Three former Auburn standouts unfortunately have not survived the first roster cuts of the upcoming NFL season.
Being a professional athlete is tough. Most people would agree with that. Only about two percent of NCAA seniors g on to be drafted by the NFL and the odds are obviously even lower for players who end up going undrafted.
That harsh reality became apparent for three former Auburn football standouts who failed to make the early cuts of training camp for their respective teams.
In an effort to cut their roster down to 80 players, the New England Patriots released nine players on Sunday — one of which being former Auburn wide receiver Will Hastings.
Hastings came to Auburn as a walk-on kicker from Little Rock, Arkansas. The 5-foot-10 pass-catcher eventually made the move to wide receiver where in four seasons, he recorded 56 catches for 845 yards and six touchdowns.
A torn ACL forced Hastings to miss the 2018 season and as a senior in 2019, Hastings saw his numbers dip to just 19 catches for 222 yards and one TD. As a result, Hastings went undrafted in 2020 before being signed by New England as an undrafted free agent.
In the past, the Patriots have had success with undersized slot receivers with players such as Wes Welker and Julian Edelman so Hastings felt like a natural fit for Bill Belichick’s team.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Hastings leaves a Patriots roster that features former Tigers Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Nick Coe, Jonathan Jones, Brandon King and Byron Cowart.
While his previous knee injury may have been a concern, Hastings has the speed to play in the NFL and when he was at his best, was Auburn’s best route-runner.
As for the second Tiger that saw his NFL dreams cut short this week, former Auburn cornerback Javaris Davis was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Davis, who spent five seasons at Auburn from 2015 until 2019, also went undrafted in 2020 and was signed by Kansas City as an UDFA.
Despite being a three-year starter at AU and being named a Freshman All-American in 2016, injuries hindered Davis’ NFL potential and despite an NFL Combine performance that included a 4.39 forty-yard dash and a 35.5-inch vertical leap, Davis did not hear his name called during the draft.
The Chiefs waived Davis and former Michigan State WR Cody White with non-football injury designations which means that both players likely suffered injuries prior to joining the team.
This past season, Davis put up a career-high 43 total tackles to go along with six passes defended, two interceptions and one tackle for loss. However, listed at just 5-foot-8 and 183 pounds on the Cheifs’ roster, Davis’ size made the NFL an uphill journey to begin with.
The third and final former Auburn player to be waived this past weekend and the only non-rookie of the group was former wideout Ricardo Louis.
Famous for his Hail Mary catch in the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” game against UGA in 2013, Louis was drafted in the fourth-round (No. 114 overall) by the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
In four seasons at Auburn, Louis tallied 98 catches for 1,338 yards and eight touchdowns including a standout senior season when he recorded 874 yards from scrimmage.
Despite his place in Auburn lore, Louis has yet to find any signifigant success as a pro. Louis had two solid seasons with the Browns to start his career recording a combined 45 catches for 562 yards. However, a combination of injuries would keep Louis off the field in 2018 and he was then waived by Cleveland in April of 2019.
It didn’t take long for Louis to get scooped up by the Miami Dolphins but once again, injuries forced Louis to miss the season.
Having not played in a game since the 2017 season, Louis was already on the fringe of the NFL. That notion was confirmed when Miami announced they were releasing the 6-foot-2 wideout and three other players on Saturday.
Louis obviously has the most NFL experience of the three former Tigers to be released this weekend but like all three of the players, injuries have kept him from reaching his full potential.
Auburn had six players get drafted in 2020 and had eight more sign as undrafted free agents. As of writing, there are now 41 former Tigers across 20 NFL teams going into training camp.
New England has the most former Auburn alumni on the roster, with that number sitting at five following the release of Hastings.