Few college football programs have the history and prestige of the Auburn Tigers, and that includes sending players to the NFL. The program has had close to 300 players selected in the NFL Draft, including four players who were the first overall pick. Since 2004, the Tigers have had some of the most NFL picks in the draft,and had at least one player selected throughout the draft, so there is no shortage of former Auburn players in the NFL right now. Let’s check out some of the best Auburn players who have turned into stars in the NFL.
Cam Newton, Patriots
Newton is the best Auburn player this side of Bo Jackson and remains one of the program’s biggest NFL stars. While he’s endured a couple of rough seasons because of injuries, Newton is getting a chance with the Patriots in 2020. Even if his best days are behind him, he’s still a three-time Pro Bowler and former MVP.
Darius Slayton, Giants
After a modest college career, Clayton is proving to be far more valuable than a fifth-round pick. He finished his rookie season with the Giants with 48 catches for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. Slayton also has value as a kick returner and appears to have a bright future in the NFL.
Dee Ford, 49ers
At times, Ford has been among the best pass rushers in the NFL. He racked up 10 sacks for the Chiefs in 2016 and another 13 in 2018 before moving to the San Francisco 49ers. While he had a complementary role on San Francisco’s vaunted defense in 2019, he had 6.5 sacks and helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl where Ford played against his former team.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions
Johnson’s second season in the NFL was plagued by injuries, but he averaged 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie, showing he has the potential to be a difference-maker in the NFL. He’ll have a chance to reclaim his spot as Detroit’s primary rusher in 2020 and get his career back on track.
Braden Smith, Colts
Smith is one of the rare offensive linemen who played at Auburn as a true freshman. A few years later, the Colts drafted him in the second round. By Week 5 of his rookie season, Smith was in the starting lineup. He’s now one of the best young right tackles in the NFL and an important part of one of the best offensive lines in the league.
Carlton Davis, Buccaneers
Davis was a three-year starter at Auburn, ultimately making himself a first-team All-SEC player. The Bucs liked him enough to draft him in the second round of the 2018 Draft. Davis started 26 games over his first two seasons in the NFL and started to emerge as a potential star in 2020. Heading into the 2020 season, Davis is expected to be one of the key figures on the Tampa Bay defense.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals
While far from a star player, Uzomah has been a steady part of the Cincinnati offense for several years. When called upon, he’s stepped up and been the team’s primary tight end, which should lead to a long and successful NFL career.
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