Jerry Hughes, Chase Ortiz, Braylon Broughton, Tommy Blake, Wayne Daniels, Bo Schobel, Robert Pollard, Aaron Schobel, and now Stansly Maponga and sophomore Devonte Fields.
These men produced lots of sacks, forced fumbles, and were All Americans, All Conference picks, etc. What else do all of these guys have in common? With the exception of Aaron Schobel, none of their college success translated up. They were all too short.
On Thursday at TCU Pro Day, Hughes watched Maponga and a handful of other hopefuls run through the myriad of drills in front of the many scouts and the three NFL assistant coaches who attended.
Hughes was a first round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2010; the team thought he could be one of those smaller, but quick, defensive ends like Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis and eventually replace one. Those two may have been the quickest defensive ends in the league in their prime.
It wasn't until last offseason when the team moved Hughes to outside linebacker did he begin to produce.
"I am very grateful (Colts owner Robert) Irsay selected me in the first round," Hughes told me Thursday. "But when I first got there I wasn't sure what they wanted. I really never did get a straight answer. ... This past season went well. I think I adjusted pretty well and I'm getting more comfortable at linebacker and playing in space."
Hughes should always have been an outside linebacker in the NFL. In '12, he played in 16 games and finished with 41 tackles and a career-best four sacks. Hughes may never be a star, but he can be pretty good and have an NFL job.
Maponga is about the same height and weight as Hughes, and he should be converted into an OLB. That's what Pittsburgh Steelers scout and former LB Joe Greene told Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram.
Here is a look at some of the big name TCU defensive linemen in the past decade or so, and how they fared after college.
Hughes 6-2, 254. 1st rd pick of Colts in '10. Now an OLB.
Chase Ortiz 6-2, 255. Never made it out of preseason.
Braylon Broughton, 6-6, 272. Currently with Saints. Keeps getting looks because he is so big.
Tommy Blake, 6-3, 252. Never made it. Such a sad story of what should have been.
Aaron Schobel, 6-4, 243. The very best; 78 sacks in nine NFL seasons.
Wayne Daniels, 6-2, 250. Never made it.
Bo Schobel, 6-5, 264. Played 29 NFL games for three NFL teams from '04-'07.
Robert Pollard, 6-2, 261. Played for two teams in three NFL seasons.
These guys were all very good on defenses that thrived in Conference USA or the Mountain West.
In the Big 12, Patterson is going to need bigger bodies, such as sophomore-to be Devonte Fields (6-4, 240), and as a result more of these guys should have a bit more luck sticking in the pros.
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