For Auburn fans, 2012 was a year to forget... and in losing arguably their best player early to the NFL, it can't end soon enough.
Lemonier (pronounced Lemon-ear) was listed by Auburn at 6-4, 246 pounds but played defensive end for the Tigers. He exploded onto the SEC scene as a sophomore, recording 47 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks to earn first-team accolades by conference coaches.
He started off the 2012 season equally impressively, notching five sacks in Auburn's first four games but struggled down the stretch, recording just half a sack the rest of the way as opponents shifted their blocking schemes to eliminate the Tigers' best threat. He finished with 34 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as the Tigers limped to a 3-9 record (including 0-8 in the SEC).
According to Schad, Lemonier earned a third round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee. This would appear to be an indication that scouts have some concern as to how the pass rusher might transfer his abilities into the league.
While productive against elite competition in college, Lemonier lacks the bulk to handle full-time responsibilities as a classic 4-3 defensive end and may lack the flexibility necessary to drop into coverage. What he can do, however, is rush the passer, showing not only a quick first step but a nice spin move back inside to complement it. He's a well-built athlete who plays hard and pursues downfield with passion.
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