TCU’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects led by Quentin Johnston, Steve Avila

How much 2023 NFL Draft talent do the TCU Horned Frogs have in stock in 2022, and can they use it to their benefit on and off the field?

Who does TCU have on deck in the 2023 NFL Draft? Here’s a look at the Horned Frogs’ next crop of NFL talent, headlined by a potential first-rounder in wide receiver Quentin Johnston.

TCU prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

The Horned Frogs are entering a new era under Sonny Dykes. Changes like this naturally come with uncertainty, but there’s also reason to be excited for TCU. There’s an underrated degree of talent on both sides of the ball, and that talent could help them win a few more games than expected in 2022.

Max Duggan, QB

He’s not a world-beater, but the TCU Horned Frogs have found some stability at quarterback with Max Duggan. Over the past three seasons, Duggan has been a mainstay for TCU, completing 472 of 806 attempts for 5,920 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He’s also added almost 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

Duggan has the look of a good college QB who might not translate to the pros. But with his athleticism, serviceable arm talent, and toughness, he could be an appealing backup.

Kendre Miller, RB

Most of the eyes followed Zach Evans away from TCU when he announced his decision to transfer to Ole Miss. But there’s still a back worth watching in the Horned Frogs’ backfield, and that back is Kendre Miller. Now listed at 6’0″, 218 pounds, Miller has been adding mass in preparation for his greatest opportunity yet.

With Evans gone, Miller is the lead back, and he could break out in 2022. He’s already proven to be a very efficient player with his burst, agility, and hard-charging style. 2022 is his chance to get on the 2023 NFL Draft radar.

Emari Demercado, RB

Evans’ departure not only moves Miller into the lead back spot but also moves super-senior Emari Demercado up to No. 2. Demercado has only been a rotational back in his four years with TCU, but 2021 was his most productive year yet. Demercado took 96 carries and put up 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Another uptick may be a lot to ask with Miller taking the premier role, but Demercado is at least worth monitoring with his long-striding acceleration and physicality.

Quentin Johnston, WR

Few prospects have more on the line, and more potential, than TCU’s Quentin Johnston in 2022. Johnston only caught 33 passes in 2021, but he managed 634 yards and six scores on those receptions.

There’s a reason Johnston is in the first-round conversation, even without elite production. He brings a near-elite combination of size and athleticism, as well as an alpha mentality that serves him well in contested situations. Johnston’s three-level upside is rare.

Derius Davis, WR

Contrasting the outrageously long 6’4″ frame of Johnston, Derius Davis is only around 5’9″, 168 pounds. What Davis lacks in overwhelming size, however, he makes up for with quick-twitch movement skills and dynamic athleticism.

Davis has been a star return man for the Horned Frogs in years past. But in 2021, they involved him on offense more than before. After putting up 560 yards and two scores on 46 total touches, perhaps Davis can keep the arrow trending up in 2022.

Taye Barber, WR

Also joining Johnston in the TCU receiver group will be Taye Barber. Like Davis, Barber is also listed at 5’9″, and while a bit heavier, he too lacks dominating size. His past four seasons at TCU have been almost identical — all in the range of 29-32 catches.

2021 was the first time Barber eclipsed 500 yards, however, so there’s a chance he could ride that momentum into a strong 2022 campaign. More likely than not, Barber is just a complementary threat for TCU. But the presence of Johnston will naturally draw eyes to him.

Andrew Coker, OT

A traditional collegiate right tackle, Andrew Coker is the mountainous blocker on the far end of the TCU offensive line. Listed at 6’7″, 319 pounds, he towers over most of his opponents and teammates and gives the Horned Frogs a wall on the right side.

From an NFL Draft prospect standpoint, Coker is less appealing. He’s not a great athlete, struggles with leverage, and his anchor could be a bit stronger. But Coker has the RT spot locked down, and with it comes a renewed opportunity to keep improving.

Alan Ali, OL

A transfer from SMU, joining his head coach Sonny Dykes, Alan Ali will be relied upon to bolster TCU’s offensive line. He played center at SMU but figures to slide over to guard with Steve Avila at the fulcrum for the Horned Frogs.

Ali has the tools to play both spots. He’s a bit light at 6’5″, 309 pounds, but he has decent functional athleticism and visible proportional length. His wealth of experience as a starter should also help him translate wherever he lands across the line.

Steve Avila, C

The Horned Frogs quietly have one of the best centers in the nation. Steve Avila has a lot of competition in the 2023 NFL Draft center class, but he’s right in the mix for one of the top spots.

