Tag:Auburn Tigers
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:28 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 8:30 pm

Auburn's Pro Day lacks sizzle minus stars

With no Cam Newton, no Nick Fairley and just three prospects among NFLDraftScout.com's top 500 rated players for the 2012 draft, Auburn's Pro Day lacked anything close to the sizzle it provided in 2011.

Nine Tigers and North Alabama running back Wes Holland worked out in front of NFL Scouts.

Brandon Mosley, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9-rated offensive tackle, was primarily a spectator while choosing to stand on his results from the Scouting Combine. He posted a 5.21-second 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 30 times, had a 27-inch vertical, a 103-inch broad jump, a 7.43-second three-cone drill and a 4.78-second short shuttle in Indianapolis.

Long snapper Josh Harris stands a decent chance to get drafted, but managed only 16 bench reps at 225 pounds, although he did post an 11-foot, 5-inch broad jump, according to AL.com.

Free safety Neiko Thorpe enjoyed a strong workout, highlighted by an 11-5 broad jump and a 38-inch vertical. That type of athleticism could help him sneak into the late rounds or at least become a priority free agent.

Other former Tigers who took part in the workout included quarterback Barrett Trotter, linebacker Eltoro Freeman (28 bench reps, 11-5 broad jump) and running back Eric Smith, who was dismissed from the team before last season but was allowed to come back for the school's Pro Day.

Posted on: September 13, 2010 8:33 pm

Player of the Week -- Miss. St. OT Derek Sherrod

Earlier in the week I listed five senior prospects I was going to be focusing on for the opening weekend of college football action. Sherrod was not among those players, as they each played on Saturday. Sherrod and his Mississippi State teammates lost a 17-14 nail-biter to the Auburn Tigers in a rare Thursday night SEC showdown.

Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (Sherrod, in this case) was unquestionably the best. It isn't that Sherrod was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis (who posted 5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks against Vanderbilt) or Troy wideout Jerrel Jernigan (who finished with 277 all-purpose yards and TDs via kick return and receiving in a close loss to Oklahoma State). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 senior prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.

Sherrod was very impressive against a talented Auburn defense. So impressive that after reviewing dozens of candidates the rest of the weekend, I couldn't find a player that I thought was more deserving of attention.

Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .

We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, every Monday, I'll post my picks for each award.

Player of the Week - September 9, 2010
OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State 6-5 / 305 / 5.22 -- opponent: Auburn

The Bulldogs lost their conference opener to the Tigers, giving up a great deal of pressure up front (three sacks and numerous pressures), but Sherrod wasn't to blame. Manning the left tackle position, Sherrod consistently stoned his opponent in pass protection and was just as effective in the running game, often providing an initial pop to the defensive end before releasing to the second level. Sherrod was a step slow off the snap, at times, against the Tigers, but is a fluid athlete who generates good depth out of his stance. He has long arms and good upper body strength to jolt the defender. Sherrod plays on the balls of his feet and has good lateral agility and balance to mirror pass-rushers, including linebackers coming on the blitz. He plays with leverage and has the impressive core strength to handle the bull-rush. As a run-blocker, Sherrod relies more on positioning and athleticism than pure strength. While he can knock the defender back with his initial surge, Sherrod doesn't currently possess the elite power to drive his opponent downfield. I'd like to see him play with a little more nastiness, as well. Too often Sherrod seemed content with pushing his opponent initially, but not dominating as consistently as his size, power and technique advantage would make seem possible. Sherrod's athleticism, however, does make him a quality zone-blocking candidate. He is often asked to pull in this scheme, showing good agility and straight-line speed in getting to the second level. The Bulldogs haven't had a player drafted in the first round since 1994. In Sherrod, they have an excellent chance at breaking that streak.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 7:45 pm

Auburn RB Fannin struggling

As I noted in yesterday's preview of the SEC showdown between Auburn and Mississippi State, Tigers' senior running back Mario Fannin entered the year among my favorite breakout candidates .

It isn't difficult to follow my logic. Fannin, who already holds the Auburn record for most receptions by a running back, and at 5-11, 227 pounds has shown intriguing lateral agility and straight-line speed, was expected to take over this year as the Tigers' primary ball-carrier. Considering that he took over for Ben Tate, who himself, rode a breakout senior campaign to the second round of the 2010 draft, the writing on the wall seemed to have been done with a Sharpie.

Or maybe it was a pencil, as Fannin, through two games at least, is struggling.

Despite Auburn rushing for 367 yards in their opener two weeks ago against Arkansas State, Fannin only rushed three times for 14 yards. Even more troubling, Fannin fumbled. Fumbling had previously been a significant issue for Fannin, especially during his sophomore year.

