After a couple of lean years, who are Auburn’s top 2023 NFL Draft prospects? While they may not have any Round 1 selections this year, we could see as many as four players from the school selected on Day 2. Let’s take a look at the Auburn scouting reports for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Auburn 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Austin Troxell, OT
Strengths: Versatile offensive tackle prospect with size as well as growth potential. Bends his knees, sets with a wide base, and works to block with leverage. Stays square, keeps defenders in front of him, and makes good use of body positioning to seal opponents from plays. Strong, anchors at the point, and correctly places his hand into opponents.
Weaknesses: Displays a lot of stiffness. Lacks footwork. Exploited by speed rushers.
Overall: Troxell has shown much development in his game and has a body that could add more bulk as well as strength, which would only improve his run blocking. He’s a free agent prospect worthy of stashing on a practice squad.
Brandon Council, G
Strengths: Three-year starter who is experienced at right tackle, guard, and center. Explosive, fires off the snap into blocks, and turns defenders. Works to play with proper knee bend, stays square, and anchors in pass protection. Gets his hands into defenders, rides them from their angles of attack, and can be an overwhelming force.
Weaknesses: Lacks footwork and lateral blocking range. Bends at the waist and shows stiffness in his game. Did not look natural at center last season.
Overall: Council was a terrific offensive lineman at Auburn, productively playing three different positions and filling in when necessary. He has athletic limitations and is not effective on the move, but he offers potential as a power-gap guard.
Colby Wooden, DT
Strengths: Athletic defensive line prospect with size and growth potential. Displays a tremendous amount of quickness and can bend off the edge, then flatten to pursue plays laterally. Flashes power in his lower body, bull rushes opponents off the line, and collapses the pocket. Plays with consistent pad level and gets leverage on opponents. Quickly gets his hands up and works them throughout the action.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent off the snap and streaky. Must develop more moves to disengage from blocks. Doesn’t play with a sense of urgency.
Overall: Three years ago, when he was a freshman at Auburn, Wooden impressed me as an athletic, disruptive force on the defensive line. His game has since leveled off, and he never truly developed. Rather than consistently impacting games, Wooden played in spurts. He’s an athletic prospect with a large upside, yet he must improve his playing strength and, more than anything else, consistently play at the level he’s capable of.
Want more information on Wooden? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Colby Wooden, DT, Auburn | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Derick Hall, EDGE
Strengths: Tough, nasty defender who is effective as a pass rusher or playing in space. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and remains disciplined with assignments. Effectively diagnoses plays, moves well laterally, and is very active.
Explosive, makes plays in pursuit, and gets out to the sidelines. Effective in space and shows outstanding recognition. Occasionally comes out of a three-point stance, fires off the snap with a terrific first step, and plays with proper pad level. Displays a lot of pass-rushing ability.
Weaknesses: Easily out-positioned by blocks. Occasionally misreads plays. Doesn’t display great closing burst.
Overall: Hall is a hard-working defender who was consistent for Auburn and played hard even when the team was getting pounded and nothing was on the line. He displays natural 3-4 OLB traits and offers starting potential in the future.
Want more information on Hall? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Eku Leota, LB
Strengths: Pass-rushing linebacker who plays with good strength. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Disengages from blocks, holds his ground against offensive tackles, and gives effort defending the run. Fast up the field as a pass rusher and flashes athleticism in space. Remains disciplined with assignments.
Weaknesses: Easily stymied at the point or blocked from the action. Lacks pursuit speed. Used more up the field than in reverse. Struggled with injury last season and played just five games.
Overall: Expectations were high for Leota coming into the season, yet the senior suffered a pectoral injury the first weekend of October, and his season was done. Leota’s displayed a lot of pass-rushing skill the past three seasons and is more of a 3-4 OLB who can be used in third-down situations.
Owen Pappoe, LB
Strengths: Undersized but athletic LB who is best in pursuit. Remains disciplined with assignments, keeps the action in front of him, and shows ability in zone coverage. Breaks down well, quickly locates the ball handler, and fires up the field to make the tackle. Slides off blocks, flows laterally, and shows speed moving in any direction. Covers a lot of area on the field and has a closing burst.
Weaknesses: Easily disrupted by the initial block and even gets handled by opposing receivers. Doesn’t stack well against the run. Not a stout tackler.
Overall: Pappoe was a productive four-year starting linebacker for Auburn and an outstanding run-and-chase defender. He must improve his skill in coverage but would be a good fit in a one-gap system.
Want more information on Pappoe? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Tank Bigsby, RB
Strengths: Three-year starting tailback who has combined for 2,903 yards since his freshman season. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and quickly finds the running lanes. Follows blocks everywhere on the field, sets up defenders, and makes them miss to create yardage.
Possesses a burst of speed, is fast enough to turn the corner, and easily cuts back against the grain without losing momentum. Keeps the play in bounds, gets a lot of momentum going, and falls forward when tackled. Runs with authority and uses an effective straight arm to keep plays alive. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Not a strong running back who is going to move the pile. Easily brought down at the point by a single defender. Occasionally takes his eyes off the football, which leads to drops passes.
Overall: Despite difficult times at Auburn the past three years, Bigsby was very productive as both a ball carrier and pass catcher. Bigsby possesses enough skill to be used as a third-down back or situational runner and comes with upside.
Want more information on Bigsby? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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