Auburn football: 10 best Tigers players in the NFL
There are 33 active players on NFL rosters from Auburn, according to ESPN. That includes the 6 players recently drafted into the NFL, most in the program’s history since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in 1994.
That’s a fairly large number of former Tigers continuing their football careers, but who are the best at the next level? What Auburn players have done the most and played the best since leaving The Plains?
Sure, Cam Newton is a no-brainer for the top of that list, but here are the top 10 active NFL players from Auburn.
1. Cam Newton (QB, Panthers)
The former No. 1 pick and Heisman Trophy winner looks to bounce back after offseason shoulder surgery. The 2015 MVP is the all-time NFL leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (58). In 8 NFL seasons, all with the Panthers, Newton has passed and rushed for more than 33,000 yards, accounting for 240 touchdowns.
2. Dee Ford (LB, 49ers)
Ford has been a NFL talent from the beginning, playing in all 16 games as a rookie in 2014. Ford was traded by the Chiefs to the 49ers after a career-year with Kansas City in 2018, successfully returning from back surgery the previous season. In 2018, Ford recorded career-highs in tackles (55), sacks (13) and forced fumbles (7).
3. Kerryon Johnson (RB, Lions)
Johnson averaged 5.4 yards on 118 carries last season — not bad for a rookie. He rushed for 641 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 158-yard game against the Dolphins — his second 100-yard game. In addition, he caught 32 passes for 213 yards and another score in 2018. The future looks bright for this budding star.
4. Greg Robinson (OT, Browns)
A No. 2 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Rams, Robinson was a pillar in the team’s trenches — starting 42 games in 3 years — before an ankle injury set him back. Now in Cleveland, Robinson is hoping to not only revitalize his career but also the Browns’ franchise as well.
5. Jonathan Jones (CB, Patriots)
A staple in the Patriots’ secondary, Jones didn’t miss a game in his first 3 seasons. Improving each season culminating in career-highs last year in tackles (56), sacks (1.5), and interceptions (3), Jones looks for even bigger and better things in 2019 as his NFL career continues to blossom.
6. C.J. Uzomah, (TE, Bengals)
In 4 seasons with the Bengals, Uzomah has improved each year. Last season he set career-highs in regular season games played (16), receptions (43), yards (439), average yards per catch (10.2), and touchdowns (3). He is also becoming somewhat of a go-to receiver, having made 21 first downs on his 43 catches.
7. Shon Coleman (OT, 49ers)
Acquired from Cleveland for a 2019 draft pick, Coleman started 16 games for the Browns last season. Coleman, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2016, now works toward cracking the starting lineup in San Francisco.
8. Ricardo Louis (WR, Dolphins)
Signed by the Dolphins to a 1-year deal, Louis is hoping for a bounce-back season after missing all of 2018 following neck surgery. In 2 prior seasons with Cleveland, Louis caught 45 passes for 562 yards. He is still looking for his first NFL touchdown. Louis is from Miami and went to high school there before playing at Auburn.
9. Neiko Thorpe (CB, Seahawks)
A stellar special teams player for the past three seasons with Seattle, Thorpe was recently re-signed for the 2019 season. He began his 6-year NFL career with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent. He also played 2 seasons with Oakland.
10. Peyton Barber (RB, Bucs)
In his third season with Tampa Bay, the former undrafted free agent turned in his best year in 2018, rushing for 871 yards and 5 touchdowns. In addition, he added 92 receiving yards on 20 pass receptions and another touchdown. The Bucs rewarded him with a 1 year deal worth more than $2 million — which surpassed his career earnings to date.