Big Week For Marshall, Coates, Other Tigers

Mel Kiper Jr. talks about Auburn's representatives in Mobile for the Senior Bowl.

This week is a big one for all six of Auburn’s players at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, but for Nick Marshall it’s a chance to jump on the radar for NFL teams getting their first real look at him as a cornerback. Playing quarterback for the Tigers the last two seasons, the 6-1 ½, 205 Marshall has the athleticism to make some noise and Mel Kiper Jr. says the move this week to be a full-time defensive back could pay off in the end for Marshall.

“It’s a risky move,” Kiper Jr. says. “But teams will understand he’s a little raw.”

Adding that teams just want to see him in action to gauge his athleticism, Marshall could wind up as a third or fourth round selection if things go well for him this week and he tests well at the NFL Combine. While the move will be a struggle for the former quarterback this week, it could pay off for him a big way on draft day.

Another player that could help himself tremendously this week is junior wide receiver Sammie Coates. Entering the draft early after graduating from Auburn, Coates is a player that Kiper Jr. believes has the athletic ability to make a big jump if he can become more consistent.

“Coates, if he can gain a measure of consistency, with his ability in terms of athletic ability, physical ability, speed, all that, I had in the late first round,” Kiper Jr. said. “I had him going to New England in the last first round in the projection I did last week. He could be right in there because he’s a talented kid.”

Coates works against Marshall in Senior Bowl practice

Perhaps the player with the most to gain between now and draft time is defensive lineman Gabe Wright. A player that Kiper Jr. was high on before the season, Wright needs to show consistent playmaking ability instead of just flashes. While he won’t see the huge boost that Dee Ford saw a year ago, Wright could make a move said Kiper Jr.

“Gabe Wright didn’t have the kind of year I thought he would overall, but he’s flashed second round ability at times in some games,” Kiper Jr. said. “I thought he would be a second round pick when the season began, but his stock has dropped just a bit. It depends on how teams view him. When you factor in the flashes of brilliance he’s shown and the defensive tackle group is not spectacular. Maybe he goes in the third round area. I gave him more of a fourth round grade this year, but I could see him get a little bump up because he had some games where he looked like an elite defensive tackle potentially.”

As consistent as any offensive linemen in the country the last four seasons, center Reese Dismukes is a player that Kiper Jr. believes is fighting to be the No. 2 player at his position in this year’s draft. Having Cameron Irving from Florida State at the top of his board, Kiper Jr. says Dismukes has a chance to be a third or fourth round selection.

Rounding out the group are tight end C.J. Uzomah and running back Cameron Artis-Payne. It’s a big week for both to be able to show the explosiveness that scouts question. With both likely late round selections at best, it will be important to show something to the scouts in attendance to separate them from the pack.

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