Countdown to Football

39 Days

Yesterday marked the end of the NFL lockout, and many of us diehard football fans let out a collective sigh.

Although, louder sighs were heard from college campuses around the country as hundreds of potential NFL players saw the door to their lifelong dream reopen.

Auburn goes into this season with little experience, but make no mistake, there are a few potential NFL draft picks suiting up.

Here are the top five guys eligible for the draft this season:

5. Dee Ford (Jr. DE)

Call it a longshot (which it is), but Dee Ford has developed into a potential 3rd down nightmare for opposing teams.  At 6’4 245 pounds, Ford will provide lightning quick pressure on quarterbacks.  His play may be crucial for Auburn’s success on defense, and if he lives up to his potential, his name may be in discussion come next April.  Although, look for Ford to stick around for his senior year as he has little experience.

4.  Onterrio McCalebb (Jr. RB)

McCalebb is the spark that makes the offense go.  He was covered in depth in an earlier CtF entry.  Make no mistake about his size – McCalebb is a tough runner.  If he enters the draft next year, he will have one of the fastest 40 yard dashes in the combine.  The NFL has been utilizing “hybrid” running backs the past few years – backs that can run the ball, run routes, catch well, and return punts/kickoffs.  Much like Reggie Bush in New Orleans, McCalebb has the ability to be the player that defenses have to account for in multiple ways.  If he has a good year, his versatility and speed could get him into the draft.

3.  Emory Blake (Jr. WR)

Blake is the best possession receiver on Auburn’s team.  The son of a former NFL great, Blake should have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful in the NFL.  He has excellent hands, great route running ability, the strength to break tackles, decent speed, and physicality to deal with man-to-man coverage in the NFL.  However, Blake is rather young and will need a tremendous year to get momentum in the draft.  With Malzahn’s offense and Blake’s potential, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see him playing on Sundays in 2012.

2.  Brandon Moseley (Sr. LT)

At 6’6 310 pounds, Moseley is a mammoth of a player and returns the most experience of anyone on the team.  He was shadowed by the four seniors last season and most especially Lee Ziemba, but this year, Moseley is in a position to shine.  He has the opportunity to display leadership and be the anchor of a developing offensive line.  With the quarterback position needing a few more seconds to throw now that Cam is gone, Moseley will have to play flawlessly.  If he comes through, look for his name to be called out by Roger Goodell next April.

1.  Philip Lutzenkirchen (Jr. TE)

Lutz is the only true NFL prospect on the team.  The other four have potential, but they need to perform at a high level consistently to actually get on the radar.  Lutz is already on the radar and fairly high up there.  Tremendously athletic.  Dexterous hands.  Tall and strong.  Lutz has all the tools the NFL wants in a pass catching tight end.  His most coveted skill, however, may be his ball tracking skills.  Lutz should have another great year, and most likely, it will be his last as an Auburn Tiger.

39 Days

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