The 6’4″, 334-pound blocker is a menace in a phone booth, with long arms that can channel great amounts of power. But he also flashes methodical hand usage and plays with a wide, steady base. He’s exactly the kind of player you want at center, and his success in college could translate to the pros.

Terrell Cooper, DT

He’s a bit undersized at 6’2″, 283 pounds, and he’s also not overly explosive. Those factors, along with his age as a sixth-year senior, likely limit Terrell Cooper’s ceiling in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle.

But Cooper could be worth a look in the PFA circuit. He has good proportional length and frame density and amassed a wealth of experience at TCU. Nevertheless, he’ll need a strong 2022 campaign to rise up the draft pool.

Dylan Horton, EDGE

One of the more intriguing prospects on TCU’s roster, Dylan Horton could help add to the depth of the 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class. Horton played his first two seasons at New Mexico before transferring to TCU in 2020.

His first season with the Horned Frogs was uneventful, but Horton broke out in 2021, registering 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks. Listed at 6’4″, 268 pounds, Horton has packed on almost 20 pounds since last summer. He’s fairly explosive, with a hot motor, and he could be primed to emerge.

Dee Winters, LB

Dee Winters has slowly but surely been building a stronger presence on the 2023 NFL Draft radar. In 2020, he racked up 9.5 tackles for loss in a career-defining season. Then, in 2022, he lifted the bar again, logging a career-high in tackles (74) while adding two picks and two deflections.

Winters has room to add more mass, but he’s explosive, rangy, and fluid. He has the tools to be a three-down linebacker. An ascension in an unsettled LB class is very much possible for Winters.

Marcel Brooks, LB

It’s been a whirlwind of a college career for former five-star recruit Marcel Brooks. Lauded as a future first-round pick out of Marcus, Texas, Brooks first signed as a linebacker at LSU. He then transferred to TCU in 2020, and after a year of bolstering the reserves, he transitioned to wide receiver. One year and five catches later, he’s back to LB. The CFB world is still waiting for Brooks to break out. Back at his old position, is this the year it happens?

Noah Daniels, CB

Injuries have undermined Noah Daniels to this point in his career, but the TCU cornerback has undeniable talent. He stands just under 6’0″ with a strong frame. And according to the 2021 edition of Feldman’s Freaks, he has a personal-best 40-yard dash of 4.27.

That recovery speed is rare and can be an asset at cornerback. Staying healthy is the ultimate task for Daniels. If he can do that, he gives himself a chance to rise.

Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB

Despite his size, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson earned some early Day 2 hype in the 2022 NFL Draft cycle. That hype came off the heels of a 2020 campaign that saw him produce 13 pass deflections. 2021 was quietly another strong year for Hodges-Tomlinson, but he decided to return to school and keep making the climb up.

At around 5’8″, 177 pounds, Hodges-Tomlinson is noticeably undersized. But he’s a phenomenal athlete and a gnat in coverage. He should have an NFL future.

C.J. Caesar, CB

Daniels and Hodges-Tomlinson are the most well-known talents in the TCU cornerback room. Beyond them, however, there’s also redshirt senior C.J. Caesar. He started seven games and played in 12 in 2021, picking up five pass deflections in the process.

Caesar is dangerously light, listed at 5’11”, 166 pounds. But if he can pack on more mass and improve his play strength, he has the speed and the athleticism. He’s a name to watch in a crowded secondary.

Mark Perry, S

Transferring over from Colorado, Mark Perry gives TCU a mold of safety they lacked in 2021 and years past. Now listed at 6’0″, 213 pounds, Perry sports a sturdy build and can play from multiple alignments.

He lined up deep at times for the Buffaloes in 2021 but also has the ability to come into the slot and enforce in the box. Perry’s play strength pops when attacking blocks in run defense, but with three interceptions this past season, he’s shown he has a playmaking side as well.

Nook Bradford, S

A stabilizing agent for the TCU secondary, Nook Bradford returns at one of the starting safety spots after a career year in 2021 that saw him pick up 52 tackles, a pick, and two pass deflections. Bradford won’t wow you from a size or athleticism perspective, but he has some functional versatility for the Horned Frogs. He’s shown he can make plays in coverage and in run support. More consistency will be of his benefit in 2022.

Namdi Obiazor, S

It might be tough for him to earn extended reps on the defensive side of the ball, but Namdi Obiazor is at least worth mentioning among TCU’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Obiazor is a transfer from Iowa Western CC, where he was modestly productive in the secondary.

Most intriguing with Obiazor is his size — he’s listed at 6’3″, 205 pounds, with size that contrasts much of the TCU DB group. He likely makes an imprint on special teams first, but he has intriguing traits that could help him ascend.

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