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Malik Robinson, 12 Houston Cougars to Attend NFL Pro Day


Malik Robinson
© Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and Big 12 Conference are teaming up to put on the first conference-wide Pro Day March 27-31, 2024. The Conference Pro Day will replace each school hosting its own Pro Day. The Houston Cougars and coach Willie Fritz will send 13 players to the Big 12 Pro Day. More than 130 Big 12 prospects will participate in the event.


Player workouts are open to the public from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 28 and March 30 if you can make the trip to the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas. The Pro Day will be many of the players' last chance to show what they are made of for NFL scouts. Below is a highlight of the thirteen Houston players and where they stand on the draft boards.



Tight Ends

Michael O'Laughlin- Mike spent most of his collegiate career with West Virginia, transferring to Houston only for the 2023 season but still had a good year with the Cougars. He had 12 receptions for 94 yards his longest of which was an 18-yard gain. As it sits, he is not catching much attention from the NFL, though a strong showing in Frisco could change that for him.


Offensive Line

Jack Freeman IV- Freeman had plenty of good things being said about him from scouts, having his quickness in the trenches being a focal point. Couple that with his physical and mental fortitude there is a lot to like about Freeman. He does have some weaknesses, scouts noted that he can struggle to show power at the point of attack and may need to work on his ability to recover quickly. Freeman is not on any draft boards yet, but a good showing could easily change that.


Patrick Paul- Paul had a great year in 2023, playing a total of 777 snaps he allowed just six quarterback hurries, one quarterback hit and no sacks. Scouts noted that he has great reach and uses it to impede the speed of edge rushers quite effectively. Although, he has shown he may struggle with precision hand placement which could be exploited by dynamic defenders. Paul is projected as a late second round pick and can only go up with a decent showing.


Patrick Paul
© Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

Nelson Ceaser- Ceaser has improved every year with a total of 43 tackles, one pass defended and an impressive 9.5 sacks while splitting his time between Defensive Line and Linebacker. Scouts noted that he plays with leverage at the point of attack whether on the inside or outside while keeping his eyes on the backfield. He can improve by developing counter moves in the pass rush and making better use of his hands. He is currently projected to be drafted in the fifth round.


David Ugwoegbu- before transferring to Houston for the 2023 season, Ugwoegbu played four years at Oklahoma with 2022 being his real breakout year having 109 tackles, one pass defended and two sacks. He was more rounded out with the Cougars, recording 41 tackles with three passes defended, three sacks and one forced fumble with split time between Defensive Line and Linebacker. Being projected to sign as an undrafted free agent, Ugwoegbu just might be able to slip into a late-round draft pick with a great showing in Frisco.


Linebackers

Malik Robinson- Robinson had his best season yet in 2023 at Houston, he totaled 81 tackles, a pass defended and even an interception. At this time, he is not on any draft boards, a great showing could at least have him signing as an undrafted free agent.


Defensive Backs

Antonio Brooks- Brooks had his best season so far with 25 solo tackles and 32 total tackles, unfortunately it was not quite enough to catch the attention of the NFL scouts yet. If he performs at the top of his game, he may be able to sneak into the league as an undrafted free agent.


Malik Fleming- Fleming seemed to not miss a beat on the move from G5 to P5, having the same number of tackles he did at East Carolina with 41, he also defended 5 passes and had 3 interceptions with the Houston Cougars. Fleming also filled out his role as a punt returner with 93 yards on 13 returns. He is another player that could easily make his way into the league with a great showing in Frisco.


Brian George- On stats alone George did not catch much attention gathering 37 tackles, 25 of which were solo and defending one pass. Scouts did note his ability to track the ball downfield and mentioned his innate feel for high point passes, they were also impressed with his willingness to fill in against the run and deliver violent hits in run support. He is currently looked at as an undrafted free agent and hopes to raise his stock into a late round pick.


Alex Hogan- Hogan is one player that is going to need a stellar showing at pro days. He put up below average stats with 16 tackles, 14 solo tackles and 3 passes defended and is not currently on any draft boards.


Hasaan Hypolite- Unfortunately Hypolite is in the same boat as Alex Hogan, totaling 33 tackles, 21 of which were solo with no passes defended. Currently he is not projected as a draft pick and hopes to at least catch a few eyes at Ford Center.


Long Snapper

Gavin Gately- Gately was able to help contribute to Houston's 50 punts for a total of over 2,000 yards by delivering consistent snaps that were not fumbled once this season. Unfortunately for Gately he is not projected to be drafted and will probably have to work his way up through a practice squad.


Laine Wilkins
© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Punter

Laine Wilkins- Wilkins delivered 49 punts for an average 42.2 yards per punt, with his longest being a 66 yarder. Having a background of playing Australian rules football his athletic abilities cannot be understated, hopefully that will be enough to get him some looks from the league.


What Pro Day means for these Houston Cougars

Going to Frisco represents a huge opportunity for many of these players to show their skills, in almost the same way as if they had been invited to the NFL Combine. Draft stocks could rise or fall depending on what happens in the next few days, but one thing is for certain, these players will be going all in!

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