Drafted TCU players step into elite NFL programs with Eagles, Rams

Joseph Noteboom started at TCU a year after it joined the Big 12. He redshirted his first year in 2013, a season in which the Frogs didn’t make a bowl game.

But Noteboom went to a bowl game every year in which he played the past four seasons. He and the rest of his teammates expect to contend and win more times than not.

That’s why Noteboom and two teammates selected in last week’s NFL Draft are excited to join NFL contenders. Noteboom and linebacker Travin Howard are going to the Los Angeles Rams, who won the NFC West last season, while offensive lineman Matt Pryor is headed to the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

All three were part of a news conference held at TCU on Wednesday.

"When I got here, TCU had just joined the Big 12 and they were on the rise," said Noteboom, the Rams’ third-round pick. "It’s kind of cool to be a part of teams that are starting their come up, starting to be recognized. I feel like the Rams, all the pieces they’ve added allows them a chance to be that."

Noteboom joins the highest-scoring team (478 points) in the NFL last season. The offense ranked 10th in total yards (361.5 per game) behind an attack that featured quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley II.

Defensively, Howard is excited to join a unit that has gone through major upgrades throughout the off-season. The Rams bolstered their secondary with the additions of cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, and have a formidable defensive tackle duo in Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald.

Howard felt he may join the Rams as a priority free agent, but they snagged him with in the middle of the seventh round instead. Still, he had heard the Rams’ sales pitch before being selected should he have hit the undrafted free agent market.

"That’s one thing they were trying to sell me on – they were calling me everyday, saying: 'We've got this guy, this guy. You’re going to be running behind this guy, this guy,'" Howard said, smiling. "Just going to a great program."

Howard is also ready to learn from one of the great defensive minds in football, Rams defensive coordinator and former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips.

"Wade Phillips … he’s a legend," Howard said. "I’m excited to get out there. Just like Coach P [TCU coach Gary Patterson] is a defensive guy, [Phillips] is a defensive guy."

For Pryor, the chance to join the reigning Super Bowl champions couldn’t be sweeter. He’ll be reunited with his former college teammate, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, known as “Big V,” and work under Philly O-line coach Jeff Stoutland.

"It’s one of the greatest feelings anybody can have, going to a team that just won the championship," Pryor said. "The O-line coach is considered the GOAT [greatest of all time] there. I’ve been talking to Big V about it. … Words can’t really describe it."

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