Two players look to have the best chance to be the first Auburn selection--wide receiver Sammie Coates and defensive lineman Gabe Wright. Both are looking at late second round or third round picks heading into the draft with Coates a player some team could take a flyer on if the wide receivers start to come off the board in a hurry.
Catching 34 passes for 741 yards and four touchdowns last season, Coates is a game-breaker with the ability to stretch the field and that should be intriguing to NFL teams. Inconsistency in catching the football is something that will likely keep him out of the first round, a place his physical skills and ability make him a fit. The Spot: Seattle with 31st pick of second round
The story is the same for Wright. Inconsistency throughout his career plagued the talented defensive lineman, but he has the tools to be a success on the next level in the right system. The lack of production is something that was a problem for Wright during his time at Auburn, however, as he finished with just six sacks in four seasons with 20 1/2 tackles for losses. The NFL is a league featuring pressure from the defensive linemen and Wright has shown some flashes of that, something that could be enough to see someone jump on him late in the second round. The Spot: New York Giants with 10th pick of 3rd Round (74th overall)
Gabe Wright was a four-year contributor for the Tigers, who was a team captain as a senior.
If consistency is a concern for Coates and Wright, that’s not a problem with center Reese Dismukes. A four-year starter and one of the best offensive linemen to ever play for the Tigers, Dismukes has the potential be a longtime NFL starter by the time his career is done. Without the massive size that some teams look for it could cause him to fall into the late third round, but some team could get a steal with Dismukes if that is where he is selected. The Spot: Seattle with 95th pick overall in third round
Perhaps the most interesting Auburn prospect in the draft is Auburn QB turned DB Nick Marshall. Capable of being a very good emergency quarterback for an NFL team if it decides to pick him, Marshall worked out at cornerback during Senior Bowl week and shows natural skills at the position. One of the best athletes in the entire draft, Marshall is definitely a player a team could take a run at much earlier than projected because of the potential upside. A team already solid in the secondary could be just the home for him and it could come anywhere from rounds 4-6. The Spot: 5th Round (No. 159) to Arizona Cardinals
Nick Marshall was a two-year starter for the Tigers.
Look for running back Cameron Artis-Payne to land somewhere in that area of the draft as well after leading the SEC in rushing with 1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014. Showing his durability as a senior following a season as mostly a backup to Tre Mason a year earlier, Artis-Payne’s 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds at the combine probably took some by surprise. Combined with his physical nature it should make him a great value pick in the second half of the draft. The Spot: No. 111 in the fourth round to the Cleveland Browns
Another value pick could be defensive tackle Angelo Blackson. Still very raw in his football skills, Blackson has the physical tools to be a force on the next level if he can continue to show improvement. Checking in at 6-4 1/2, 315 at Auburn’s Pro Day, Blackson ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.83 seconds. That’s a combination of size and speed you can’t teach and it could make him a player a team could pick late in the draft. The Spot: No. 219 (2nd pick in 7th round) to New England
Another player who could be chosen in the later rounds is tight end C.J. Uzomah. Measuring in at 6-5 3/4, 263 at pro day, Uzomah ran a 4.63 40-yard dash and showed his usual good hands catching the football. With NFL tight ends often being used like big wide receivers that could be the ticket for Uzomah to make a run at earning a roster spot in 2015.
Improving as a blocker during his time on the Plains as well, Uzomah will do the right things on and off the field as well as work hard, something NFL teams should be paying attention to now more than ever.The Spot: No. 230 (13th pick in 7th Round) to New Orleans
C.J. Uzomah made the conversion from high school quarterback to college tight end.
Some of the other Auburn players available for the draft could get shots to make NFL rosters as free agents.