Gus Malzahn thought this 2020 Auburn draft class had a shot at the modern era pick record. The NFL Draft once had as many as 20 rounds but since 1994 has only consisted of 7. Last season, Auburn had 6 Tigers drafted, the most since 1994. Auburn once again hit that mark this year with 3 more players drafted Saturday afternoon. It might not be a new record but it’s still durn impressive.
Heading into the final day, I suspected the first name off the board for Auburn would be an offensive tackle in the 4th round. I just didn’t expect it to be THAT tackle. With the 145th pick, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Jack Driscoll.
Driscoll’s path to the NFL was a unique one. A 2* prospect out of Madison, Connecticut, Driscoll only had 2 offers per his 247 recruiting profile: Army & UMass. He elected to play for the Minutemen where after a redshirt season he started 2 years. But Driscoll wasn’t accepted into UMass’s graduate program, much to his coach’s chagrin, so he decided to look for opportunities elsewhere as a grad transfer. He chose the Tigers and won a hotly contested battle for the right tackle position with Austin Troxell where he started for the past 2 seasons.
Jack Driscoll career at Auburn:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 25, 2020
1,690 Pass-block snaps
4 QB hits allowed pic.twitter.com/hm7FAaf1Mq
Again, I wasn’t surprised to see an Auburn DB selected in the 5th, I just didn’t expect it to be Daniel Thomas. Another incredible success story, Thomas was all set to be a Minnesota Golden Gopher when Auburn called him on National Signing Day to extend a last minute offer. The Tigers had missed out on 4* S Nigel Warrior earlier that day and needed a DB to round out the class. Thomas jumped on the offer. Five years later, Warrior goes undrafted while Thomas is selected with the 157th pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Life is funny that way sometimes.
Thomas had an extremely productive career for the Tigers totaling just shy of 200 tackles in his career while snagging 5 interceptions, forcing 3 fumbles and recovering 3 more. That production paired with a strong performance at the NFL Combine lead to Thomas hearing his name called Saturday. Thomas will always be one of my favorites because he played with great effort every single snap of his career and just always seemed to find his way to the football for a big play.
One of the most underrated plays of the day was Daniel Thomas saving a TD— AUNerd (@AUSportsNerd) September 5, 2019
He's just past the 20 when he realizes that Holland has broken free, turns on the jets, runs Holland down & pushes him out to save a TD pic.twitter.com/SvLzRaghht
For the 2nd straight year Daniel Thomas both forced & recovered a fumble leading to touchdowns for Auburn— AUNerd (@AUSportsNerd) September 24, 2019
A&M going to be happy he graduates this year
Play was going to be positive for Aggies as Spiller is able to find a crease on outside zone just before Truesdell gets free pic.twitter.com/WN8IIds0DJ
The final Auburn selection came in the 6th. Prince Tega Wanogho had been projected to go as high as late in the 2nd round. But concerns over his knee appear to have tanked his draft stock and he slid all the way to the 6th Saturday afternoon where the Philadelphia Eagles took him with the 210th pick.
Tega’s path to the NFL is an incredible story. Considering he had never played a snap of football until high school, to see him just a few years later off to the NFL is a huge accomplishment. The NFL did an awesome special feature on Tega.
As for what the Eagles are getting on the field, Tega might still be raw in some aspects but he unquestionably has a sky high ceiling. That knee injury plagued him all last year. If he can get healthy, don’t be surprised if he finds his way onto the field as an NFL starter in the very near future.
While it had to be a bummer for the handful of Auburn draft eligible prospects who did not hear their names called this past week, it’s important to remember the NFL Draft is just one pathway into the league. Many players have had long careers as undrafted free agents including recent Auburn grads Josh Bynes, Jonathan Jones and Peyton Barber. Here’s a rundown of where undrafted Auburn players have reportedly signed.
- Nick Coe (New England Patriots) - Thought someone might take a chance on him late Saturday evening but his 2019 struggles proved too much. However, he could end up proving to be another UFA success story considering his upside. I think New England is a great landing spot for the former 4* lineman.
- Javaris Davis (Kansas City Chiefs) - Davis was the afore mentioned DB I thought would be selected in the 5th. I was surprised no one picked him but my guess is his size scared teams off. Of all the undrafted free agents though I am most confident Davis will stick in the league. Don’t be surprised if he’s an important piece of the KC secondary next season.
- Jeremiah Dinson (Detroit Lions) - When Dinson didn’t get a combine invite I thought the writing was on the wall for his NFL Draft chances. But Matt Patricia got a chance to see Dinson in person at Auburn’s Pro Day and apparently liked what he saw enough to bring him on as a free agent.
- Marquel Harrell (Buffalo Bills) - Harrell has played a lot of meaningful snaps in the toughest conference in CFB against some of the best DL in the country. Worse case, he’s gonna give that Buffalo DL hell on the practice squad. Would love though to see Harrell find his way onto the 53 man roster. He was a valuable member of the AU OL these past 3 seasons.
- Will Hastings (New England Patriots) - OF COURSE HE DID!!!
- Spencer Nigh (Pittsburgh Steelers) - Go Spencer! The former walk on did a little of everything for the Tigers and had an outstanding senior season. Awesome to see him get a shot at the next level.
- Arryn Siposs (Detroit Lions) - The punter spot is open in Detroit so Siposs will get a real shot at landing a starting job in the NFL.