Troup became the second-highest NFL Draft pick ever to come out of UCF on Friday when he was selected 41st overall by the Bills. Troup, who had been told he could be picked anywhere from the second to fourth rounds, was the ninth player chosen in the second round.
Daunte Culpepper, who was picked No. 11 by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999, is the only UCF player ever picked higher than the 6-foot-2, 315-pound Troup.
Troup caught the eye of the Bills in a draft loaded with stellar talent at the defensive tackle position. Troup was the seventh defensive tackle taken in the first 41 picks. Ndamukong Suh (No. 2), Gerald McCoy (No. 3), Tyson Alualu (No. 10), Dan Williams (No. 26), Jared Odrick (No. 28), Brian Price (No. 35) and Troup (No. 41) were selected in the first round and a half.
Troup feels he’s about to make a big splash in Buffalo after playing a position that’s mostly overlooked.
“It’s a great feeling. I don’t get much publicity and I don’t play a glory position. So sometimes guys at my position get overlooked and I feel like I was a bit overlooked this year,” Troup said. “For the Bills to grab me at the beginning of the second round it’s a great feeling and that tells me that somebody is paying attention to all the hard work that I’m putting in and my great work ethic.”
Troup, a Conyers, Ga., native by way of Detroit, anchored UCF’s nationally ranked run defense this past season. He constantly drew double teams that freed up linebackers for tackles and helped sack specialist Bruce Miller to become the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
Troup started 39 of the 47 games in his career. He had 105 career tackles, 24 of which were for losses.
“I am very happy for Torell and his family,” UCF coach George O’Leary said. “He is very deserving of this opportunity as a player and I think it is great that he will get this chance to pursue his goal and dream of playing in the NFL.”
Troup, 22, was impressive participating in the East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Draft Combine, tying for third among all defensive linemen by bench-pressing 225 pounds 34 times. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 and 5.16 seconds.
Troup visited with six NFL teams and worked out for a dozen teams at UCF. The Bills showed little interest, but jumped at the chance to snag the powerful run-stopper.
“I talked to them a few times, not that much. Other than talking to them a few times, I didn’t really have much contact with them,” Troup said. “I have no problem with (playing nose guard) at all. I’m not a selfish player and to play nose tackle, you can’t be a selfish player. I feel like I can do all the things that they ask me to do.”
Troup didn’t start playing football until he entered high school in Georgia and hit UCF’s campus at 350 pounds. Following an offseason meeting with O’Leary, he worked hard to shed weight and played his sophomore season at 330 pounds, his junior year at 320 and at 315 as a senior.
Troup said that playing under O’Leary, a former defensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings, prepared him for the transition from college to the NFL.
“It’s going to be a big change. There’s better competition, stronger guys,” he said. “Some offensive linemen are in the 30s, I’m a young guy, I’m 22. But I feel like we’re going into camp and I’ll get some experience so I’ll be OK. It’s going to be a long grind for me but I’m willing to put in the work and I have no problem working hard every day. I’ll come to work every day with my hard hat.”
John Denton’s Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.