Last year, former TCU cornerback Jason Verrett was the only Horned Frog to make his way up to New York City to hear his name called in the NFL Draft.
This year, three Frogs are expected to be drafted at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Dawson is TCU’s highest rated prospect, according to multiple mock drafts, which have him going as high as the first round and as low as the third.
The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was a nightmare for opposing offenses in 2014.
He led head coach Gary Patterson’s defense with 136 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and led the Frog’s linebacker corps with four interceptions.
Some draft analysts say Dawson may have the best film and season statistics of any linebacker in this year’s draft.
But Dawson’s workout numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, compared to other linebackers, were unimpressive in the eyes of the scouts.
Among Dawson’s combine results, his 4.93 second 40-yard-dash time was the most concerning blemish for NFL teams looking to draft a linebacker in the early rounds.
There were also reports that Dawson had character issues, which stated that he was often late to his workouts and failed a drug test for testing positive for Adderall while at TCU.
On TCU’s Pro Day, Dawson tried to clean up his lingering reputation of being slow and lazy with the media and NFL scouts after recording a 4.75 second 40-yard-dash time.
“I got a bit too heavy,” Dawson said after he was asked about his combine results after his Pro Day workout “That was my goal, to gain some weight– upper body and lower body, but I just felt like I was too heavy. Then I tweaked my hamstring in the first 40 and then I decided to keep competing with everybody. I should have sat it down. It is what it is. I came out here and did what I was supposed to do.”
Dawson then continued to talk to the media about his reputation.
“That tardiness–that was my early years at TCU,” Dawson said in response to reports of his poor time management. “It wasn’t a problem my last year. I started being a professional my senior year at TCU. It’s not an issue anymore. I think teams understand that, and they can see where I’m coming from.”
Like Dawson’s 40-yard-dash time from the combine, Kevin White’s 4.63 second result in the event fell below the benchmark for players at his position. The cornerback didn’t improve his score on Pro Day either as he ran a hand-timed 4.62 and a 4.66.
White has been a constant piece of the Horned Frog’s defense over his four seasons at TCU. And in 2014, he was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team.
White’s most recognized performance came against West Virginia when the Frogs went to Morgantown in November.
The senior was matched up against one of the best wide receivers in the country, who also shares the same name. He held the Mountaineer’s Kevin White to just 28 yards on three catches and did not allow a touchdown.
He also impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he picked off Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.
According to NFL.com, his speed is still a concern as there were games where he was beat often on deep routes, specifically, the game where he covered Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett.
But according to projections, White could be as high as a fourth round pick, while NFL.com has him slated to be selected in rounds five or six.
Chris Hackett is another former member of the TCU secondary who is expected to be drafted in one of the later rounds.
The junior decided to forgo his senior year at TCU to become draft eligible after a stellar 2014 season.
During his junior campaign, Hackett led TCU’s defense with seven interceptions– the third most by an individual player in the NCAA.
However, the All-Big 12 First Team member’s combine results didn’t reflect his performance during his final season as a Horned Frog.
The free safety prospect ran a 4.81 second 40-yard-dash in Indianapolis. Hackett’s forty time from the combine is considerably slower than the average safety mark of 4.6 seconds.
But the Tyler, Texas native did show improvement as he ran a noticeably faster 4.68 second 40-yard-dash on Pro Day.
“Especially for me at the combine, I feel like I didn’t do as a wanted to do and I came out here and did what I wanted to do,” Hackett said after his Pro Day workout.
But like White, Hackett’s deep pass and sideline pass coverage is a concern among scouts, according to NFL.com.
CBS Sports projects Hackett to be drafted in the sixth round.
If Hackett is indeed drafted along with Dawson and White, they will be among 36 former TCU players who have been drafted during Gary Patterson’s time as TCU’s head football coach.