Editor’s Note: This story wraps up our series examining where 2020 NFL Draft picks from Auburn landed and how those situations will affect their professional careers. The series will also look at how Auburn will try to replace each player.
After matching a program record with six players drafted in the NFL Draft, Auburn saw eight former Tigers find landing spots in the NFL as undrafted free agents.
Undrafted players always face an uphill battle to make the roster, but this season might be even more difficult due to the lack of rookie minicamps and an uncertain future for training camps.
With that in mind, here are my rankings for the Tigers’ undrafted free agents’ chances for sticking with their current teams.
1. Arryn Siposs, Detroit LionsSiposs signed with the Lions following the draft to compete for the Lions’ punting job. The only other punter on Detroit’s roster is Jack Fox.
Fox has never punted in the NFL after coming out of Rice last season and going to Chiefs training camp before losing out to veteran Dustin Colquitt. According to the Detroit Free-Press, Fox worked out for the Lions in December and impressed the coaches. That history likely gives him the leg up going into training camp, but you would certainly assume Siposs will be given a fair shot to earn his spot if he outperforms Fox.
2. Javaris Davis, Kansas City Chiefs
You wouldn’t expect a player who signed with the Super Bowl champions to be in great shape, but Davis appears to have at least a fighting chance to make the Kansas City roster.
Cornerback was one of the Chiefs’ biggest needs going into the offseason, but they didn’t use any Day 1 or Day 2 picks on the position. They loaded up on Day 3 picks and undrafted free agents to compete for spots. In the fourth round, they took L’Jarius Sneed from Louisiana Tech, and in the seventh round they took Tulane’s BoPete Keyes. As far as undrafted free agents, they signed Michigan’s Lavert Hill, Ole Miss’ Jalen Julius, West Virginia’s Hakeem Bailey and Davis.
Sneed is likely a lock to make the roster, but Keyes and the undrafted guys should be able to battle it out.
Starter Bashaud Breeland was arrested last week as well, and that could open up another spot if they choose to cut ties.
3. Nick Coe, New England Patriots
Coe was considered a likely Day 3 pick but fell out of the seven rounds. Coe landed in an interesting spot though with Bill Belichick being legendary for his ability to get the most out of his defensive players.
Coe backed up nearly every front seven position at Auburn last year. Belichick will need to figure out where he fits the best, but Coe certainly has the talent that could intrigue the New England braintrust.
4. Mike Horton, Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown was the top selection for the Panthers, but they weren’t done with Auburn. Carolina added Mike Horton to the offensive line group.
The Panthers traded Trea Turner this offseason, leaving a big hole at guard. Carolina signed four undrafted free agents with Ohio State’s Branden Bowen, Baylor’s Sam Tecklenberg, Washington State’s Frederick Mauigoa and Horton.
While an undrafted free agent is unlikely to start, signing all those players indicates that they will have a chance to win a roster spot.
5. Will Hastings, New England Patriots
Hastings to the Patriots seemed predetermined. Former Tiger star Kerryon Johnson even claims to have called it when he was still at Auburn. Johnson quote tweeted Hastings’ signing and said, “I really hate to say I told you so … but I called this years ago.”
Hastings is also reunited with presumed Patriots starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham. That familiarity has to play to his advantage.
The Patriots have a lot of bigger names at receiver which make it tougher for Hastings to make the cut, but if Stidham and Hastings draw enough Tom Brady and Julian Edelman comparisons in the preseason Hastings could earn a roster spot.
6. Marquel Harrell, Buffalo Bills
The Bills have poured a lot of assets into the offensive line in the last two years, and Auburn’s Marquel Harrell is the most recent example.
With Quinton Spain, Jon Feliciano, Spencer Long and Daryl Williams, Buffalo is loaded with experienced options at guard. With the strange offseason, Harrell will have a tough time proving that he deserves a reserve spot over the veterans.
7. Jeremiah Dinson, Detroit Lions
The Lions identified safety as a spot that they could improve this offseason, leading to the signing of Jayron Kearse and a trade for Duron Harmon. They also bring back third-round picks from the last two years with Tracy Walker and Will Harris. Miles Killebrew is also a veteran for the Lions at safety.
Similar to Harrell, Dinson faces an uphill battle to unseat a veteran and earn a roster spot.
8. Spencer Nigh, Pittsburgh Steelers
Fullbacks are a dying breed in the NFL, and most teams don’t have one on the roster. The Steelers, meanwhile, have three.
Nigh is stuck behind Derek Watt, who was signed this offseason and is the brother of Steeler defensive star T.J. Watt. It seems very unlikely that Watt doesn’t win this job.
Behind Derek Watt, Trey Edmunds also returns with experience. Even if Watt is injured, Edmunds would be the favorite to win the job.