Cosmi was a mainstay on the Longhorns' offensive line with 34 starts over the course of three seasons. A second-team All-American and two-time All-Big 12 selection, Cosmi is known for his physical style and exceptional ability as a pass-blocker. He helped pave the way for an offense that recorded the fourth-best scoring average in program history (41.3) while averaging five yards per carry on ground.
Here are five things to know about the newest addition to Washington's offensive line.
1. He's the first player from Atascocita High School to be drafted.
Coming into last weekend, Atascocita High School did not have a single player from its football program make it to the NFL. Now, it can mark Cosmi as their first to play the sport at the highest level.
Cosmi collected a slew of honors with the Eagles, from all-state and all-district selections to being named as one of the best prospects in Houston, Texas. In 921 pass attempts during his junior and senior seasons, Cosmi only allowed two sacks. He was also a fearsome run-blocker, racking up 122 pancake blocks and 71 knockdowns in that span, according to his Texas bio page.
A story published by The Houston Chronicle before the NFL Draft claims the Eagles' coaching staff still tells stories of Cosmi's accomplishments in the weight room, and those grueling hours helped Cosmi become one of the best offensive line prospects in the state by ESPN. It also helped the Eagles put together a deep postseason run that included an overtime win against North Shore in the Region III-6A final.
Cosmi spent most of his days preparing for the draft at Atascocita, which recently added a "Wall of Fame" to its athletic wing. It is almost a given that his name will be added one day, and he hopes that will inspire other Eagles players to join him in the professional ranks.
"Being the first one is going to be a true honor," Cosmi told The Chronicle. "You know some young kid might be walking down the hall one day and see my jersey hanging there on the wall and he might say, 'Hey I want to be like that guy.' If that can motivate a young kid one day to strive for excellence I will be happy."
2. He knows how to protect his quarterbacks.
Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger likely slept easy on Friday nights before games because he knew Cosmi was not going to let any pass-rushers get close to sacking him.
Cosmi's performance improved each season as a starter along Texas' offensive line. Pro Football Focus gave him grades of 79.7 and 89.3 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
That bumped all the way up to 90.5 this past season, and his pass protection played a large role in that. PFF ranked Cosmi as the sixth-highest-graded offensive tackle on true pass sets this year, and he was the highest-graded pass-blocking offensive tackle in the Big 12, earning a grade of 89.4.
Cosmi was the best on the Longhorns' roster when it came to negating pressure, as he only allowed eight pressures and one quarterback hit all season. He was also the highest-graded pass-blocker against ranked opponents with a grade of 91.3.
"Cosmi took his play to elite status in 2020 with a PFF grade of 90.5. He never had a 'bad' game, with every single one of his starts netting a PFF grade north of 70.0 -- he allowed zero pressures in half his games," PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote. "Cosmi is also one of only two Power 5 tackles with a grade above 85.0 as both a pass- and run-blocker."
3. He scored a rare offensive lineman touchdown.
It is not often that an offensive lineman scores a touchdown. Then again, it is also rare for one to run a 4.8 40-yard dash. But Cosmi used all of that speed to become the first Longhorns offensive lineman since the team started keeping individual stats in 1947 to find the end zone on a 12-yard rushing touchdown.
"It's funny," Ehlinger told The Athletic after the game. "On the field, we had the play called and it started with a motion. I looked out, and a corner, the buck, another linebacker -- so there's three guys over there, and I was kind of looking back at the sideline, like, 'Coach … are you sure you wanna do this?'"
The play, which was named "Moses" in honor of Cosmi's high school offensive line coach, Todd Moses, came against West Virginia in 2019 and helped Texas put the game away for good. It was designed for Ehlinger to roll out to his right before throwing a backwards pass to Cosmi, who was waiting behind a pair of blockers. The play was executed to near perfection, as Cosmi sprinted down the left sideline before barreling into a Mountaineer defender to cross the plane.
There were some who called Cosmi’s score a “fat man touchdown, but he preferred to call it a "big man touchdown."
"I can't really believe I did that," Cosmi said. "It's a big man's dream when it comes to scoring a touchdown."
Cosmi became just the third offensive lineman to score a rushing touchdown in Big 12 history, the other being Texas Tech's Casey Jones in 1996 and Iowa State's Scott Haughton in 2009. As for Moses, he had a simple message waiting for Cosmi after Texas' 42-31 win over the Mountaineers: "Great job not screwing it up."
4. He was dedicated to his dream of playing in the NFL.
Cosmi's childhood in Humble, Texas, was simple enough; his mother had a dream board for him that included goals like being a great man; he had written his biggest dreams -- going to the NFL and being voted to the Hall of Fame -- on a binder cover in the fifth grade; and part of his backyard had been sectioned off for him to flip a 750-pound tire for one of the six workouts he would do throughout the week. That's how dedicated Washington's second-round pick is to being not just a good player, but the best he can be.
"I'm always just looking at different things to make me better," Cosmi told Hook’em.com. "I want to be the best. I don't want to be a mediocre football player. I have a vision, and I want to be great."
Cosmi told reporters after he was drafted that Washington is getting a player who is "a very dedicated guy, a guy that loves the game and one of the most hard working guys on and off the field." And judging by his routine, it seems like he will back up that claim. In addition to his workout regiment -- his one day off includes a run -- Cosmi also tries to eat five to six clean meals every day.
When speaking with senior vice president of media and content Julie Donaldson, Cosmi described himself as a "mauler."
"I really focus on my technique, and if you beat me 1-on-1 on one play, I'm going to beat you on the next four, five, six plays," he said. "You're going to get a guy that's going to be a menace on that field."
Now that he is done with school, Cosmi said he can focus all of his time on football. And based on his reaction when Rivera told him that he was being drafted, that will be the culmination of a lifelong dream.
5. He is expected to compete early.
It is unknown how much Cosmi will play during his rookie season, but it sounds like head coach Ron Rivera does not want to waste any time finding out.
"We're going to put him out at left tackle and see how he does," Rivera said after Day 2 of the draft. "That's what he did in college, and he played it very well in college. That's why we think he's a really good pick for us because of what he does. He's going to get an opportunity to compete for us, and we'll see how he does."
Six of Cosmi's Pro Day numbers were in at least the 94th percentile, suggesting that he is brimming with athleticism. That should help him at the NFL level, Cosmi said, because he is able to move with speed and aggressiveness. His versatility is something Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew value, but what impressed them the most was that he used those skills over the course of three seasons as a starter.
"He is a smart football player, he's got the size that you look for, the length and the guy is very, very tough and plays a very physical brand of football," Mayhew said. "He is a great fit for us as an offensive lineman. We feel great about Sam and feel great about developing him at left tackle and his ability to play other spots if needed."
The left tackle spot is open on Washington's offensive line, but he doesn't have a preference on where he plays. For now, he's excited to learn from offensive line coach John Matsko and do whatever is necessary to improve.
"I'm super excited to be with the Washington Football Team right now," Cosmi said, "and I am super stoked to get to work."