2021 NFL draft prospects: Texas OT Samuel Cosmi

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Eric Edholm
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Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

Texas OT Samuel Cosmi

6-foot-6, 309 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.87 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Athletic left tackle who projects as a solid pro, even if there might be an adjustment to NFL power and speed

Games watched: LSU (2019), Oklahoma (2020), Iowa State (2020), Baylor (2020),

The skinny: A 3-star Rivals recruit, Cosmi initially committed to Houston before flipping to the Longhorns once Tom Herman got the head-coaching job. After redshirting his first year, Cosmi started 13 of 14 games at right tackle and was named to the Freshman All-America team. He shifted to left tackle in 2019, earning second-team All-Big 12 mention in 13 starts. In 2020, Cosmi started Texas’ first eight games at left tackle and then opted out for the rest of the season.

Upside: Put on a pro-day clinic — ran a scorching 4.85-second 40-yard dash (with a 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds and a 20-yard split of 2.75), logged a great broad-jump number (9-foot-9) and put up a stout 36 bench-press reps.

Built in a left-tackle laboratory. Good length, good weight distribution and well-chiseled frame. Moves well in space and can hit moving targets on the run. Nice flexibility. Light on his feet. Scored a touchdown on a trick play in 2019 and looked like a big tight end running:

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Improved as a pass blocker last season — didn’t merely fall back on his athleticism. Sets quickly and initiates contact. Displayed good pop with his hands and timed up his initial strikes well. Showed some good kick-slide ability, played with more of a flat back and maintained his leverage better. Will run wide rushers out of the arc and past the QB.

Pad level is typically very good, especially for such a tall tackle. Engaged his core and lower-body strength better as a drive blocker. Unleashes some toughness and nasty at times. Will deliver some big blocks.

Three-year starter with more than 2,500 career snaps at tackle. Experience at both positions — largely played right tackle in 2018. Played with more discipline in 2020 — went from 10 flags in 2019 to zero last season. Appeared to be more technically sound and made incremental improvements with each season.

Downside: Despite the athletic traits, speed rushers can tax him outside. LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson stressed Cosmi with speed and inside moves in 2019. Oklahoma's Nik Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas walked him into the backfield several times.

A bit robotic in his approach — opens up similarly in pass-rush sets and gives opponents an easy read on his setup. Doesn’t vary hand placement enough. Technically savvy defensive linemen will exploit that over time.

Bends at the waist and will lose low-man battles to lower-cut opponents. Quality bull rushers can push him backward and disrupt the timing of the play. Doesn’t always fire off the ball the way you want to see it.

Finishing ability runs hot and cold — gets too passive at times. Attempts at physicality don’t always produce results. Doesn’t always get his legs into lateral blocks. Catches blocks and will stop his feet on contact. More of a wall-off blocker. Not yet a top-shelf drive blocker — has trouble putting defenders on skates. Doesn’t always spot things he should.

Best-suited destination: Cosmi profiles as a possible rookie starter at left tackle, but he likely can’t hold up on an island early on. He could suffer through some rough patches while he adjusts to NFL speed and power, and might never be dominant. Cosmi has the feet, experience and athleticism to become a solid to very good blocker in this league, preferably in a system where they feature the zone run game and maximize his movement skills.

Did you know: Cosmi’s parents were Romanian immigrants, arriving in the United States when they were teenagers. Soccer was the first sport Samuel played extensively. His youth coach moved him to goalie, Cosmi explained in 2017, because he “got too aggressive, got too many red cards.”

That’s when Cosmi went to his mother, Rodica, to ask her if he could play football. She said yes, and after winning a championship in his first year of playing — earning a limo ride as first prize — football became his passion.

Player comp: Riley Reiff

Expected draft range: Top-50 pick