The Best Draft?
Nothing beats a fine, well seasoned draft,…
The NFL draft is just a couple of days away. Auburn’s 2013 class of athletes may very well be the best in nearly a decade, possibly longer. Some are graduating seniors, a couple are gifted juniors who made the leap into the professional ranks, but all will be missed and celebrated by Auburn fans whomever they play for in the professional ranks.
Like a fine German Pilsner, the process is bittersweet as I know some of my favorite players will never wear Navy and White again, never feel the turf of Jordan-Hare under their feet, never celebrate a victory with the Auburn family on the field as anything but a spectator. They will be cheered by unfamiliar faces in unfamiliar places and never again hear the “Waaaaar Eagle!” on the field at kickoff thundering from the stands.
This is actually my least favorite time of the year, as the NFL Draft is usually the last mass-media mention of football until early August. The lawn will need regular mowing and edging now. The heat will be relentless, and the cool brisk fall days enjoying the games a distant memory.
It’s enough to drive a man to drink, finding solace in a cold one as we review Auburn’s draft prospects.
Admittedly, there are worse things in life,…
— Irish Toast
A 6’5″ 332 lb dominant left tackle whose dynamic run blocking was a catalyst for Auburn’s success on the left side of the field. Greg’s excellent mobility met and matched the best pass rushers of the Southeastern Conference and secured the pocket against nearly every blitzer sent his way.
At the combine, Greg ran a 4.84 second 40-yard dash and had a 9′ 7″ broad jump, which for a 332 lb lineman is just extraordinary. His balance, strength and physicality may propel him to the top of the NFL draft.
The fact that Shon Coleman and Gus Malzahn have been invited to the NFL Draft presentation might be an indication that some other people think so too.
6’2″ 252 lb outstanding edge pass rusher with excellent balance, speed and agility to beat even the most able of pass blockers on the edge. Dee Ford made his name across four full seasons at Auburn, including both national championship campaigns of 2010 and 2013.
While hampered by lingering injuries throughout his career and even into the combine, Dee should still be a fairly high pick in the draft, possibly even in the first round.
5′ 8″ 207 lb running back with excellent burst speed, agility and an almost uncanny knack for finding an inside crease and hitting it for extra yardage after contact. His 10′ 6″ broad jump and 38.5 vertical leap at the NFL combine displayed just how powerful his leg strength is.
But beyond that, Tre has displayed a work ethic and toughness that is truly exemplary. Time and again as the season wore on, he could be counted on to gain the extra yardage to propel the team down the field, maintaining drives and then suddenly bursting through for big gains. 663 of his 1816 rushing yards were earned in just the last three games against against some of the toughest defenses in the nation.
An outright steal for any team in the league, possibly even in the first round.
At 5’10” 202 lbs Chris is a little short for an NFL cornerback, but what he lacks in size he more than makes up in technique and heart. Draft after draft analysis point to his leadership, open field tackling and run support.
His skills as a speed return specialist should also be noted, even for those few people in Outer Mongolia who didn’t see the end of the 2013 Iron Bowl.
A late 6th-rounder, Davis will likely show his talents and maturity in camp and preseason. I expect him to do well in the NFL.
6’1″ 256 lb power blocking back who ran a 4.72 40 at Auburn’s Pro Day and did 27 reps on the bench press (four better than any other FB). Jay doesn’t have many statistics to display from the 2013 season, but tapes of his blocking could be used as training videos for proper technique.
Jay is a true throwback to an earlier age of Larry Csonka, John Riggins, and Mike Alstott. A powerful, disciplined and technically superb fullback whose precision blocking paved the way for his quarterback and running backs both at Illinois and Auburn. You can easily imagine him playing without a facemask and just a leather cap and doing just the same as he does with modern helmets and pads.
Another late round steal for any NFL team. Jay reminds me a great deal of Heath Evans, in size, ability and NFL potential.
Steven Clark/Cody Parkey
It’s rare that special team players are talked about during the NFL draft. Normally teams pick up these valuable players as free agents. Parkey and Clark are exceptional as both are being considered for late round picks.
Steven Clark’s precision punting is a thing of beauty. Time and again he dropped punts inside the five yard line with a backspin that defied belief, securing fantastic field positions for the defense and giving SEC offensive coordinators and head coaches migraines trying to dig themselves out of deep holes. That skill has not gone unnoticed among NFL teams, and he has a chance to secure a lasting career in the league.
Possibly as high as a fifth round pick – a tremendous pick for any specialist.
Cody Parkey has a steeper climb to secure an NFL slot, but still has a very decent shot due to his powerful leg and excellent kickoff skills (including an amazing onside kick ability). His draft prospect suffered slightly in the National Championship game when he missed a 33-yarder, but previous game winning kicks secured his place in the top three kickers in this year’s draft.
Seventh round potential, but well worth a look.
Honorable mention – Exceptional Auburn players who also have the potential to sneak in the final rounds of the draft
Nose Equae- Defensive End
Jake Holland – Linebacker
Craig Sanders – Defensive End
Ryan Smith – Safety
Ryan White – Cornerback
A fantastic selection of Auburn players in this year’s draft. I’m very impressed with each of them and look forward to watching them play with swelling pride (and swilling beer) this fall.
The French drink wine, the English tea.
The Yankee drinks his hot black coffee.
The child drinks milk nine times a day.
The Scotsman sips his whiskey toddy.
You can keep you wine and keep your tea!
My curse on him that brings me coffee!
I’ll drink porter, if I may.
It makes me feel content and happy.
Porter quaffed down with a laugh.
The gentry have their aching livers.
Water is all right in tea,
For fish, and things that swim in rivers.
Water is All Right in Tay – The Clancy Brothers