"It was a great night," Malzahn said after watching Greg Robinson taken by the St. Louis Rams as the No. 2 pick in the first round and Dee Ford going to the Kansas City Chiefs as the No. 23 selection of the opening round.
"For Greg Robinson to go No. 2, that is a huge deal," Malzahn said of the redshirt sophomore, who became Auburn's earliest drafted offensive lineman ever in the NFL Draft and the second earliest behind Ken Rice, who was the No. 1 pick in the AFL Draft prior to its merger with the NFL.
"It was really emotional for him, it was really something special for me to see," Malzahn said of being with Robinson as he was waiting to be drafted. "I got a chance to recruit Greg and watch him grow as a person and as a player.
"This is one of his goals to come here and be drafted and take care of his family," Malzahn said. "He was able to do that so it was a real special feeling as a coach to see him be able to reach his goal."
Malzahn said that Coach Jeff Fisher, someone he knows well, and the Rams organization made an excellent pick. "He is a great player--there is no doubt," Auburn's coach noted. "His best days are ahead of him.
"He is very athletic--one of the strongest guys I?have seen," Malzahn pointed out."
Malzahn said it is good for the Auburn football program to have two players selected in the first round. "It is a big shot in the arm," he pointed out. "Auburn is a great program and now you can see if you come to Auburn you can be drafted high and have a chance to win championships."
Robinson has had high praise for the coaching he got during Auburn's run to the SEC Championship. J.B. Grimes came with Malzahn from Arkansas State for the 2013 season and helped develop the offensive line into a team strength. The prospect also noted that Auburn's strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Russell, helped him have an outstanding 2013 season.
"Coach Grimes did a wonderful job with Greg," Malzahn said. "Ryan Russell is one of the best in the business at getting guys prepared physically. Both of those guys deserve some of the credit and I think Greg will say the same thing."