Gathering all of our draftees in one place to talk about them for you! You can find a link to our original draft day post by clocking on the player headline.
Sammie Coates - Pittsburgh Steelers
Sammie was the first Tiger taken in the draft, in the 3rd round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many were curious about the Steelers making this choice, as they already have a speedy deep guy on their roster in Martavis Bryant, plus they have Antonio Brown. I don't see it as being that questionable, really. If you've got one speedy deep guy, why not two? Pittsburgh is a run-based team, but Roethlisberger has a huge arm, and having two deep targets for him to get the ball to will really help open that run game up.
Plus, Coates isn't JUST a deep guy. He caught plenty of intermediate routes while at Auburn, and was used on the tunnel screen. I have a feeling Pittsburgh may take advantage of his size and speed and use him that way a good bit, as well. Opposing teams will have to leave someone covering him on a play-action or screen, and that could open up the run game as well.
Coates should thrive anywhere he goes. He is an exceptional young man with a great work ethic and ridiculous athletic gifts. I can't wait to watch him develop on Sundays.
Angelo Blackson - Tennessee Titans
Angelo Blackson was not really a pass rushing quarterback during his time at Auburn. He's not as quick as someone like Gabe Wright is. He may not have all the moves. What he is, is a wall. Blackson's qualities as a run-stopper are why he was a constant in the defensive line rotation for four years at Auburn. He excelled at it and never got the credit he deserved because that's not as flashy as sacks. One other area Blackson never received much credit for was special teams. He chalked up a few blocked kicks while at Auburn.
The Tennessee Titans finished the 2014 season ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing defense. That's bad, m'kay? They were middle of the pack in passing defense. What the Titans really needed was someone who can plug the line against the run. That's exactly what they got in Angelo Blackson. I don't know enough about the other players available at the time to say whether the Titans could have found anyone better, but I think they picked a good one.
Blackson is someone who really raised his draft stock during the Combine. He was projected as a free agent pick up by most coming out of the season. His combine work pushed him into a possible late-round pick. In the end, he went as the first pick of the final day of the draft in Round 4. He'll have a chance to contribute immediately with Tennessee's need for run stoppers.
Gabe Wright - Detroit Lions
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Lions depart with Nick Fairley and draft Gabe Wright, who wore a “NICK WHO?” hat when he announced for Auburn. <a href="http://t.co/EGgVdNex9l">pic.twitter.com/EGgVdNex9l</a></p>— Justin Hokanson (@JHokanson) <a href="https://twitter.com/JHokanson/status/594545174111391744">May 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
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"Nick Who?" indeed. In a strange twist of fate, Gabe Wright will be following Nick Fairley once again. Wright was picked by the Detroit Lions in the 4th round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He will be filling a spot on a defensive line that lost Ndamakong Suh and Nick Fairley to free agency.
Wright had a pretty good 2013 season. He's shown flashes of brilliance his entire career. However, he's also shown signs of not putting his all into every play. His physical transformation between the end of the 2012 season and prior to the 2014 season showed he was dedicated to getting into great playing shape. However, his performance on the field slipped to his career average in 2014. Questions of giving 100% every down have arisen.
When he's on, he's fantastic. Hopefully he returns to the 2013 form in the NFL. He's definitely got a chance to contribute immediately with the losses on the line for the Lions.
CJ Uzomah - Cincinnati Bengals
There has been some gnashing of teeth over at Cincy Jungle over this pick. Auburn fans know what the Bengals get in CJ Uzomah. His numbers aren't sexy. They aren't going to get anyone excited. But we know his work ethic. We know how good his hands are. He's got every bit of size you could want in a TE. CJ could be one of the steals of the draft for the Bengals.
That being said, he wasn't the first TE selected by the Bengals. They also took Tyler Kroft from Rutgers. They have Tyler Eifert already on the roster. I don't know what the Bengals' offensive plans are, but it sure looks like they may be planning on a lot of multiple TE sets.
One thing to remember is that CJ lined up as a traditional WR at times, too. I wonder if the Bengals may be thinking of using him in a Jimmy Graham TE/WR hybrid. I would be excited to see CJ used that way. I think he could put up big numbers in the right system. He'll have to improve route running, but the opportunities are there.
I had CJ as possibly being drafted, but likely an UDFA. I was thrilled to see his name get called on draft day. He's a young man who has worked his tail off at Auburn and never had much to show for it in the numbers column. Now he gets a chance on the big stage!
Cameron Artis-Payne - Carolina Panthers
It's the Cam & Cam show! Cameron Artis-Payne has had to overcome being over looked at every level. He didn't get much credit during the 2014 season for the effort he put in, something I tried to rectify in my position reviews. He may not be the fastest RB in the world, but he's a hoss. He puts every bit of effort he has into his game.
The Panthers have a few other running backs on their roster. Jonathan Stewart may be the best known, but he's in his 8th year in the League, which is getting up there for running backs. The other key back last season was Fozzy Whittaker out of Texas. Whittacker and CAP are virtually the exact same size, with CAP having about 7 more pounds on Whittaker. There will be competition, but similar to Tre Mason last season, I could see CAP ending up with the biggest portion of playing time by season's end.
One reason for that is his ability as a pass blocker. Phillip Marshall pointed out that Auburn's running backs did not allow a single sack in all of 2014. If there's one thing Cam Newton really needs in Charlotte, it's pass-blockers. Cameron Artis-Payne provides an excellent running back who has all the skills necessary to help the Newton-led Panthers offense click on all levels. CAP is going to be another in a long-line of players to give credence to Auburn as "Running Back U."
Tomorrow we'll take a closer look at all of the UDFAs. There still MIGHT be one or two more of those between now and then.