Draft Preview: Athleticism, leadership highlight Texas OT Cosmi's traits

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George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·4 min read
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Apr. 15—In a past life, Samuel Cosmi was a high school running back. Reminded of that fact during his pro day last month, the hulking Texas offensive tackle broke out in laughter.

It's fun to dream of lining up as a fullback in the NFL and maybe even enjoying some end zone glory. But that would take away one of Cosmi's favorite parts of the game.

This is a man who watches Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan with admiration and compliments the three-time Pro Bowler's enormous mean streak. Perhaps he'd be a good fit alongside one of Lewan's better friends — former Notre Dame star Quenton Nelson — on the left side of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line.

He certainly sounds at times like a prototypical Chris Ballard draft pick.

"I love this game," Cosmi said after a sterling performance during the Longhorns' pro day March 11. "This game is everything for me, and so you're not gonna find another guy that's gonna work as hard on and off the field when it comes to my playbook and putting time into my body and putting time into the team. I don't think anybody in this draft class is gonna even come close to that. And so, when it comes to that, I think I'm the best offensive lineman to come out in this draft."

Cosmi was voted a team captain in 2020 — one of Ballard's hallmark traits — and he has elite athletic traits for his position.

Measuring in at nearly 6-foot-6 and 314 pounds, he posted a 4.87-second 40-yard dash, a 9-foot-9 broad jump and 36 bench press reps with some of the NFL's top evaluators descending upon Austin, Texas.

It was more than enough to put Cosmi's name squarely in the first-round conversation, but he understands testing numbers alone will not put him over the top. After praising Lewan's aggression, he also mentioned the power and fundamental mastery of Green Bay Packers star David Bakhtiari as a model for his game.

Then there's former San Francisco 49ers six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley, who has been doing predraft work with Cosmi. The variety of mentors and role models speaks to a desire for a well-rounded game.

It's also taught the 22-year-old some valuable lessons about what pro evaluators are looking for during the draft process.

"This year film is everything," Cosmi said. "And so being able to put these numbers up — the testing, the (NFL Scouting) Combine, it's all good when it comes to showing people all this, that and the other. (But) what really matters is the coaches and the scouts getting these numbers and seeing what type of person and what type of player I am. So I think one thing is just being as honest and as raw as possible with me and my personality and showing that I'm one of the most hard-working guys on the field and off the field, and I think that's gonna really relate and show just doing these drills and watching the film and just talking to the coaches."

Like any prospect, there are some red flags in Cosmi's game.

He has good, but not great, size, and he can lose ground occasionally at the line of scrimmage against power rushers. But he makes up for a lot of what he lacks with quick feet and high football intelligence.

Even in a video call setting, Cosmi's maturity and competitive motor come across clearly.

It's been a unique offseason with the traditional Combine being canceled in Indianapolis and meetings with teams primarily taking place virtually. It's a challenge for prospects to separate themselves with few opportunities to make their case directly to NFL evaluators in person.

Cosmi shrugs off the difficulty, however, noting this is the only draft process he's ever known.

"For me, this is what it is," he said. "This is what I got. I gotta run with it and do as best as I can. So far, it's been a blessing just to go through this whole process. Not a lot of people are able to do that, and so it's just really amazing."

Cosmi takes a similar approach to his draft status.

In a draft deep in offensive tackle talent, he's been projected anywhere from a top-15 selection to early in the second round.

There is, of course, a strong desire to be the first tackle off the board. But there's also an understanding of how special it is to have the chance to be drafted at all.

"I want to be one of the best guys in this draft," Cosmi said. "I want to be the best guy in this draft. That's just my mentality on it, but at the same time I'm in such a blessed position to be able to go in the NFL and have the opportunity to play for an NFL team. For a lot of guys, it's a dream come true. It's a dream come true for me. But, of course, I want to be considered as the best tackle, and I think I am the best tackle."