The 6-2, 265-pound Maponga wasn't the consistent dominating presence in 2012 that he'd proven to be during a breakout sophomore campaign. The focus of every opponent's blocking scheme, Maponga was frequently double-teamed and struggled with a nagging leg injury which forced him to miss two full games and half of another. As a result, Maponga's numbers dropped significantly across the board.
After posting 55 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks in 2011, his numbers dropped to "just" 26 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks this past season. While Maponga's numbers slipped, he was also overshadowed by the development of true freshman Devonte Fields, who capitalized on single blocking to earn the Big 12's AP Defensive Player of the Year honors with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
Regardless, the drop in production didn't dissuade Maponga from making the leap to the NFL.
"I've decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft," Maponga tweeted Jan. 15 in announcing he would leave TCU a year early. "Thanks for three great years at TCU. I'll always have y'all in my heart."
While shorter than scouts would prefer, Maponga -- like Fields and a host of prior Gary Patterson-coached pass-rushers in recent years -- is a natural edge rusher. Maponga will have to ease scouts' concerns about the health of his leg and is electing to enter a draft class already loaded with plenty of intriguing hybrid pass-rushers.
WEAKNESSES: Too short to remain at defensive end for some NFL schemes. The lack of success former TCU edge rushers (Jerry Hughes, Bo Schobel) have enjoyed in the NFL could give decision-makers pause on draft day.