Auburn Football: McKinzy and Frost Exploring NFL Draft Options, Should Stay in School


We discussed the possibility only a few days ago, but we learned Thursday that Auburn football players Casanova McKinzy and Kris Frost are, in fact, exploring their option to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

I’m not a rah-rah fan that says this because the Auburn football team will be better with them in 2015, but McKinzy and Frost should stay in school.

Sammie Coates graduated. It’s time for him to get a job. D’haquille Williams may be a first round pick. He should go, too.

Evaluating one’s career options is always a good idea, so it makes no sense to knock them for exploring what NFL talent evaluators have to say. But all indications are this pair of junior linebackers should spend one more season on the Plains.

Sep 7, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers linebacker Kris Frost (17) tackles Arkansas State Red Wolves running back David Oku (25) during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Frost has not heard back from the advisory board yet, so we do not know where he and McKinzy would be expected to be selected in the spring, but it’s not much of a speculation to say that if either was considered a top prospect we would have heard by now.

We’ve heard a lot about Missouri’s Shane Ray, Alabama’s Landon Collins, Shaq Thompson from Washington, Benardrick McKinney from Mississippi State, Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, Michigan State’s Trae Waynes and Shilique Calhoun, Florida State’s duo of P.J. Williams and Eddie Goldman, as well as Florida’s Dante Fowler, Jr. all of which are junior defensive players that are considered first round talents.

In fact, all of those players were selected in the first round of Sports Illustrated’s most recent mock draft, which was released Thursday. If they have an opportunity to be selected that high in 2015 (or even in the second round), they should go.

But McKinzy and Frost? We haven’t heard anything about either until whispers earlier this week.

Frost mentioned he would be evaluating the competition he would face from the other players in the draft, so with so much junior talent out there, it’s hard to imagine either player will make the jump.

Simply looking at the list of players above, there are a lot of other options for pro scouts and general managers, and honestly, more qualified ones. Plus, neither player was ranked in the top 20 in their position group by ESPN’s Mel Kiper or In fact, only McKinzy was a top ten inside linebacker among those listed in the 2016 draft pool by CBS. Frost ranked 14th among outside LBs.

Sammie Coates graduated. It’s time for him to get a job. D’haquille Williams may be a first round pick, he should go, too… But all indications are this pair of junior linebackers should spend one more year on the Plains.

McKinzy and Frost are two of the best players on what has been a pretty bad Auburn defense this year. The Tigers have allowed 26.1 points per game and 388.7 yards on average – including 55 points and 539 yards to Alabama in their most recent game – and have surrendered 31 points or more in six straight conference games.

Despite those poor results, the linebacker pair has done their part. McKinzy’s 82 tackles are just two behind team leader Johnathan Ford and Frost ranks third with 75. McKinzy led the Tigers in tackles as a sophomore in 2013 and Frost leads this year’s team with three forced fumbles.

Of course, college stats don’t matter to NFL talent evaluators. Production is great, but natural talent and upside are more important to a player’s draft status.

McKinzy has good size for a middle linebacker at 6-foot-3 and 249 pounds, but Frost is a bit on the lean side at 6-foot-2 and 234 pounds. Both players are quick and athletic, Frost more so, and both have had their fair share of big hits. But neither has elite talent that gets people talking.

Still, both have been dependable and consistent, and have handled multiple roles in the past.

Because of a lack of a consistent pass rush, the Tigers have recorded only 20 sacks this season. Both McKinzy and Frost were asked to help – McKinzy by putting his hand down and rushing from a defensive spot on obvious passing downs and Frost by coming off the edge as a blitzer.

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Additionally, both have played outside and middle linebacker, and have already played for two different defensive coordinators. As we mentioned earlier this week, the firing of Ellis Johnson and hiring of Will Mushcamp may actually influence McKinzy or Frost’s decision on whether or not to return to school.

On one hand, Muschamp has done a terrific job of elevating players into high draft picks, but on the other, McKinzy and Frost would have to learn an entirely new scheme and potentially a new position. They may be tired of all the changes and just want to get on with their careers.

But, playing under Muschamp is a good long-term business decision. So is another year in the weight room, another year to get bigger, stronger and faster, and another year of film for NFL decision makers to evaluate. Yes, it’s annoying to learn a third scheme in four years (and then a fifth in four seasons once they move on to the NFL in 2016), but they’ll develop their football IQ as well.

If the advisory board comes back with a first or second round grade for either player, well then, good luck to them in the professional career. However, if the board doesn’t expect them to be one of the first 64 players selected, they should return to school.

The players must decide their NFL futures by January 15.

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