The final portion of the 2019 NFL Draft was one to remember for Auburn, as the Tigers got five names called on the third day of the event. It started with Jarrett Stidham going early to the Patriots and Darius Slayton getting selected by the Giants, but three more players got to learn their professional fates later on in the draft.
In the sixth round, linebacker Deshaun Davis got picked up by the Bengals with the 210th pick. This came after an offseason during which Davis initially got snubbed by the Senior Bowl in his hometown, and took heat from the experts for being too small, too slow, too everything despite showing off for three seasons on the Plains.
Slightly undersized inside linebacker whose strength and toughness might be overshadowed by his athletic and speed limitations. Davis loves to swap greetings as a downhill run defender, but when the play flows wide or when he’s forced to drop into space his effectiveness drops off sharply. With his limitations, his roster spot might be tied to scheme fit and special teams performance.
That’s what they had to say about him. Deshaun showed off as a sophomore starter against Clemson in 2016, helping to limit the Tigers offensively in his first start. He finished up as a part of a defense that had some fantastic success under Kevin Steele along with linebackers Tre Williams and Darrell Williams. He’ll get to join C.J. Uzomah in Cincinnati as representatives of the orange and blue.
Later on in the Draft, his offensive counterpart, H-back Chandler Cox got to head south when the Miami Dolphins called him with the 233rd pick. Cox will get to play in the AFC East opposite his roommate Jarrett Stidham, who went to New England. He’ll also get to play in front of new Dolphin quarterback Josh Rosen, whose unceremonious exit from Arizona garnered a ton of attention after the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray first overall.
And finally, another Tiger got an invitation to the Sunshine State as Dontavius Russell got selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Russell will join a defensive line featuring early draft pick Josh Allen from Kentucky, as well as Marcel Dareus and Calais Campbell. He became the fifth and final draft pick from Auburn, but the Tigers weren’t done landing guys on professional rosters.
After the conclusion of the final round, the undrafted free agent signings began, and the most interesting hookup came with the New England Patriots and Ryan Davis. The all-time leader in receptions at Auburn will now get a chance to catch passes from his collegiate quarterback in Jarrett Stidham. Davis’ ability in the screen game should pay dividends for what the Patriots try to do offensively, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some snaps this season and make the roster.
Aside from Davis, Darrell Williams got picked up by the Saints, where he’ll join a linebacker corps that’s not elite. His size and ability in pass defense will be his biggest strengths in trying to find a spot on the New Orleans roster.
And finally, Andrew Williams landed with the Jaguars, where he’ll get the opportunity to try to make the roster alongside his defensive line mat Dontavius Russell. Williams was more of a quiet senior contributor this past season, but he’s got talent and the size to make some noise in the league as well.
Of all the UDFAs, it seems like Ryan Davis landed in the best spot, as he’s in an offense that works for him and with someone who knows how he works on the field in Stidham. Stidham’s selection by the Patriots is also good, since he’ll get to learn under Tom Brady as he attempts to make the active roster, but it’s hard not to be the most proud of Deshaun Davis as he was the one who seemed to catch the most flak, and actually got drafted when nobody thought he’d hear his name called.