Over next two weeks I’ll take a look at the top five players at each position Auburn will face this fall.
The SEC is always loaded with NFL offensive lineman. Well at least all the other teams usually are and this year is no exception. A number of Auburn’s opponents have offensive lineman projected to go in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Try not get too upset when you see that Ole Miss and Mississippi State have 1st round offensive tackle talent on their roster while Auburn does not.
I said not to get upset....
5.) Nick Broeker (Ole Miss)
A former 3-star out of Springfield, Illinois, Broeker has blossomed into one of the top offensive tackles in the country. He earned All-Freshman honors in 2019 at left tackle and returned to anchor Ole Miss’s offensive front in 2020. He’s been projected to go as early as top 15 in next year’s draft by some sites.
4.) Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
I vividly remember Cross’s recruitment. He was a low ranked 3-star following his junior season before blowing up that summer and dominating his senior year. Eventually he was ranked the 27th best player in the country and a five star. He was a long time Florida State commit before the Bulldogs were able to pull the flip off late in the 2019 cycle. He redshirted that year before earning a starting role in 2020 and being named to the Freshman All-SEC team. Despite just one season of production he’s already earning 1st round projections.
3.) Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
Green is the lone returning starter for the Aggies along the offensive line in 2021. The former 5-star began his career at guard but is expected to slide out to left tackle this season. He struggled somewhat in his debut season as did much of that Aggie offensive line but in 2020 that whole unit emerged as one of the best in the country. Green is a physically imposing presence up front who has violent hands and excels as a man mover. What will be interesting to see is how he holds up as a pass protector this fall.
2.) Rasheed Walker (Penn State)
The former top 100 player out of Maryland redshirted his first year in Happy Valley before earning the starting nod in 2019. Walker is an intelligent player who excels at using his hands to control defenders and is athletic enough to hold up against speedy edge rushers. There was some surprise he came back considering the NFL buzz he was getting heading into the 2020 season but the big man is now poised to be a top 10 pick with a strong junior campaign.
1.) Evan Neal (Alabama)
Alabama lost four starters off last year’s elite unit but return arguably the best offensive tackle in the country. The former 5-star is an imposing figure at 6’7” 360 lbs. He began his Crimson Tide career at guard before sliding back outside last season. Despite his mass, he moves extremely well and when he gets his paws on a defender he can be punishing.