Former TCU defensive end and Tennessee Titans’ seventh-round draft pick Josh Carraway hears the critics. He’s seen his draft grades. He knows he needs to improve to get his game NFL-ready.
It’s all fuel for the fire some NFL analysts say didn’t burn hot enough in college to warrant an earlier draft pick. If it’s not the intangibles, it’s his ability to stop the run, or his footwork.
“I hear everybody calling me soft, so I just think I got something to prove,” Carraway said Monday. “I think I can hit people in the mouth, too.”
CBSSports.com ranked Carraway the 16th best at his position going into the NFL Draft and initially gave the 242-pounder a fifth-round grade, so there are those who would call him a steal at the 227th overall pick. There is no questioning his athleticism, or his length, or his ability to bend while rushing the passer. Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau runs a 3-4 defense, where Carraway projects well as an outside linebacker.
Carraway put up similar numbers in his last two seasons at TCU, showing a somewhat consistent ability to get to the quarterback in a system that tends to send just four pass rushers, preferring to cover as much ground as possible against high-flying Big 12 spread offenses. He recorded nine sacks as a junior in 2015 and eight more last season as a senior.
His 19 career sacks at TCU are good for seventh in program history. He put up 11.5 tackles for loss in 2015 and 11 more last year. He forced three fumbles, recovered four and scored twice in his time at TCU. He was a two-time All-Big 12 performer.
He made himself into that player after redshirting his second year on campus. That came after he got into four games his freshman year.
“That was very humbling,” Carraway said. “I had three roommates, and all three of them were playing. So when they’re gone Friday nights; Saturdays watching them play, that didn’t sit well with me.”
Carraway was the 120th player in TCU program history to be drafted.
Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817