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How TCU’s UDFAs will fit with their NFL teams

Five Horned Frogs signed pro contracts despite going undrafted this year.

Baylor v TCU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The TCU football program had its most successful NFL Draft since 2016, with five Horned Frogs getting selected this past week including Jalen Reagor, Jeff Gladney, Ross Blacklock, Lucas Niang and Vernon Scott. TCU wasn’t finished, however, as five more Horned Frogs inked NFL contracts as undrafted free agents. Three players are staying in the Lone Star State, while two other are heading east.

Sewo Olonilua & Darius Anderson — Dallas Cowboys

TCU had two running backs go undrafted this year, but both players found homes shortly after the draft, signing free-agent contracts with the Dallas Cowboys. Oloniliua and Anderson represented TCU’s thunder-and-lightning combination over the last four seasons, combining for 4,649 yards and 37 total touchdowns including 15 touchdowns this season.

At 6 feet 3 inches and weighing 232 pounds at the combine, Olonilua has the size and strength to earn his stripes in the NFL. A well-documented weight room monster, Olonilua frequently shined during TCU’s Night of Champions events, even squatting 705 pounds during his senior season. The Cowboys reportedly signed Olonilua with an interest in getting him reps at fullback, where he’ll challenge veteran Jamize Olawale.

Anderson broke out with the Horned Frogs during his sophomore campaign, totaling 825 yards and eight touchdowns including a 201-yard performance in TCU’s road win over Oklahoma State. He struggled to stay healthy as a junior, but the 5-foot-10, 208-pounder bounced back with a strong start to his senior season, topping 100 yards in three straight games against Purdue, SMU and Kansas. He’ll compete with second-year running back Jordan Chunn for a reserve running back position.

Anthony McKinney — Tennessee Titans

After transferring to the Horned Frogs from Iowa Western Community College, McKinney appeared in 24 games with 20 starts at left tackle over the 2018 and 2019 seasons. A lengthy athlete, the 6-foot-8 tackle arrived at TCU as a four-star recruit, and he’ll depart as yet another offensive lineman churned out by the Horned Frogs, who are developing a reputation as the new O-Line-U. McKinney will battle for a depth position with the Titans, who drafted Georgia tackle Isaiah Wilson in the first round to replace veteran Jack Conklin.

Cordel Iwuagwu — Houston Texans

At 6 feet 3 inches and 311 pounds, Iwuagwu may not have ideal size for the guard position, but he interestingly took reps at center in preparation for the NFL Draft. A three-year starter at left guard, Iwuagwu appeared in 38 games and totaled 32 career starts. The 2019 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention could see more success at center, where the Texans only have two players listed on their 2020 depth chart. With Houston, Iwuagwu will reunite with TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, who the Texans took in the second round Friday evening.

Tre’Vontae Hights — Carolina Panthers

Despite spending five years with the TCU football program, Hights produced very sparingly throughout his career. After recording a career-high eight receptions for 108 yards against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Hights didn’t log another catch for the remainder of the season, despite appearing in five games. Mostly known as a long-ball threat, Hights logged two touchdown receptions of over 50 yards his junior season, with one coming against Ohio State. He also had a 56-yard touchdown haul against Jackson State in 2017.

Hights will have a lot of competition for a roster spot. Carolina will roll into 2020 with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel as its three top pass catchers. Veterans Seth Roberts and Pharoh Cooper are projected to be the leaders for backup positions, while Hights currently rosters as a fourth-string option.