10 best NFL Draft picks in Auburn football history

Auburn won't be producing any first-rounders in the 2024 NFL draft, but that doesn't mean a late-round sleeper won't turn into a great value in the NFL. Many of the best draft picks in Auburn history slipped well past Round 1.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1)
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Round: 1 Pick: 13. 56. . . Takeo Spikes, LB. Takeo Spikes, LB. Takeo Spikes. 1998. 5. player

You can rarely draft an off-ball linebacker who posts a 100-tackle season as a rookie, but that’s what the Bengals got out of Spikes. He was excellent in Cincinnati for five years, but the Bengals, who selected him in Round 1 didn’t even get his best. 

Spikes eventually ended up in Buffalo in 2003 as a 27-year-old, and that year he made his first Pro Bowl with his sixth-straight 100-tackle season. In 2004, Spikes finished with 98 tackles but had five interceptions, returned two for touchdowns, and was named first-team All-Pro. 

Over his first seven seasons, he missed just one game, but in 2005, he played on three due to injury. Still, Spikes bounced back with another good year in Buffalo and seven more seasons of consistent football. Even in 2010 and 2011 as a 34 and 35-year-old, Spikes posted 100 tackle seasons and started all 16 games for the San Francisco 49ers. 

Off-ball linebackers aren’t popular first-round picks anymore, but Spikes paid off. He finished his career with 1,431 tackles, 29.0 sacks, 19 interceptions, and 16 forced fumbles.