Fannin has also struggled, at times, with injury over his career. Last night, with Auburn in a very physical game against Mississipi State, Fannin again caught the injury bug, going down in the early fourth quarter with an apparent left shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game.

Even prior to the injury, however, Fannin had struggled against Mississippi State's talented defense. Having rushed five times, Fannin gained only six yards against the Bulldogs. Thus, in two games, Fannin has eight attempts for 20 yards.

Meanwhile, his teammates, Onterrio McCaleb (21 rushes for 144 yards over first two games) and Mike Dyer (24-143-1 TD) have enjoyed much greater success. They're play last night against the Bulldogs strongly contributed to the Tigers' hard-fought 17-14 victory.

Fannin's build, speed and receiving skills make him an intriguing prospect. Needless to say, however, if he is to enjoy the breakout campaign that will earn him anything higher than a late round selection, he'll need to start doing it soon.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:24 pm

Not just Saints/Viks...Big SEC showdown tonight.

The majority of football fans will no doubt be glued to tonight's NFL opener between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, but for those of you more interested in college football or scouting for the NFL, there are two college football games on tonight, as well.

Central Michigan at Temple (7 pm EST on ESPNU) is an interesting cross-conference matchup, but the one I'll definitely be focusing on is the SEC showdown between Auburn and Mississippi State. 

The Tigers and Bulldogs are two of the chique picks to surprise some people this year in the SEC and it isn't difficult to understand why. 

For one, Auburn and Mississippi State won by a combined margin of 101-33 over Arkansas State and Memphis, respectively, last weekend. 

More importantly, both rosters are (perhaps surprisingly) full of NFL prospects. 

Auburn is historically one of the SEC's top producers of NFL talent, but some might be surprised to learn the Mississippi State actually boasts the more intriguing lineup -- at least among seniors. 

Here are the prospects I'll be focusing on in this game: 

OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State: Might be the best pass-blocking left tackle in the SEC and that is saying something, as the conference is loaded with talented senior offensive linemen. I rated Sherrod as the 4th best senior prospect in the SEC conference, regardless of position entering the year. He could be the first Bulldog drafted in the first round since 1994.

DE Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State: If Sherrod doesn't make the first round, McPhee might. The highly touted JUCO prospect burst onto the scene last year with 56 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5 sacks, earning himself All-SEC honors from the conference coaches. McPhee posted a combined 33 sacks over his two seasons at Itawamba JC (Miss)...

OLB K.J. Wright, Mississippi State: An unsung playmaker on this defense, Wright has been one of the more consistent defenders in the SEC over the past two seasons, averaging 77 tackles and 7 tackles for loss each year. He was recognized this summer with preseason All-SEC honors from the league coaches, but he isn't getting the national attention he deserves... yet.

RB Mario Fannin, Auburn: I've lised Fannin in the past as a player I feel can enjoy a breakout senior campaign this year. Former Auburn star Ben Tate certainly catapulted up NFL boards with a fantastic senior season and I see the same thing as possible for the versatile and athletic Fannin. He's shown flashes throughout his career, but struggles with fumbles early and injuries late have hampered his progress. At 5-11, 227 pounds he might be the nation's best pass-receiver among the running backs, as his 4 receptions for 65 yards and 2 TDs in the opener against Arkansas State helped prove. He is already Auburn's career leader in receptions for a running back.  

OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn: Admittedly, I'm not as high on Ziemba (pronounced Zim-bah) as others may be, but there is no denying his production. Having started 39 games already over his career, Ziemba has earned all-conference recognition from coaches after each of his first three seasons. He's the Tigers' starting left tackle, but might be best served moving back to the right side (where he played as a freshman) or perhaps even moving inside to guard (where he's never played) in the NFL.

Posted on: September 30, 2009 1:17 pm

Rare opportunity for DT D'Anthony Smith tonight

While the 2010 class of running backs is hurting, the talent along the defensive line continues to be a real strength.

One of the more intriguing talents of the group is Louisiana Tech defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith , who will certainly stand out tonight in the WAC showdown with Hawaii at 8 pm EST on ESPN2.

Smith, 6-2, 300 pounds, stands out for various reasons. For one, few players of his size choose to wear a single digit number like Smith (#5) does. Secondly, when healthy, Smith has proven to be a dominant force, registering 65 tackles last year alone in earning First Team All-WAC accolades.

Smith has struggled with his conditioning this season and hasn't been as effective as his hype in early season matchups against Auburn and Navy. With each of those offenses focusing on the running game, however, Smith was almost constantly double-teamed and the obvious focus of each opponent. Hawaii will present a different issue with their reliance on the passing game, giving Smith a chance to make plays against both the run and pass on national television.

A big game tonight could provide a significant boost to his stock with pro scouts, as well as earn him consideration in next week's version of Draft Slant.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com