2 CB Jason Verrett (5’10″ 182 pounds, SENIOR)
Really good looking cornerback prospect, even with potential size issue. Might measure out at the Combine at under 5’10″, but that shouldn’t prevent him from being a potential first round pick. Verrett has a nose for the ball, and led the Big 12 in passes broken up (16) on his way to a first-team All-American selection and putting himself in the first round discussion for the 2014 NFL Draft. The former junior college transfer is a tough, physical corner who has great speed to get upfield, and might be one of the most effective corners in the country in run support. Does a great job of turning his hips and running with receivers, though he can get shielded by bigger receivers at times. At his best pressing the receiver at the line of scrimmage, and he’s also really effective blitzing and making plays in the backfield, as evidenced by his five tackles for loss last season. Really a complete cornerback who doesn’t possess elite size but makes up for it with great instincts and tackling ability. Teams will start to not throw this guy’s way any day now, and his stats will likely take a bit of a dip in 2013. At the NFL level, I see him as a first round corner if he continues to make these kinds of improvements. He can play outside, or he could even kick inside and be a lock down nickel cornerback, a position that is becoming more and more critical in today’s NFL.
This is a player I really like. You can see he plays with a lot of heart and he’s capable of taking a receiver out of a game completely. Even when the ball isn’t thrown to his man, he closes in on plays and makes more tackles than a lot of star cornerbacks are willing to.
4 QB Casey Pachall (6’5″ 226 pounds, SENIOR)
Last October, Pachall was suspended from TCU’s football program indefinitely after a drunk driving arrest, and it seemed like the talented prospect’s career in college might be over. Pachall needed time to get his life in order. This is a supremely talented QB prospect who will be likely under-drafted because of his now checkered past, but he insists that he’s a changed man.
“I’ve matured a lot,” Pachall said. “Everything that’s happened, happened for a reason. Everything I did was part of the plan and needed to be done.”
Prior to his arrest/suspension in 2012, Pachall had completed 66 percent of his passes through the team’s first six games, and had 10 touchdowns to just one interception in TCU’s 4-0 start. If he can come back in 2013 and prove that he not only can earn the starting job back, I think he can earn his draft stock back. Pachall is a very talented passer who has great athletic ability. He’s really one of the more intriguing QB prospects set to be available in 2014, and if he can prove to NFL scouts and general managers that he has truly matured, he might warrant a top 50 selection come May.
Here’s my 2012 pre-season evaluation of Pachall:
Just one year removed from the legendary Andy Dalton era for the Horned Frogs, TCU’s new quarterback only came in and set school records in completions, completion percentage, and yards (228, 66.5, 2,921). One of my favorite stats that TCU provided was that he led three fourth quarter comebacks in his first season as starter, two of which were from down 17 points. This kid has some guts, and he makes smart decisions. Pachall threw 25 touchdown passes last year compared to only seven interceptions, and he quietly had the 12th best quarterback efficiency rating in all of college football.
Heading into this season as a redshirt junior, Pachall is a guy that not many people are talking about, at least not many that I’m listening to. Perhaps among the more die-hard college fans, Pachall is a household name and is being treated as such. But as it pertains to the NFL Draft, this guy is going largely unnoticed. He is 6’5″ 225 pounds, and from what I can see he has a pretty strong arm and is obviously very accurate, as indicated by his excellent completion percentage. I’m excited to see this guy play in 2012 a lot more. Most outlets have TCU ranked in their pre-season top 20, and when you do some digging on this guy, you can absolutely see why. He is going to be exciting to watch and is potentially going to be part of one of the strongest quarterback classes I’ve seen in quite some time.
3 WR Brandon Carter (5’11″ 161 pounds, JUNIOR)
Carter is a very talented athlete who was highly coveted coming out of high school, and he is finally blossoming into the top receiver at TCU now that Josh Boyce has moved on to the NFL. He is a threat to take the ball the distance every time he touches it, and in his junior season, he should see more touches than possibly his first two college seasons combined. Looks like an ideal player to come out of the slot. Has the ability to create after the catch, and has proven as much with a YPC average of over 16 yards. Carter is more than capable of stretching the field and making big plays, but I definitely want to see more of a refined route tree from him. He can make any tough grab despite his size, and has a great ability to go up and snatch the ball at its highest point in traffic. He doesn’t seem overly limited by his lack of elite size.
96 DT Chucky Hunter (6’1″ 305 pounds, JUNIOR)
After not even beginning the season as a starter at defensive tackle, Hunter came along and was selected as a 2nd-team All-Big 12 player last year. He finished the season with 36 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. Hunter has great quickness and lower body strength, and is able to get great leverage with his body type. He’s still developing in his technique, but scouts are excited about Hunter finally developing after being a highly regarded high school prospect. He is definitely an underclassmen to watch for the Horned Frogs.
6 FS Elisha Olabode (5’10″ 192 pounds, SENIOR)
Olabode is a great hitter from the safety position who had an excellent season statistically as a junior, racking up 71 tackles, four interceptions (2 for TDs), three tackles for loss, and nine passes broken up. He made plays all over the field, showing great range, but he can play out of control at times. He doesn’t have ideal size for a safety, so he will have to prove that he can play nickel and dime situations and contribute on special teams going forward in his NFL journey.