Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell Answers Auburn Sports Questions From Readers In His Friday Mailbag Column

Talking Auburn football, theNFL Draft and much more in this edition of the Friday Mailbag column from Inside the Auburn Tigers.

Xavier Dampeer (above) is a fifth-year senior for the Auburn football team.

AUpoker: Moving from 15 to 1 is a big jump. Do you think the Rams paid too much for Goff/Wentz?

I absolutely think the Rams spent too much in giving up as many picks as they did to move up to the top spot in this year’s draft. I think Jared Goff, Carson Wentz or whoever could be a good quarterback, but as the No. 1 pick in the draft that’s a big step to take. There’s no question the Rams need a quarterback at some point, but grabbing somebody later in the first round could have been a better option in my opinion.


Dewsweeper: Of the incoming freshmen, that are not on campus, who do you think can earn playing time and who will redshirt?

I think we will see Derrick Brown get on the field this season on the defensive line. I’m not sure any of the other guys on defense will play this year unless there are some injuries. On the offensive side of the ball my guess is that Nate Craig will earn playing time and I wouldn’t be shocked if Elijah Stove did as well. I’m just not sold on this wide receiver group in terms of playmaking ability right now. I like Marcus Davis, Jason Smith and Ryan Davis. I am still not sure if Tony Stevens is going to be that guy.


DuluthTiger: Did the coaches get too worried about having the perfect personal for a play at the expense of playing fast last season?

I believe that was part of the problem, but the biggest hindrance to playing fast last year was far too many second and third and long situations. Gus Malzahn wants to play at his fastest when the Tigers get a first down and subsequently have a positive first down gain. Passing situations change the game in this offense and make them slow the pace in a big way.


AugTiger: Do you see Gus developing two styles of offense in the fall around a running QB and a dropback QB and using some of both or do you see him picking one style early and going with it?

I don’t think they’ll have two different types of offenses unless they feel like they need two different guys to get the job done. If one of the quarterbacks wins the job then the coaches will build the attack around that guy and do what he does best.


DRJ75: Is T.J. Neal good enough to start for us this fall....? Give me your guess on our 2-deep at LB for Clemson......

T.J. Neal is absolutely good enough to start for Auburn this fall and could be good enough to start right away. He is a veteran guy and since he’ll be on campus in May there is plenty of time to learn the defense. My guess is Tre Williams is the starter with either Darrell Williams or Neal as the other starter. DeShaun Davis, who had a good spring, and Montavious Atkinson will also likely see playing time.


Rocketcity: In your opinion, is Golson's move to tackle a last result because no one stepped up at left tackle and we have the luxury of Dampeer at the center position? Do you think the Oline will be a strength this yr ?

At first I thought the move of Golson was strictly because none of the other tackles stepped up other than Robert Leff, but the more the spring went along I think the move had a lot to do with the improvement of Xavier Dampeer. Always a physical player, Dampeer worked hard in the offseason to be ready for his shot in the spring and took advantage of it. He has had two years in the system so he knows the offense. Now with another year of getting reps at center under his belt Dampeer’s improvement has allowed Golson to move to tackle in an effort to get the best five guys on the field. As for the line being a strength, my guess is this group will be physical in the run game and that’s always good news.

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