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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #13 Auburn

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 12, 2017

#13 Auburn Tigers

2016 Recap:
It was a roller coaster type season that started by losing a close 19-13 game against eventual champions Clemson. Auburn lost their final two games to go 8-5 losing to Oklahoma 35-19 in the Sugar Bowl.


Coaching:
Gus Malzahn enters his 5th year at Auburn averaging 9 wins per season. Malzahn knows he has playmakers on both sides of the ball but like conference foe LSU the Auburn Tigers need offensive balance and a stable passing game in order to compete.

 

Offense

It looks like last seasons starter Sean White will be unseated by bhaylor transfer Jarrett Stidham at the quarterback position. White hasn't had a problem with performance as much as just staying healthy enough to remain on the field. White broke his arm in the bowl game loss which was his fifth seperate injury over a two year period. Kamryn Pettway amkes life easier for the incumbant quarterback as he looks like another future NFL talent playing running back in the SEC. Pettway should enjoy life behind what we feel is the best line in the SEC, yes even better than the boys at rival Alabama. The starters for Auburn at least are better but Alabama offers more depth and players who are comfortable at multiple positions. It would be nice to see this team revitialize the passing game because there are plenty of cabale targets to throw too. Darius Slayton can stretch the field while Ryan Slaton is a reliable pass catcher who can move the chains.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Braden Smith OT 1st/2nd Round 2018.

                                       Kamryn Pettway RB 4th/5th Round 2019.


Defense

While Auburn lost a ton of talent on defense there were a number of freshman who saw time last year in big games so the transition should be easier than expected. Marlon Davidson may have a breakout year at defensive end in the 3-3-5 set Auburn uses. Tray Matthews will lead thesecondary and the former Georgia Bulldog has been very outspoken about the defense, his guarentee Auburn will have "one of the 10 best uinits in the FBS" has raised some eyebrows. The linebackers are solid but there seems to be some jostling of positions going on right now and a few starters from last season may be relegated to backup roles.

Best Draft Prospects: Carlton Davis CB 3rd Round 2019.               

                                       Tray Matthews S 3rd Round 2018.


Special Teams:

While Ian Shannon is a wildcard at punter the same cannot be said for Daniel Carlson at kicker. Carlson stands a legitimate chance at getting drafted in 2018 and could be the first kicker off the board. Backup running back Kenyon Johnson should complete the bulk of the returns.


Schedule:

Auburn gets another crack in Clemson in South Carolina in week 2. October 14th - November 4th is the grueling part of the schedule for Auburn as they face LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M in three successive road tilts. Alabama and Georgia at the end of the year will be in the friendly confines of home.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

Auburn is going to be a popular pick for experts who want to look at a team besides Alabama to win the SEC. The Iron Bowl could loom large once again. The draftable talent is here, especially along the lines on offense and defense where some good young talent has been recruited in recent years.

 

DJ Boyer