Kevin White said the NFL Combine is not what he expected it to be, and that might have contributed to his disappointing performance there in February.
“It’s a lot different than what you think it is growing up,” the former TCU cornerback said at the school’s Pro Day on Friday at the Sam Baugh Indoor Facility. “It’s a lot different process than you actually think it is. There’s a lot of tests and a lot of long nights, and you don’t get a lot of sleep. I think a lot of guys were just tired traveling from California to Indy and just beat up, as well. I think that contributed, as well.”
The combine was largely a disappointment for the Horned Frogs, so the contingent of five who tested at Indianapolis – White, Paul Dawson, B.J. Catalon, Chris Hackett and Tayo Fabuluje – so they were glad to be in friendly surroundings for another round of drills in front of 43 scouts and five NFL assistants.
“We needed to have a really good day,” White said. “None of us had a real good day at the combine. It was a pretty big day for all of us, actually.”
White said it helped to see a lot of former players and former pros at Pro Day, lending support.
“Those guys, they’ve been through it already, they’re on to the next level,” White said. “For us to see them come back showing support, showing that it can be done – ‘We’ve been through it, now it’s y’all’s time’ – passing the torch a little bit, it’s real cool seeing them come back.”
White boosted his stock after a week in Mobile, Ala., in January, when he was named the outstanding player of practice week at the Senior Bowl. He may have regained some of that standing.
“That was probably one of the better experiences I had during this whole process,” he said. “It was definitely the most fun I’ve had during this whole process.”
Safety Chris Hackett said it was after the Peach Bowl, in which he got his seventh interception, that he started thinking seriously about declaring for the draft.
“I pretty much didn’t think about it during the season,” he said. “Winning a national championship was my main focus. After the season, I went home, talked to my parents, basically made the decision a couple weeks after that.”
Hackett said he could have gained something from another year, but that it was the right time for him.
“It was a hard decision because my teammates and coaches, I love being around these people and the knowledge I was getting from Coach Patterson and the rest of the coaches,” he said. “They taught me everything I know about the game and how to play it.”
Coach Gary Patterson said linebacker Paul Dawson has two things required at the NFL level.
“Pure talent and instincts,” Patterson said. “He’s a great tackler. He reacts quick. It’s kind of like the pick he had against Oklahoma – he read the quarterback’s eyes, he made the play and he got a pick-6. He’s just one of those guys that he does what you can’t coach. We can get them in the right position, but not necessarily do they make plays.”
Dawson led the team with 136 tackles last year.
“It’s hard to make as many tackles as what he did a year ago and not be one of those guys,” Patterson said. “You put him in a system like that, and I think you have the opportunity for him to be successful.”
Dallas Cowboys linebacker coach Matt Eberflus said Dawson’s time in the 4-2-5 defense shows that he is a versatile linebacker.
“I think it’s helpful for all linebackers now,” Eberflus said. “You have to be able to be a three-down linebacker. And you have to be able to play against 11-personnel, because that’s what we’re seeing now. I think it makes you more valuable as a player if you can do that.”
Former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw at Pro Day and said he’s optimistic after the performance.
“I got some good response,” he said. “Talked to a few guys afterwards. I’m very hopeful of how it’s going to go from here.”
Pachall, third on the all-time school list in passing yards and No. 1 in completion percentage, last played in 2013, when injuries cut short his season.
“They were looking to see that I had still been training, keeping up, seeing if I was going to seize the opportunity that I was given out here, to come out and throw in front of these guys, and I feel like I did,” Pachall said. “Any invite or chance I get, I’m going to be really grateful for it and take advantage of it.”
Pachall, whose time with the Horned Frogs included a suspension for DWI in 2012, said he always feels welcome at TCU.
“This was my home for five years,” he said. “It doesn’t feel any different. It feels the same each time I come back to see the coaches, my former teammates. I really like being down here with these guys.”
He said he’s proud of Trevone Boykin, his former backup and now Heisman Trophy candidate.
“Great season. I’m really proud of how he did,” Pachall said. “And how the team did, as well. Looking forward to next season for them.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407