Dye-Gest: Just One Surprise In the NFL Draft

College Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the NFL Draft and the Auburn baseball team.

The results of the annual National Football League Draft didn’t really surprise me when it came to Auburn players with one exception. Sammie Coates was the first Tiger picked as expected, but I sure was not expecting to see Reese Dismukes end up signing with a pro team as a free agent instead of a draft pick.

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Although I was not expecting Dismukes to be taken early in the draft, I sure expected that he would hear his name called by one of the NFL teams. However, with the center signing a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers the scenario probably worked out better for him than being taken in the last round or two.

Even though Pittsburgh has an all-pro player at center in Maurkice Pouncey, he has had problems staying healthy. Also, sometimes those type of players become too expensive for a team to keep and they move on to other teams as free agents or whatever.

Reese Dismukes isn’t a big guy at center by NFL standards and that must have been something the scouts took into consideration. He probably isn’t going to wow anybody with his work in the weight room. He is also not a test kind of football guy who does his best work running around a field in shorts participating in non-contact drills.

Where Reese Dismukes excels is when the pads go on and they are going full speed with a big defensive lineman in his face. For centers the game is played 12 inches in front of their faces, something that tests what you have inside you.

When the Auburn All-American gets on the football field at training camp with the Steelers he won’t be intimidated. He will be a man and will play physical football from the minute he steps on the field to the end.

I know that Pittsburgh has a tradition of putting players on the field who have those same attributes so the Steelers’ organization could be a good fit for the center. I won’t be the least bit surprised if he makes their roster and plays in the NFL for many years.

Another one of the Auburn seniors who wasn’t drafted, running back Corey Grant, is an interesting player. He signed a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Grant is a guy who produced lots of big plays in college and when it comes to speed I believe he can run with any rookie coming into the NFL. I wish him well and the same goes to all of the other Auburn players, both drafted and undrafted, who are trying to earn spots on NFL rosters.

It’s a big weekend for the baseball Tigers with Alabama coming to town. They have managed to work their way back up to .500 in league play after a very slow start. The 2015 Tigers aren’t the most talented team you will see, but it has developed into a scrappy bunch of players trying to find ways to win.

This past weekend was a good example. After losing big on Friday night at South Carolina, the Tigers managed to come back and win the series with really good pitching while finding ways to score some runs with an aggressive style of play. They seem to scratch around and find a way to pick up a run here or a run or two there. Sometimes it looks bad because they are very aggressive and that doesn’t always work, but I don’t know how Coach Sunny Golloway’s team could play differently and win as many games as it has won.

It’s important that the Tigers keep pushing hard this weekend against Alabama, even though the Tide has struggled. I will never forget the 1984 football season when I was the head coach at Auburn. Going into the Iron Bowl that Alabama team had already lost six games, which meant it was going to have a losing season regardless what happened vs. us.

We came out and weren’t as sharp as we should have been and I did a poor job of getting across the message of what our team was going to be facing. I think this year’s baseball team will be running into an opponent that is hungry to beat Auburn and it will be important for the Tigers to come out emotionally ready to play their best baseball because it is a big series for Auburn and one they can win.

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