While this senior class put up big numbers in purple and white, NFL draft experts aren’t as high on the Horned Frogs as the statistical numbers might suggest. Still, there are 253 picks in the draft, and there will almost definitely be some new TCU players in the league next year.
We compiled draft previews from four main sources — Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, CBSSports.com, and SBNation — into our Horned Frog draft guide. Here’s a look at where the five TCU players most likely to be drafted might go. (Players are in alphabetical order, not projected draft order.)
QB Trevone Boykin: 6’0″, 212 lbs, 4.77 40-yard dash
Projected Pick: Undrafted
Boykin, a Heisman Trophy contender and a certifiable Horned Frog legend, was always going to be a long shot to earn a high draft pick — he’s undersized and labeled as a “system quarterback,” according to NFL.com. His arrest in December before the Alamo Bowl didn’t help, and now he faces an uphill climb to be drafted at all.
He’s not listed in the top-20 quarterbacks on SBNation, and he’s 18th on Sports Illustrated’s list. SI has him as the 273rd best player available, which puts him outside of the draft pool.
TCU fans will be pulling for Boykin to sneak into the lower rounds, and some other national media outlets are advocating for him to be drafted by the Chargers or Cowboys. But in all likelihood, Boykin will need to hope to get picked up as an undrafted free agent in order to hang on to an NFL team.
WR Josh Doctson: 6’2″, 202 lbs. 4.50 40-yard dash
Projected Pick: #24 overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Of all the players from TCU in this year’s draft, Doctson is projected to have the best future in the NFL.
SBNation declared him one of the most well-rounded receivers in the draft pool, and NFL.com projects him to be an immediate No. 2 receiver for a team with a hole to fill. Doctson has elite pass-catching ability and a nose for the ball, but he’ll need to continue to work on his strength to compete against professional cornerbacks.
There’s been a lot of talk about where Doctson will fall in a loaded wide receiver draft. He, Laquan Treadwell from Ole Miss, and Baylor’s Corey Coleman are all projected to be picked around No. 20. Doctson worked out with the Texans this week and the Vikings have been a consistent pick to select him, but don’t be surprised if he winds up with fellow TCU grad Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
RB Aaron Green: 5’11”, 203 lbs. 4.56 40-yard dash (recorded at TCU pro day)
Projected Pick: 7th round
Green transferred to TCU from Nebraska and made an immediate impact in the TCU spread offense. He was a versatile weapon, running out of the spread option and catching some balls in the secondary — most notably his game-winning catch against Texas Tech — but his small size will be a liability in the NFL.
He also, as CBSSports points out, tends to run more east-west than north-south. He’s got great lateral quickness, and uses it to shake defenders, but he needs to run straight ahead more often.
These limitations put him behind running backs like Ezekiel Elliot and Derrick Henry — Sports Illustrated ranks him as the 15th best back in the draft. Still, his ability to evade tacklers will earn him a place in the NFL, and he should make his way onto a team in the last two rounds.
S Derrick Kindred: 5’10”, 207 lbs. 4.46 40-yard dash (recorded at TCU Pro Day)
Projected Pick: 6th-7th Round
Kindred gets knocked for being more of a hitter than a coverage man, but that’s mostly because he’s extremely skilled at delivering blows to receivers. His stocky frame and nose for the ball allows him to prevent receivers from making big plays after the catch.
He scored two touchdowns on eight interceptions during his time at TCU, so he has some return skills, but those eight interceptions belie the fact that his coverage skills have room for improvement. TCU gave up a lot of deep balls last year, and Kindred was part of that secondary unit.
His physical skills alone should earn him a place in the NFL, even if it’s on a kick coverage team, where he excelled as a Horned Frog. Kindred should latch on to a team in a later round.
WR Kolby Listenbee: 6’0″, 197 lbs. 4.39 40-yard dash
Projected Pick: 3th-5th Round
Listenbee is known for his speed, and there’s good reason for that — he’s a two-time Track All-American at TCU. He’s made some highlight catches and is always a deep threat.
The downside to Listenbee is that he was basically only used as a deep threat in the Horned Frog offense. CBSSports noted that his route tree was severely limited, and he’ll have to develop that in the NFL to succeed.
With his speed, however, he’s impossible to pass up. There’s a wide variety of opinions on him — Sports Illustrated ranks him as the 26th best receiver and the 190th best prospect overall, whereas CBSSports pegs him as the 11th best receiver and the 90th ranked prospect. Expect Listenbee to go in the middle rounds, from 3-5.