Texas A&M football 2024 NFL Draft primer: Where will Aggies get selected?

Taking a look at the possibilities for each prospect coming out of Texas A&M football this year.
Sep 23, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies linebacker Edgerrin Cooper (45)
Sep 23, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies linebacker Edgerrin Cooper (45) / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft primer for Texas A&M football fans: Where will Edgerrin Cooper, McKinnley Jackson be taken?

Draft day is finally here, and Texas A&M football fans can expect to hear several names called from the Maroon and White over these next few days. The hopefuls from College Station range in projection from a possible first-rounder to several probable UDFAs, but you never know how teams view a prospect really until after the fact.

The Aggies who stand the best chance to be drafted—or to make it to an NFL training camp, in the case of several who project to be undrafted—are as follows:

LB Edgerrin Cooper
DT McKinnley Jackson
WR Ainias Smith
OL Layden Robinson
DB Demani Richardson

I feel solid about the chances of Cooper and Jackson to actually be selected. There's some pretty high variability with the rest; all three could end up being picks, or if things fall poorly, each could end up undrafted.

Let's break down where each player projects at the current moment.

Texas A&M Football 2024 NFL draft: Edgerrin Cooper

After a huge senior season, Coop's draft stock made a commensurately huge jump. At this point, he could be the top linebacker on the board overall. There's a nonzero chance that he gets selected in the first round, but his most likely range is second-to-third. Still, crossing my fingers that the Cowboys end up choosing him with their first-round selection!

Texas A&M football 2024 NFL draft: McKinnley Jackson

McKinnley has some dominant tape and an ideal build, but he really hurt himself with some below-average numbers at the combine. I see him going in the third or fourth round, but he could slide until later if things fall poorly for him. I'm hoping there's a team that likes what they've seen from him at A&M enough to use an earlier selection, but he's probably a day 3 guy if I had to guess.

Texas A&M football 2024 NFL draft: Ainias Smith

Despite his elite production, guys with Ainias's build and physical tools are usually not ones who go early in the draft. It didn't help that he was unable to participate in the NFL combine due to a stress fracture in his leg, but he ended up being able to run at Texas A&M's pro day. I see him as anywhere from a fifth-round selection to undrafted in the worst case scenario, but I think the value he adds as a special-teams ace could prevent that latter case from coming to fruition.

Texas A&M football 2024 NFL draft: Layden Robinson

Layden has all the physical tools you would want out of a guard, but his spotty play over the last few years could cost him here. His upside is intriguing, which makes me think there could be a team that sees him as a high-value pick in the later rounds, but I could equally see it possible that teams end up choosing others over him and leaving him to the UDFA ranks.

Texas A&M football 2024 NFL draft: Demani Richardson

The plain fact of the matter is that Demani needed a much better 40 time to improve his position on the draft radar, but he ended up with only a 4.6—not where you want to be as a defensive back. His other numbers didn't pop either, which will also hurt him here. I've liked his play at A&M, and if he makes it to a roster, I think he has a good chance to carve himself out a spot (not unlike Donovan Wilson has done in Dallas), but I think that will likely come via the UDFA route.