Auburn football DE Colby Wooden, EDGE Derick Hall
The Auburn beat is in agreement that the reason why this year’s NFL Draft class was so shallow from the Tigers is because several upperclassmen defenders that could have gone pro decided not to.
Justin Hokanson of On3 noted that DE Colby Wooden and EDGE Derick Hall chose to return to Bryan Harsin’s program to improve instead of taking their chances in the pros this year:
Meanwhile, Bennett Durando of the Montgomery Advertiser pegged the pair as good as gone to the NFL if they wanted to be due to a marked improvement of their draft stocks in 2021:
"Edge rusher Derick Hall and defensive tackle Colby Wooden both had outstanding 2021 seasons, potentially raising their draft stock if they wish to go pro next season rather than returning to Auburn. Hall finished third in the SEC with nine sacks, and Wooden had one of the highest pressure rates of any FBS interior defensive lineman."
Make no mistake about it: these two bruisers were NFL-bound until they decided to ignite the Auburn family with their returns. They’ll be definite selections in the 2023 NFL Draft barring something drastic and unforeseen.