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Dylan Horton
NFL Draft

Senior Bowl 2023: Get To Know Dylan Horton

  • Justin Melo
  • January 23, 2023
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The 2023 Senior Bowl will provide an opportunity for NFL draft prospects to prove themselves on the largest pre-draft stage. TCU defensive lineman Dylan Horton plans on taking full advantage. Horton recently spoke exclusively with the Senior Bowl and Draft Network to discuss his motivation for accepting his invitation to compete in Mobile, Alabama. 

Horton also talked about what he’s striving to prove to NFL general managers and scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl, his abilities as a pass rusher and run stopper, positional versatility, and more. Let’s get to know Dylan Horton a little better.

JM: Where were you when you found out about your Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?

Dylan Horton: I remember we had a team meeting before practice. Coach Sonny Dykes was giving us a speech before practice like he does every day.  We were sitting in a team meeting and he announced which players were receiving an invite to the Senior Bowl.

I was initially surprised because I hadn’t heard anything. I went to the coach’s office and picked up my invite. My initial reaction, I was extremely happy. I couldn’t wait to tell my family about this opportunity.

JM: That sounds like an incredible moment. What was your motivation for accepting the Senior Bowl’s offer?

Dylan Horton: My motivation to accept the offer was that I received an offer in the first place (laughs). I know how legendary the Senior Bowl is. So many excellent players have walked those halls. It’s a huge deal for me. I was so happy to receive an invite.

JM: We’re so happy for you. What are you looking to prove to NFL general managers, coaching staffs, and scouts in attendance in Mobile?

Dylan Horton: I’m excited to answer any questions they may have about my abilities. Hopefully, I show everybody that I’m a good football player. I’m going to prove that I’m a good person, the type of person they’d want to welcome into their organization. 

JM: When we turn the tape on, we see a player with terrific positional versatility. You played all over the line for TCU. What is it about your frame and abilities that allow you to play multiple positions?

Dylan Horton: Specifically about my frame, I’m a relatively long player. That helped me put on weight and play a more versatile role as a guy that could play multiple defensive line positions. It helped me successfully make a position change. I have to give credit to our training staff for getting me ready. They worked with me to make sure I was adding the weight I needed to fill a role for our defense.

JM: Let’s go into more detail regarding what your position change entailed.

Dylan Horton: Initially under coach Gary Patterson, we ran a 4-2-5 front. I was an EDGE defender. When coach Sonny Dykes came in, [defensive coordinator] coach Joe Gillespie ran a 3-3-5 odd front.

I essentially switched from more of an outside EDGE defender that had C-gap contain to a defensive end that rotates from a five [technique] all the way to a three [technique]. I had to play more inside. I needed to gain a little bit more weight in order to make that transition. I had to get ready to take on more double teams throughout the season. 

JM: You made one heck of a transition. We saw you reduce inside a bunch more in 2022. How would you describe your pass rush arsenal? What are some of your go-to moves, counters, and so on?

Dylan Horton: I believe when you watch the film, you’ll notice that I preferred going inside. That 3-3-5 scheme that we ran allowed me to have more B-gap responsibilities. I was allowed to take advantage of that by threatening the inside with more consistency. 

My defensive line coach JaMarkus McFarland, we practiced working my long-arm move as a universal pass-rushing move. I can long-arm and bull rush inside or long-arm and rush outside. The emphasis was to work off the long-arm.

JM: You’re violent in the run game as well. You don’t shy away from contact in the trenches. What do you enjoy about stopping the run?

Dylan Horton: As a defense, you want to stop the run in order to limit the options at the offense’s disposal. Once you stop the run, it opens up the entire playbook and you have more opportunities to rush the quarterback.

JM: Now that you’ve had time to reflect on it, how do you look back on your decision to transfer from New Mexico to TCU?

Dylan Horton: It was an incredibly difficult decision to make at that moment. I’m ultimately thrilled that I followed through with my decision. My family and I sat down and talked about my situation. I’m happy that I came to TCU to finish my college career.

JM: It sure did work out for you. What can you accomplish at the Senior Bowl that you can’t at other pre-draft events?

Dylan Horton: I’m excited to play in a four-down defense again. I’ll be coming off the EDGE again. I’m excited to showcase those abilities again. It’s essentially been a full season since I’ve been in that type of role. I’m ready to jump back into it. I didn’t play in those four-down looks.

I’m excited to speak with scouts. I want to display my communication skills with NFL coaches. I love meeting new people. I know I’m going to have an amazing experience in Mobile.

JM: We’re so excited for you. At the end of the week, what does a successful Senior Bowl week look like for Dylan Horton?

Dylan Horton: A successful Senior Bowl includes me showing everybody what I can do on the field. I’m excited to meet and speak with NFL coaches and scouts. I want them to get a good feel for who I am as a person. I’m going to meet a bunch of new people. I can’t wait for the unique experience that is the Senior Bowl.

View Horton’s full scouting report here.

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Justin Melo