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Evaluating TCU linebacker Garret Wallow’s NFL Draft destinations

A projected late-round choice, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound defender could be a steal for the right team.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas Christian Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The TCU football team will sorely miss senior linebacker Garret Wallow next season, but one lucky NFL franchise will be blessed to have his defensive talents on its roster. Although Wallow currently projects to be a late-round selection, his durability and production at the college level could make him one of the steals of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound inside linebacker has been a mainstay on the TCU defense over the last three seasons, compiling 287 total tackles, 173 solo tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 35 games during that span. A former high school safety, Wallow bulked up and moved down to linebacker with the Horned Frogs, something head coach Gary Patterson has made a successful habit of over the last several seasons at TCU.

Wallow was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl this season, but he couldn’t perform after testing positive for COVID-19. Wallow was also one of four TCU prospects to be selected for the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine, which unfortunately won’t be happening this season because of the ongoing pandemic. Any teams looking to scout Wallow beyond his game tape should follow the TCU Pro Day on March 19, where the two-time First-Team All-Big 12 honoree will be one of multiple Horned Frog prospects working out for NFL teams.

With mock drafts beginning to circulate, where do some writers and bloggers think Wallow will land? Rotoballer’s DJ Boyer pegged Wallow to the Detroit Lions in the sixth round, while WalterFootball.com has Wallow and teammate Ar’Darius Washington going back-to-back in the fourth round, with Wallow heading to the Washington Football Team. Pro Football Network’s AJ Schulte thinks Wallow fits with the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round. While seven-round mocks are scarce online, most view Wallow as a Day 3 prospect.

At 230 pounds, Wallow may be slightly undersized for the traditional middle linebacker role in a 4-3 defensive scheme, but his versatility and experience as a safety could bode well if he finds a role as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, much like former TCU standout Ty Summers with the Green Bay Packers. Should Wallow serve a strong-side role in a 4-3 scheme, Cleveland could use depth behind Sione Takitaki, while the WFT would allow Wallow to compete with backup linebacker Justin Phillips, whose played only two regular season games since 2019. The Lions are already three-deep at the Sam spot.

Wallow’s most optimal fit would be as a 3-4 inside linebacker, and there are plenty of teams that run 3-4 base defenses who could use a durable, proven contributor on defense. A terrific run stopper with TCU, Wallow’s next step will be to show his coverage ability, something he’ll need to demonstrate as a strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 base scheme. Should Wallow be selected, he’d be the third TCU inside linebacker taken over the last four seasons, joining Summers and former Horned Frog stud Travin Howard.