TCU’s Gary Patterson: Pro Day one of funnest days of year
TCU defensive end L.J. Collier couldn’t have envisioned a better Pro Day experience on Friday. He had a memorable day, working out in front of a number of NFL executives, including Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel.
“It really was humbling. I had a great time today, man,” Collier said. “Just enjoying the experience overall.”
The same can be said for every TCU player that took part in the Pro Day.
Collier, Ben Banogu and Ty Summers are the program’s top NFL prospects going into the 2019 NFL Draft, and certainly drew the most attention.
Vrabel headlined the list of coaches in town, along with Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Colts D-line coach Mike Phair.
Early feedback has been positive for the TCU players.
“[Collier] had an excellent workout,” Hall of Famer Gil Brandt tweeted.
“What he’s done since the season ended could be enough to slip him in at back end of Round 1, top of 2.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that he’d heard Summers “had a tremendous performance in drills.”
Collier has 10 Top 30 visits scheduled with teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears. Banogu said he’ll be visiting the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers in the coming weeks, as well as taking part in the Cowboys’ “Dallas Day” early next month.
NFL teams are allowed to bring in up to 30 pre-draft prospects for visits to the team’s facility to get to know them better. The Cowboys host a “Dallas Day” for prospects who either played in the area, or are from here.
For all of TCU’s players, though, simply getting in front of NFL executives is significant.
“I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to pursue this dream that I’ve had,” said Summers, who has fully recovered from an ankle injury that limited him last season.
“To do it here at TCU on familiar ground, it was a fun experience to do with my guys.”
Summers is viewed as a mid- to late-round draft pick. He’s hoping teams watch more of his sophomore and junior film, compared to his injury-plagued senior season, because that’s when he was healthier and played mostly linebacker.
While Collier, Banogu and Summers are already on NFL radars, the rest of the players going through the Pro Day are hoping to land on them.
For instance, linebacker Jawuan Johnson hopes that his height -- he measured a shade under 5-foot-11 -- isn’t too big of a knock. He heard he ran a sub 4.6-second 40-yard dash, and just wants a chance to make it at the next level.
The same can be said for players such as offensive lineman Chris Gaynor and linebackers Alec Dunham and Arico Evans. Even if it’s not the NFL, there are more opportunities nowadays with start-up leagues such as the Alliance of American Football and XFL.
For TCU coach Gary Patterson, Pro Day ranks among the best days of the year. Not only does he see his players chasing their professional dreams, several former players return to campus for it.
Patterson expected to have at least 80 people at his house on Friday night, catering in food from former player David Hawthorne’s barbecue restaurant, Not Just Q.
“For me, this is probably the funnest day that I have,” Patterson said.