicago.
Brown is the 44th first-round NFL draft choice in Texas history, the last occurring in 2013 when Kenny Vaccaro was selected 15th overall by the New Orleans Saints.
Brian Orakpo was the last Longhorn defensive lineman to go in the first round (13th overall to Washington in 2009) and Marcus Tubbs the previous UT defensive tackle to be selected in the opening round (23rd overall to Seattle in 2004).
Brown played all 39 games (26 starts) during his three seasons at Texas. He surrendered his final year of eligibility and declared for the NFL Draft in January.
He had to wait until the final pick of the first round, but he was relieved to finally hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
"It was a great feeling," said Brown, who watched the draft with his family in Austin. "I've been waiting for a long time. This was a life long goal to hear my name called on that stage."
A native of Brenham, Texas, Brown emerged as one of the best defensive linemen in the nation last season. The two-year starter was named a 2014 finalist for both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman). He became the 47th Longhorn (eighth defensive tackle) to earn consensus first team All-America honors by appearing on the 2014 Associated Press, Sporting News and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) squads.
"The thing you like about Malcom is he's so aggressive at the point of attack," head coach Charlie Strong said. "He's a player that can get off blocks, but he can make plays. He's got outstanding quickness and agility. He's one of those guys that can control the line of scrimmage."
Last season, Brown tallied a career-high 72 tackles and led the Longhorns in sacks (6.5), tackles for loss (15) and forced fumbles (2), and tied for QB pressures (8). He became the first defensive tackle to lead Texas in tackles for loss and sacks since Tony Degrate in 1984, the year he won the Lombardi Award. Brown ranked tied for ninth (first among DTs) in the Big 12 in sacks (0.50 per game).
"He'll be a success because of his work ethic," Strong said. "He works hard and comes to work each and every day. It doesn't matter who he's going against, he's always looking to get better."
David Thomas (third round in 2006) was the last Longhorn selected in the NFL Draft by New England. Kenneth Sims (first overall in 1982) and Raymond Clayborn (16th overall in 1977) were the other Longhorns drafted in the first round by the Patriots.
While Brown was excited to get drafted in the first round, spending the evening with his family made it more special.
Brown is the fourth player under Strong to be drafted in the first round during the last two years. Last season, Louisville had three first round picks in safety Calvin Pryor (18th overall to New York Jets), defensive end Marcus Smith (26th overall to Philadelphia) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (32nd overall to Minnesota). Strong was the head coach with the Cardinals from 2011 to 2014. Since 1995, Strong has coached 13 players selected in the first round.
The second and third rounds of the draft will be held Friday and selections in rounds four through seven on Saturday.
Longhorns Draft Notes
• The Longhorns have had 331 players chosen on draft day and had at least one player selected in 77 of the 80 NFL Drafts, including a record 76 consecutive ones (1938-2013).
• Despite not having a player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, seven Longhorns ended up signing as free agents. Six Longhorns from that class were on NFL rosters last season including Carrington Byndom (Carolina Panthers), Donald Hawkins (Dallas Cowboys), Trey Hopkins (Cincinnati Bengals), Jackson Jeffcoat (Washington Redskins), Adrian Phillips (San Diego Chargers) and Chris Whaley (Dallas Cowboys).
• Texas now has 44 players selected in the first round with three of those Longhorns — Kenneth Sims, 1982; Earl Campbell, 1978; Tommy Nobis, 1966 — earning the honor of being the first player selected overall.
• This is the fourth year in the last seven the Longhorns have a first round draft choice. Kenny Vaccaro (2013 by New Orleans), Earl Thomas (2010 by Seattle) and Brian Orakpo (2009 by Washington).
• Texas holds the NFL record with 17 players selected in the 1984 draft.