As fall training approaches, there’s renewed optimism and buzz about the fanbase – Bryan Harsin’s Auburn team enters the 2022 season with a debut roster favorable season, potentially a new quarterback in Zach Calzada or Robbie Ashford, and a defense that’s poised to be one of the best in the SEC.
As we enter fall camp, let’s take a look at which Auburn players will be of most interest to NFL scouts based on their measurable and past performance.
1. RB Bigsby Reservoir – 6’0, 213 – Junior
Any discussion of Auburn’s NFL hopes has to start with Bigsby. The Lagrange, GA junior was SEC Rookie of the Year after racking up for 834 yards and 5 touchdowns in an injury-shortened 2020 campaign and followed that up with a 1,099-yard, 10-TD season in 2021. Now in full swing health and a full offseason suppressed from rumors of a potential transfer, Bigsby is focused on the “little things” needed to lead Auburn to victory in 2022, widely seen as their final year before becoming a first-day pick.
SI Scouting Report: “Rumpy athlete who carries the ball with force. Compact frame that reflects a robust running style. His leading role is unquestionable.
2. EDGE Derick Hall – 6’3, 256 – Senior
Hall, a potential early entrant into the 2021 NFL Draft after a 9-sack, 12-TFL season that landed him 2nd team in the SEC, surprised everyone by returning for his senior season on the Plains. He should pay with fellow EDGE Eku Leota to form the deadliest tandem in the SEC before leaving for the NFL.
SI scouting report: “A special athlete with the versatility, curvature, length and burst to be an elite passer in the NFL. Must learn to play his skill set, and currently projects as a developmental play valuable and a designated passer with the value of special teams.”
3. DE Colby Wood – 6’5, 284 – Junior
A two-year starter on Auburn’s defensive line, Wooden is a versatile and athletic defenseman who anchored the Auburn defense for two seasons. Playing defensive end on the weak side, Wooden has 9 career sacks and 18.5 TFLs, as well as 107 total tackles over two seasons. With experience in both a two-point and three-point position, Wooden has the versatility to play through the defensive line.
SI Scouting Report: “An impressive mover for his size, Colby Wooden has the length to establish and manage distance; when setting up the edge, he uses leverage and his long arms to stack and window players While the Auburn defensive lineman offers intriguing movement abilities, his game is plagued by underdeveloped technique and inefficiency.”
4. LB Owen Pappoe – 6’1, 225 – Senior
Nicknamed “The Freak”, Pappoe is a returning team captain who has the athletic traits teams covet, but also struggles with injuries. Beginning in his true freshman season, where he started every game at linebacker, Pappoe flashed from sideline to sideline, chasing ball carriers and disrupting passing plays with his speed and agility. . He missed eight games in 2022, including an ankle injury that kept him out of the final four games of the season and spring training. Now fully healthy, Pappoe is ready to close out his college career as the undisputed leader of the linebacking room and a difference-maker on the field.
SI Scouting Report: “An undersized athletic linebacker with great reach and instincts. Papoe is a smart player who has above average physicality and a shock in his hands to take blocks. likely to take bad angles. Should become a solid starter with value for special teams if he can improve his tackling.”
5. CB Nehemiah Pritchett – 6’1, 182 – Senior
Pritchett, a two-year starter at cornerback, plans to be the No. 1 corner for Jeff Schmedding’s defense following Roger McCreary’s departure in the NFL Draft. Considered a potential Top 5 in this upcoming NLF Draft, the long and athletic Pritchett has the traits to excel in man and zone coverage, but will be tested by the brutal roster of SEC wide receivers that ‘he will be responsible for covering, including LSU. Kayshon Butte and Jermaine Burton of Alabama.
6. EDGE Eku Leota – 6’4, 257 – Senior
Northwestern’s move, now in his 2nd season at Auburn, made an impact quickly once he entered the starting lineup against Akron. Amassing 7 sacks and 10 TFLs, he formed a lethal duo with Derick Hall. Finishing the season with three sacks in its last four games, the ‘Absolute Unit’ uses its powerful lower body to anchor and drive blockers, while its passing rushing package largely consists of double hand shots and dip/rip combinations rather than bend the corner and win with pure speed. Profiles as 3-4 OLB to the next level.
7. RG Keiondre Jones – 6’4, 340 – Junior
The only offensive lineman to start every game in 2021, Jones is a hard-hitting inside anchor on the offensive line. Possessing a strong lower body, he showcases his thick frame and powerful hands to drive his opponent to the ground. He’s not the most athletic lineman, but his power and mauling mentality should make him attractive to NFL scouts as a development prospect.
8. K Anders Carlson – 6’5, 215 – Senior
Carlson, the younger brother of former Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson, appears to be following in his brother’s footsteps and bringing his talents to the NFL after his senior season. Just the second two-time academic All American in Auburn football history, he is expected to return from a torn ACL suffered against Mississippi State that cost him the remainder of the 2021 season and hurt his career. draft stock. With a career 53-yard FG and kickoff experience, he offers a huge leg but is also only 67 of 93 on field goal attempts (72.04%) for his career, so he’s looking to regain his 2020 form where he went 20-22 (90.91%) in the shortened 11-game campaign.
9.P Oscar Chapman – 6’3, 202 – Junior
Auburn’s second consecutive Aussie punter, after Arryn Siposs went to the NFL as a junior, Chapman, a native of Adelaide, South Australia, has had one of the best punting seasons in history of Auburn in 2021. He finished the year in the Top 20 in the nation (and Top 3 in the SEC) in net yards per punt – how many yards each punt, on average, backed the opposing attack from 4th place – in addition to being ranked among the top 5 in the country by PFF. He was a crucial weapon in Auburn’s four-overtime loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, with his ten punts putting Alabama back in the field position battle; five of his punts were down inside the Crimson Tide 20-yard line, and three inside the 10. He is expected to compete with Texas A&M’s Nik Constantinou for the SEC’s top scorer and, due to his ability to land 1/4 of his punts inside 15 opponents, could be picked late in the final day of the NFL Draft, should he choose to turn pro.
10. LS Jacob Quattlebaum – 6’1, 229 – Senior
The fifth-year senior, who has completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and is pursuing a master’s in business administration, returns for his final year of eligibility to follow former Tiger Josh Harris, his inspiration to be a long snapper, for the NFL. The son of a special teams coach, he serves as chair of the student-athlete advisory committee and mentors young athletes on campus as he focuses on his personal performance goal, the rare accolade of a 100% accuracy over an entire season. He is considered a dark horse for the 2022 Patrick Mannelly Award, given annually to the best snapper in college football.
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