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TCU Led the Big 12 in NFL Draft Picks, But Where Were the Wins?

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Stanford vs Texas Christian

The weekend of fun is over and as we hopefully head to football as soon as possible, there was one thing that stuck out to me over the weekend. How in the world did TCU come off a 5-7 season and somehow manage to walk away from the 2020 NFL Draft with the most players selected in the Big 12? It is still a little mind boggling at this point. In fact, it seemed like every time a TCU player was taken, at least one draft analyst would mention their abysmal 5-7 2019 season. Is it fair to criticize? Absolutely. But the biggest question is, should we really be all that surprised?

TCU Quarterback Play

The days of Trevone Boykin feel like decades ago as TCU has been in a quarterback abyss the last several years. TCU has had twelve players drafted since 2017 and eight of those have been on the defensive side of the football. And to break it down even further, just one of the four offensive players drafted for the Frogs in the last four years was a skill player (WR Jalen Reagor 2020) as the rest were on the offensive line. This is crucial because while offensive lineman are important, they are not a ball dominant position that relies on another player to get their stats. Over the past four seasons, these are all the TCU starting quarterbacks. 

NameYearPass YardsTDINTComp %
Kenny Hill20163,208171361.1%
Kenny Hill20173,15223867.2%
Shawn Robinson20181,3349860.7%
Mike Collins20181,0596256.4%
Gray Muehlstein2018355 3455.5%
Alex Delton20193180154%
Max Duggan20192,077151053.3%

So, as you can see, TCU has had their fair share of struggles even simply getting the football to their receivers. Outside of Kenny Hill’s 2017 season, no other quarterback has even sniffed a completion percentage of 61% which is not exceptionally good to begin with. When your offensive players have these quarterbacks throwing them the football, it is no wonder why production has dropped over the years especially in the last two seasons. To me, the number of players from TCU that get drafted is high considering how unbalanced the numbers are on defense compared to the offense. Just imagine if TCU had better quarterback play over the last few years and how different these numbers could have been. Of course, I hate to be the “what if” guy but if there is one thing you cannot deny, it is the fact that TCU has had some poor quarterback play in the last four years. However, I do believe that current quarterback Max Duggan can change that. 

 

TCU Recruiting

Before I go on my rant here, look at these numbers. I only listed these three Big 12 schools because over the last four years, these were the top three Big 12 teams in terms of recruiting according to 247 Sports. 

SchoolDraft YearPrevious Season W-LRecruitingClass RankPlayers Drafted
Texas20175-725th1
Texas20187-63rd 4
Texas201910-43rd 2
Texas20208-59th 3
Totals30-224-Year Avg10th 10
SchoolDraft YearPrevious Season W-LRecruiting Class RankingPlayers Drafted
Oklahoma201711-28th4
Oklahoma201812-29th4
Oklahoma2019 12-26th8
Oklahoma2020 12-211th4
Totals 47-84-Year Avg8.5 20
SchoolDraft YearPrevious Season W-LRecruiting Class RankingPlayers Drafted
TCU20176-728th1
TCU201811-325th3
TCU20197-631st3
TCU20205-728th5
Totals29-234-Year Avg22.2512

By these numbers, Oklahoma is in a category of their own here. They have a slightly better average than Texas yet double the Longhorns in draft picks over the last four years. Not to mention, their win/loss record speaks for itself. However, look at Texas and TCU head to head. Texas ranks twelve spots higher in the four-year class average and has a better overall record by just a single game over TCU. Yet, the Frogs have produced more draft picks in the past four years. What is even more of an eye opener is the fact that TCU has had three first round draft picks in the last four drafts while Texas has not had any. In fact, Texas has had just one pick in the first two rounds in this time frame which was offensive tackle Connor Williams back in 2018.

 

Final Verdict 

You can laugh at the win loss record all you want, much like people do with Texas, but TCU has put themselves in position to succeed when it comes to putting players in the league. Sure, Gary Patterson is one of the best defensive minds in football but look at the talent he is bringing into Fort Worth each year. He has firmly established TCU as the third-best Big 12 school when it comes to recruiting. Think about, each year it seems like everyone is on the TCU bandwagon for the most part. You will usually see media members have them as a preseason top four Big 12 team no matter the previous season’s record. 

I have been saying one thing for the last few years when it comes to TCU: They have a conference championship caliber team but have had 6-6 quarterback play the last few years. The roster has talent on it, but it is time for a quarterback to make it all mesh together. Imagine a delicious sandwich with no bread. It is not even a sandwich. It is just a bunch of ingredients just sitting there waiting to be properly used or in this case, eaten. If the Frogs can get good quarterback play (which I think Max Duggan is more than capable of providing), then there will be more wins and that could lead to better recruiting classes. And with Gary still coaching them up, you could see the number of draft picks rise. So, the final answer is: no. We should not be all that surprised to see TCU produce NFL talent like this and I hope that my case here will show you that despite their win/loss record. 

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