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Sep 17, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Owen Pappoe (0) blocks PSU during the game between Auburn and Penn State at Jordan-Hare Stadium . Todd Van Emst / AU Athletics

2023 NFL Combine: Auburn Rundown

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Over the past week the NFL Scouting Combine took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 319 athletes from all over the country were invited to participate, six of those being former Auburn starters. 

On the defensive side, EDGES Derick Hall and Eku Leota, Linebacker Owen Pappoe, and Defensive End Colby Wooden showed their skills on Thursday.

Then on Sunday, Running Back Tank Bigsby and Kicker Anders Carlson showcased their talents.

Here is a complete rundown, player by player, on how your favorite former Auburn Tigers performed.

Derick Hall: 

Prospect Grade: 6.37 (Will eventually be plus starter)

Hall is the former Auburn player who is expected to be drafted first.  Some mock drafts have him going as early as late in the first round. He had the highest prospect grade of any Auburn player with a 6.37, which correlates to eventually being a plus starter.

At 6’3” and 254 lbs the Mississippi native delivered a great performance with a total score of 74, ranking 11th among the other EDGES. He ranked 5th with a score of 81 for his Athleticism Score and 7th for his Production Score with a 77.

He ran the 40-Yard Dash in 4.55 seconds, leaving him as one of top 5 fastest EDGES. With 1.59 seconds, Hall was only behind Georgia’s Nolan Smith among EDGES for the 10-Yard Split. For the Vertical Jump he got 33.5”, leaving him in the top 10 among EDGES once again. Lastly, for the Broad Jump Hall ranked in 3rd with 10’ 7”.

According to the NFL Combine official tracker, some of his strengths include “Team captain with tremendous character,” “Possesses NFL- caliber aggression and toughness,” and “Freight train to the quarterback once inside the pocket.” 

To quote an Area scout for an AFC team Hall is “going to be a great fit in a locker room.” 

Colby Wooden:

Prospect Grade: 6.24 (Will eventually be average starter)

An Area scout for an AFC team stated the next highest scoring former Auburn Tiger is “… a coach’s dream. Nobody is going to outwork him and football means a lot to him.” This is Defensive End Colby Wooden. He landed a prospect grade of 6.24.

The coach’s dream weighed in at 273 lbs at 6’ 4”. He excelled in his Production Score earning first place among Defensive Ends with a score of 81. With a 71, he ranked 7th among Defensive Ends for his Athleticism Score. This left him ranked just second among Defensive Ends with a total score of 73.

The Georgia native competed in 5 of the 7 events. Wooden ran the 20-Yd Shuttle in 4.52 seconds, ranking first among Defensive Ends. He ran the 40-Yard Dash in 4.79 seconds, coming in 5th compared to other DE’s. For the 10-Yard Split he moved up a spot placing 4th in his position with 1.68 seconds. He also came in 4th for the Bench Press with 23 reps. Wooden placed in the top 10 for the Broad Jump with 9’7”.  

One of his top strengths is that he is “Extremely competitive with excellent work ethic.”

“High football character and scheme versatility could make Wooden a Day 2 selection and future starter with above average interior rush potential” - NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein.

Tank Bigsby:

Prospect Grade: 6.20 (Will eventually be average starter)

Jumping over to the offensive side for a bit, Running Back Tank Bigsby has the next highest grade with 6.20. The NFL Combine Tracker states his strengths as “NFL-ready frame,” “Able to cut and go instantly when he sees the hole,” “Rapidly processes the defensive front,” and “Creative inside runner who can elude tacklers in tight spots.” 

Auburn’s star running back ranked 14th among running backs with a total score of 74. He received a 71 and 68 for Production Score and Athleticism Score placing 14th and 22nd respectively. 

Bigsby weighed in at 210 lbs with a height of 6’ 0”. He showcased his skills in 4 events. For the 40 yard dash he ran it in 4.56 seconds placing in the top 10 of running backs. Moving on to the 10-Yard Split he placed in the top 5 scores with 1.54 seconds. The Atlanta native went on to place in the top 10 for both the Vertical Jump and the Broad Jump with 32.50” and 9’ 11” respectively.

According to NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein, “His size, creativity and quickness could create an opportunity for teams to pair Bigsby with another back to from an effective tandem in a zone-scheme rushing attack.”

Eku Leota: 

Prospect Grade: 6.13 (Good backup with the potential to develop into starter)

Back to the defense, EDGE Eku Leota received a prospect grade of 6.13. The Northwestern transfer was only at Auburn for two seasons, but made a defensive impact for the tigers and looks to hear his name called late in the draft. 

Leota is just coming off a pectoral injury that cut his 2022 season short and also revealed at the Combine that he has a strained left calf. Therefore, he did not perform in any of the Combine events. 

The 6’3” 252 pound senior from Asheville, North Carolina ranked 25th among the EDGES with a Total Score of 65. His Production Score was 68 and his Athleticism Score was 60, placing him in 16th and 33rd in his position respectively.

His Prospect Grade of 6.13 correlates to the criteria of being a “good backup with the potential to develop into starter.” 

“Leota is the definition of a 3-4 strong side outside linebacker… He plays with the same effort and aggression on every snap… Leota has above average skill level when taking on tackles and tight ends… Leota has a chance to develop into a plus run defender and potential starter as s 3-4 edge defender.” - Lance Zierlein 

Owen Pappoe:

Prospect Grade: 5.89 (Average backup or special-teamer)

Pappoe is the last defensive Auburn player who performed at the Combine. He had a Prospect Grade of 5.89. His workouts were all over social media as the nicknamed “The Freak” performed at the top of his position in two different events. 

The Georgia native ranked 9th for Production Score with a score of 68 and 2nd for Athleticism with a score of 89. His overall score of 77 had him ranked as 5th amongst linebackers.

“The Freak” ran the fastest 40-Yard Dash of any linebacker at 4.39 seconds and 10-Yard Split at 1.52 seconds. He was also at the top of of the leaderboard for Bench Press with 29 Reps. Pappoe was then in the top 5 for both the Vertical Jump and Broad Jump with 35.5” and 10’ 6” respectively. 

At 6’ 0” and 225 lbs the Auburn linebacker proved himself at the Combine with his athleticism. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein remarked Pappoe has “… impressive build, good speed and long arms.”

Anders Carlson:

Prospect Grade: 5.54 (Priority Undrafted Free Agent)

Anders Carlson rounds up Auburn’s representation at the NFL Combine. He was one of just six kickers that was invited. Auburn’s starting kicker for the past 5 seasons received a Prospect Grade of 5.54. 

Carlson looks to follow in his brother, Daniel Carlson, footsteps into the NFL. Zierlein says Carlson “Possesses good size and has made kicks in high-pressure situations.” 

At 6’ 5” and 218 lbs the Colorado native is Auburn’s second highest scorer in program history and looks to translate his collegiate talents on a professional level. 

These six former Auburn Tigers proved themselves at the NFL Combine and hope to hear their names called at the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri on April 27th 2023.