“Better than Andy Dalton!” It wasn’t all that long ago that many people had the opinion that TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was destined to not only follow in Andy Dalton’s footsteps to the NFL, but even eclipse Dalton at the next level.
In recent weeks and months, however, things have taken a turn for the worst for Pachall, and his NFL future now looks very cloudy.
Unlike Dalton, Pachall was a “blue-chip” recruit who had offers to play at Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan and Nebraska, among others. Pachall opted to stay close to home, and play for Gary Patterson, and with it came high expectations, as he entered 2011 trying somehow to replace Dalton, who had set the bar very high for the program moving forward.
As a sophomore in 2011, Pachall looked well on his way to meeting all expectations, posting an 11-2 record, with a stellar, 25/7 TD/INT ratio. Pachall shined the brightest in TCU’s upset victory over then-Top 5 and undefeated, Boise State on the road.
Pachall threw for five touchdowns, 473 yards and got the upset victory for the Horned Frogs. Pachall also broke many single-season records Dalton had just established, setting TCU’s single-season records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5), passing yards (2,921). All this as a sophomore, so with possibly two years left for Pachall at TCU, the NFL was well within his sights!
Unfortunately, 2012 has in large part been a train wreck for Pachall off the field, and whether he will ever even play again in college, let alone in the NFL, is very much an uncertainty.
In August, TCU confirmed that Pachall had failed a university-administered drug test on Feb. 1, just two weeks after four TCU football players were arrested in a campus drug bust, where Pachall told police he had used drugs.
Then on October 4, Pachall was pulled over, and subsequently registered a blood-alcohol concentration of greater than .15, nearly twice the legal limit in Texas, and was charged with driving while intoxicated. Head coach Gary Patterson announced later that day that Pachall had been suspended indefinitely.
Pachall has now decided to enter a drug-rehab program and has withdrawn from school for the time being. Patterson has left the door open for his return, saying if he completes rehab, gets clean and enrolls in the spring, he’ll have a great shot to be allowed back on the team.
However, many are wondering if Pachall should just take his chances now, and leave for the NFL draft next year, or possibly the supplemental draft, which many troubled college players have chosen to do. Everything we’ve seen on the field from Pachall has been outstanding, and as young as he is, NFL scouts would love to develop his talent and find a diamond in the rough for cheap.
Pachall would surely get picked up by an NFL team if he that’s what he decided to do. He likely would not be selected in the 2013 draft, but there is no doubt he would find his way onto an NFL Training Camp roster next year.
However, Pachall’s best move, without question, would be to get his off-field life cleaned up, re-enroll at TCU next year and continue playing at the college level. If he works hard and gets back on the field, he can prove to everybody that he is beyond his past personal troubles, possibly earn a renewed respect from his coach and teammates and show he is a changed man.
Giving up on college would not look good on his “resume,” and the experience and maturation process to be undergone would be priceless.
The NFL will always be ready for Casey Pachall, but Pachall himself, is not currently ready for the NFL. Hopefully he takes care of his business, works hard, matures, and we can look forward to seeing Pachall on the field again for TCU next year, and then, possibly in the 2014 NFL draft!
Nolan Vasan: NFL Draft Geek