Dylan Horton, EDGE, TCU | NFL Draft Scouting Report

TCU EDGE Dylan Horton was on the hunt all through 2022, and now, he's viewed as one of the 2023 NFL Draft's rising prospects with his scouting report.

He was one of the stars of TCU’s 2022 playoff run. And soon, TCU EDGE Dylan Horton will be in the NFL. His evaluation isn’t quite as simple as other prospects, but with his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, Horton has the upside to fill a growing need for defensive versatility.

Dylan Horton NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Edge Rusher
  • School: TCU
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height/Weight: 6’4″, 275 pounds

Horton is not hard to miss on the field. He’s a 6’4″, 275-pound tank running down quarterbacks like J.J. McCarthy in pursuit. It’s almost shocking to look back at Horton’s high school profile, back when he was just a 202-pound safety from Frisco, Texas.

Horton first joined the New Mexico Lobos in 2018, transitioning to a linebacker role shortly after signing. After procuring 36 tackles, four tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks in two seasons, Horton transferred to TCU, where his evolution continued and accelerated.

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In 2020, Horton reached 244 pounds. In 2021, he reached 250 pounds and became a regular presence on the line, amassing 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks in 12 games.

2022 was Horton’s peak form; 275 pounds, 14 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, four pass deflections, a forced fumble, and honorable mention All-Big 12 honors — all capped off by a four-sack performance against Michigan in the CFB Playoff.

Horton has the production and the traits. He was listed as a Feldman Freak in the 2022 offseason, with a documented 4.55 40-yard dash, a 38″ vertical, a 10′ broad jump, and a 700-pound squat. The numbers all work to back up Horton — but what does the tape say?

Dylan Horton Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Well-sized defensive lineman with great overall frame density and solid length.
  • With his size, has the alignment versatility to play head-up at 5-tech or move inside.
  • Very explosive linear athlete who gets off the line with great burst, surging into contact.
  • Has great raw power capacity with size, burst, and violent, energetic drive.
  • Has enough lateral twitch and movement freedom to counter inside with swims.
  • Has the lower body strength to lock out and prevent displacement in run defense.
  • Showcases high-end torque and strength in run defense, and can pry through blocks.
  • Flashes the ability to properly load his base and acquire leverage off the snap.
  • High-motor rusher who will fight through contact and give constant effort.
  • Closes ground quickly in pursuit, with the straight-line speed to overwhelm.

Areas for Improvement

  • Noticeably stiff and upright as a rusher, and visibly lacks bend and change of direction.
  • Can be late off the snap and uncoordinated with his initial moves at times.
  • High-hipped rusher who can struggle to acquire and maintain leverage through reps.
  • Has below-average hip flexibility and ankle flexion, and struggles to surpass the apex.
  • Proportional length is not elite, which puts a cap on maximum power capacity and reach.
  • Hands are slow and inefficient too often, minimizing load and energy output.
  • Often lacks synergy and precision with hands, and can improve timing of strikes.
  • Can be more consistent stacking counters on top of initial power exertions.

TCU EDGE Dylan Horton Current Draft Projection

On tape, Horton comes away with a priority Day 3 grade, but it’s entirely possible that his Senior Bowl and NFL Combine performances could drive him up into Day 2. Horton is projected to test very well. Plus, depending on how teams view his role at the next level, Horton’s unique scheme-related upside could give him a boost.

As a true edge rusher, Horton’s utility may be somewhat limited. At 6’4″, 275 pounds, he’s very explosive and powerful, but he’s also noticeably stiff at the apex. His below-average bend could be a hindrance against NFL tackles, especially when his hand usage is still a work in progress.

One could argue that both Horton’s explosive straight-line athleticism and power-dominated style of hand use are more translatable on the interior, in a versatile role between 3-tech and 4i.

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Horton is not adept at stacking counters, especially on the edge. But farther inside, his ability to get under pads and displace with bull rushes could be invaluable. Seeing that he was able to build his way up to 275 pounds after coming out of high school as a 200-pound safety, it’s not unreasonable to suggest Horton could reach 285 or 290 and still retain his explosiveness.

The best role for Horton won’t move him from the edge entirely, however. He still serves a purpose as a 5-tech on running downs with his raw strength, violence, and ability to shed blocks and close ground in pursuit. With his motor, he can be a threat from wherever he lines up.

He’ll need to keep refining his hand usage and learn to better manage his leverage. But as a dynamic 4i with situational flexibility, Horton has the upside to become a quality starter in hybrid fronts. On Day 1, he can be a valuable rotational presence, with disruptive two-phase ability.

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