All eyes will be on TCU and head coach Sonny Dykes to see if they can replicate, or come close to replicating, their historic performance from last season.
Texas Tech is a program that has had its moments, while West Virginia seems to be stuck in a pattern of mediocrity. Once again, TCU boasts the highest number of next-level prospects of the three programs.
Top NFL Draft Prospects at TCU
2022 was a banner year for the TCU program. The Horned Frogs won the Big 12 title and advanced to the CFB championship game, where they lost to Georgia. They also had three players selected in the top 75, including first-round pick Quentin Johnston. It’s going to be tough to do that this year, but the Horned Frogs still have plenty of other-tier talent on the roster.
Josh Newton is a developing corner with a lot of potential. He is tough and instinctive and offers excellent ball skills. Newton runs everywhere with opponents, stays on the receiver’s hip off breaks and has excellent movement for the pitch. He can play man or zone and qualifies as a top-60 option.
Bud Clark has better size, although he’s not as skilled or polished as Newton. Still, he has excellent ball skills and a lot of advantages.
Sandwiched between the two is left tackle Brandon Coleman, a fluid, mobile blocker who displays excellent footwork, strength on the point and ability to block on the move. Coleman could kick inside to protect the next level and ideally fits into a zone blocking scheme.
Keep an eye out for wide receiver Savion Williams, who now becomes the primary target with three TCU wide receivers graduating to the NFL. Williams has incredible size and, although he’s not very fast, he always wins on contested pitches.
Top NFL prospects at Texas Tech
When the Las Vegas Raiders made Tyree Wilson the seventh pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it marked the first time a player from the program had been selected since 1965, when the Green Bay Packers took running back Donnie Anderson. Three months later, the Red Raiders have nothing but late-round prospects on the depth chart.
Tyler Shough was billed as the NFL’s next great quarterback prospect after a promising sophomore campaign at Oregon. Since then, he transferred to Texas Tech, and it’s been nothing but injuries and inconsistency.
Shough has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL: outstanding size, a great arm and great athleticism. He occasionally makes some amazing passes or racks up yardage with his legs. However, a shoulder injury last season limited him to seven games, and a broken clavicle the year before sidelined him in all but four games. Shough has top 60 skills, but the medics will raise red flags.
Defensive lineman Myles Cole has the size (6-6, 280 pounds) and speed (4.80s in the 40) to be a great player, but his production has been pedestrian. Several scouts class him as draftable based on computer numbers, but with just 12 tackles last season, he should raise his game.
Syracuse transfer Steve Linton, linebacker, is another outstanding stat who needs to increase his production.
Top NFL prospects in West Virginia
West Virginia has been in a tailspin over the past five years. A once-proud program has had just one winning season since 2018 and has had nothing but last-day picks since 2019. Mountaineers fans should be hopeful that changes in the next nine months.
WVU has fielded several good offensive linemen, including centers, in the NFL, and Zach Frazier looks set to be next. Frazier is a smart, tough lineman who understands the position and makes the most of his ability. His productivity stems more from his soccer intelligence than his pure athleticism, which will appeal to several coaches.
By contrast, Sean Martin has the underlying physical skills and athleticism to be a great prospect. At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Martin is a tough frontline defender who can be impossible to get off point. He showed playmaking ability last season, and his game is heading in the right direction, which gives me hope that Martin will move on.