NFL Prospect Focus: Auburn Offense

Auburn finished 3-9 in 2012 and made a coaching change. They hired former offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, and things have turned around quickly. With two games to go, the Tigers at 9-1 still have a shot at winning the SEC West and a berth in the SEC Championship Game. It looks like the Auburn-Alabama game on November 30th will be for the Western Division title.

Looking at their roster, most of their NFL prospects are on the defensive side of the ball. Their offense is young and the only senior prospect is fullback Jay Prosch. Word on the street is, junior running back Tre Mason will stay in school. Redshirt sophomore Greg Robinson is the underclassman most likely to come out. Robinson is the starter at left tackle.

Greg Robinson – Offensive Tackle

Robinson enrolled at Auburn in 2011. The former four-star recruit red-shirted in 2011 and started 11 games at left tackle in 2012. He has started every game at left tackle this season.

Robinson has great size at 6’5 – 320 with long arms. He has excellent athletic ability and runs well for such a big man. He plays with bend, is light on his feet, and has very good balance and overall body control. Auburn plays from a spread formation, and Robinson is almost always playing from a two-point stance. Still he has very good initial quickness and gets to his blocks quickly. Despite playing from a two-point stance Robinson stays low and is consistently able to get under his opponent. Not only is Robinson big, but he is also very strong and explosive. He consistently gets movement with his blocks, and it’s not unusual to see his opponent knocked back two or three yards on contact. He takes good angles on cutoff blocks and when getting out to linebackers. On bubble screens, Robinson can get in space and make productive blocks. He is very good at adjusting on the move.

In pass protection, Robinson sets quickly, plays with natural knee bend, and has the lateral quickness to stop wide speed. He also shows the balance and body control to redirect and move back to the inside. He does a good job with his hands, showing a strong punch and consistently keeping his hands inside. With his size, power, and bend, he easily anchors against college bull rushers.

Robinson is a very talented, and with being only a third year player, is still young. As good as he is, he still has upside as he gains experience. He should easily be drafted in the first half of the first round and will start early for the team that drafts him. Like many rookie offensive linemen, don’t be surprised if he starts off on the right side once he gets to the NFL. As he gains confidence and experience, he wil be moved back to the left side.

Jay Prosch – Fullback

In today’s game, a player has to be very unselfish if he is going to play the fullback position. His main job is to block, and he seldom gets to carry the ball. If he’s lucky, he may get a pass thrown his way once or twice a game. Prosch fits that profile. He has not carried the ball yet this season and has only five catches for 95 yards. While he doesn’t get a lot of glory, he is very good at what he is asked to do.

Prosch is a fourth year senior and originally started his college career at Illinois. He played at Illinois for two years before making a hardship transfer to Auburn because of his mother’s health. At Illinois, Prosch was a part-time starter, and the same holds true at Auburn. When the Tigers use a fullback, Prosch is in the game.

He lines up in a variety of ways, usually as an offset fullback but he is also used as a wing at times. Prosch has good size at about 6’0 – 245 with average speed. I would estimate his speed at about 4.7. He has a thick build with shorter arms. He is a consistent run and pass blocker, showing the ability to quickly find his block. He can adjust on the move and makes good contact. While not an over powering explosive blocker, he consistently gets the job done. When used in pass protection, he is much the same. He can use his hands, bend, and anchor. He is alert and does a good job picking up blitzes. While not used much as a receiver, he has good hands and shows instinctive run skills after the catch. He runs low and with power.

The problem Prosch has when projecting him to the next level is his lack of height. At 6’0", he is not tall enough to play as a move tight end or H-Back. He is locked into being a fullback, and there are many teams in the league that don’t carry a fullback. Because of this, I don’t see Prosch being drafted, but he will be a priority free agent for the teams that use a fullback. If he signs with the right club, he has a chance to play in the league as he also has good potential on special teams.

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