As the NFL season comes to a close, the landscape for the upcoming NFL draft is already beginning to take shape. Here is an early look at where some TCU players might fit into the mix:
After a down season due to injury, Stansly Maponga elected to declare for the draft, entering a class that is loaded with pass rushing talent. Due to his size, he will likely be asked to stand up and play linebacker in the NFL in a 3-4 set. While ESPN hasn’t updated its draft big board to add Maponga yet, CBS Sports ranks him as the 17th-best defensive end in the draft. CBS says he will likely to go in the 5th-6th round. A good showing in the combine could elevate him to the middle rounds.
NFL comparison: Paul Kruger, OLB, Baltimore Ravens.
Draft prediction: 4th round, New England Patriots.
Offensive guard Blaize Foltz is the highest-ranked TCU player in terms of positional rankings. Listed 13th by ESPN and 17th by CBS Sports at his position, Foltz is currently looking at a 5th-6th round landing spot. His frame is similar to that of top guard Chance Warmack of Alabama, but Foltz needs to show the same quickness Warmack has displayed to improve his draft stock.
NFL comparison: Roger Allen, OG, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Draft Prediction: 5th round, Dallas Cowboys.
Many scouts project Josh Boyce to move inside at receiver and thrive, because he is an adept route runner and a smaller target. In a weak WR class, Boyce’s stock could rise especially if he is able to reduce his 40-yard-dash time of 4.54 seconds. CBS Sports and ESPN both rank him as a 6th-7th round pick.
NFL comparison: Matt Willis, WR, Denver Broncos.
Draft Prediction: 6th round, Miami Dolphins.
Receiver Skye Dawson’s current official 40-yard-dash time is 4.42 seconds, but he has an unofficial time near 4.3. Skill players have a tendency to really fly up the board with good combine showings – especially those that can return kicks and punts. Currently projected as a 6th-7th rounder, Dawson’s ticket to the NFL lies in his speed overcoming his small frame.
NFL comparison: Aldrick Robinson, WR, Washington Redskins.
Draft Prediction: 6th round, St. Louis Rams.
The players mentioned after the jump here are all projected to go undrafted by both ESPN and CBS Sports. Here’s a quick analysis of each player:
Matthew Tucker, tailback – Will need to show that he sees the field better and improves his run power up the middle. Tucker could become a good red zone running back for a team with a small backfield.
Kenny Cain, linebacker – Will likely have to move to the outside in the NFL due to his smaller size. A weak-side linebacker position in a 4-3 defense suits Cain well, who could be a special teams contributor right away.
Corey Fuller, tight end – With the current trend in taking more athletic tight ends, Fuller’s underwhelming numbers will keep him off of draft boards. Could be an undrafted free agent or a camp invitee.