Auburn Tigers Preview: Roster, Prospects, Schedule, and More

    The Auburn Tigers enter 2023 with questions, but a defensive backfield with DJ James, Nehemiah Pritchett, and Keionte Scott provide some answers.

    Bryan Harsin found success at Boise State from 2014-2020, but he was unable to replicate that success with the Auburn Tigers. In his 21 games coaching the team, he could only manage nine wins. Hugh Freeze and his staff have their work cut out for them. What could they expect in 2023, and what kind of NFL Draft prospects do the Tigers field?

    Auburn Tigers Roster and Depth Chart Changes

    There are a ton of tools that grade recruiting classes, transfer classes, and roster strength in college football. At least one of them, 247Sports, believes that Auburn has had the third-best transfer portal outing in the FBS. Freeze bolstered the offensive line like a madman, adding Avery Jones, Dillon Wade, Gunner Britton, and Jaden Muskrat to the roster.

    Rivaldo Fairweather was a very productive pass catcher at the tight end position for FIU and will try to add to the Tigers’ passing attack. Jyaire Shorter, who averaged an astonishing 27.3 yards per his 23 receptions at North Texas, will try to add some explosion to the offensive mix.

    Although the defensive backfield remains intact, the linebacker and defensive line rooms undertook major changes in the offseason.

    Auburn Tigers NFL Draft Prospects

    D.J. James, CB

    The Tigers’ best draft prospect as we enter the 2023 season is one of their lightest players. But if the 2023 NFL Draft taught us anything, it’s that being under 180 pounds is no longer something that will make teams shy about drafting good cornerbacks.

    D.J. James is listed at 174 pounds on the roster, and while he doesn’t look as light as first-round pick Emmanuel Forbes, he’s no Brandon Browner, either.

    James is a snappy mover who transitions well with feet and hips. His physicality at the catch point leaves a bit to be desired, and he’s not shown to be particularly adept with getting his hand inside through spaces to knock passes away.

    Nevertheless, James is sticky in man coverage, but he may be best suited for more zone-heavy schemes. But he will need to run well if he wants to secure top-100 status in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    Nehemiah Pritchett, CB

    Pritchett has the more desirable measurables as an NFL cornerback, but he isn’t as clean on the field as James. Everything seems to be in place athletically for Pritchett, but he must become more comfortable attacking the ball in the air, despite what his eight pass breakups from a season ago would say. Still, route recognition and assignment soundness must improve if he wants to elevate his status.

    Keionte Scott, DB

    He’s listed as a CB on Auburn’s roster, but Keionte Scott plays primarily in the slot, and his skill set mimics that of an NFL safety. He is a fun athlete who has shown some explosiveness in blitzing situations, and while his coverage ability would likely be better suited as a half-field safety or strong safety, he could survive in the slot in a zone-heavy scheme.

    Other Notable Names

    • Jarquez Hunter, RB
    • Rivaldo Fairweather, TE
    • Zykeivous Walker, DT
    • Justin Rogers, DT

    Auburn Tigers Schedule

    • Week 1
      Sept. 2 vs. UMass Minutemen
    • Week 2
      Sept. 9 at Cal Golden Bears
    • Week 3
      Sept. 16 vs. Samford Bulldogs
    • Week 4
      Sept. 23 at Texas A&M Aggies
    • Week 5
      Sept. 30 vs. Georgia Bulldogs
    • Week 6
    • Week 7
      Oct. 14 at LSU Tigers
    • Week 8
      Oct. 21 vs. Ole Miss Rebels
    • Week 9
      Oct. 28 vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
    • Week 10
      Nov. 4 at Vanderbilt Commodores
    • Week 11
      Nov. 11 at Arkansas Razorbacks
    • Week 12
      Nov. 18 vs. New Mexico State Aggies
    • Week 13
      Nov. 24 vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
    • Week 14
    • Week 15

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