5 former Tigers selected in 2023 NFL Draft

Former Auburn linebacker Derick Hall (29) was selected was selected 37th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s NFL Draft. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)


LB Derick Hall – Round 2, Pick 37, Seattle Seahawks

Derick Hall did not have to wait long Friday night to hear his name called. The Seattle Seahawks took the Auburn captain sixth in the second round and 37th overall. He’s the first Auburn player off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“It’s just a blessing and an honor to be in this position,” Hall said from his draft party in Gulfport, Mississippi. “I definitely won’t take this for granted, having this opportunity. Because less than one percent of the world gets an opportunity to play this game at a national level and call themselves professional in what they do.

“I’m overjoyed. I’m blessed and honored. As always, Auburn Family, thank you and War Eagle.”

Hall was a three-year starter at Auburn where he accumulated 147 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss in his career. His 19.5 sacks are seventh-most in program history. This past season, Hall earned First Team All-SEC honors after leading the Tigers with seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss and was named the team’s defensive player of the year.

“He’s a great kid, a heck of a football player,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “You think about what he was able to do at Auburn. He set the tone. 4.55 speed off the edge, the burst at the snap, he goes speed to power, sends offensive linemen back to the quarterback.

“This kid gives you everything he has on the football field. A guy you can play up, down. Off the edge, he will get heat on the quarterback.”

Hall makes it 20 straight years Auburn has had a player picked in the NFL draft. It’s the second straight year Auburn has had a player go in the second round with Roger McCreary coming off the board to the Tennessee Titans in Round 2 a year ago.

RB Tank Bigsby – Round 3, Pick 88, Jacksonville Jaguars

Tank Bigsby will turn in his blue and orange for black and teal at the next level. The Auburn running back was chosen in the third round by the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick No. 88 on Friday night, becoming the second Tiger drafted in 2023.

“When I got that phone call, my heart dropped,” Bigsby said. “It’s like it really happened. It’s amazing. It’s a feeling I will never forget. Everything from July to mid-January to now, the stress just dropped. Knowing where I’m going to be at, knowing where I can go to work at, knowing my team. It’s a blessing.”

In three years at Auburn, Bigsby rushed for 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns and averaged 5.38 yards per carry. He finished seventh in program history in career rushing yards, and he had 13 career 100-yard rushing games, including four this past season.

“I love Tank Bigsby,” ESPN draft analyst Louis Riddick said. “This guy is the prototype one-cut zone runner. He has great vision, can make the first guy miss in the hole, great pad level, great lower body strength. In the pass pro, he’s able to stand in there and deliver a blow. He’s going to compete. He can catch the ball out of the backfield as well.

“If you want another example of why you don’t need to draft a running back in the first round, here it is. This is my poster boy for it right here.”

Bigsby is the first Auburn running back to get drafted since Kerryon Johnson was a second-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2018. He’ll join Auburn alum Daniel Thomas in Jacksonville. Thomas played 15 games at safety for the Jaguars last year.


PK Anders Carlson – Round 6, Pick 207, Green Bay Packers

There are now two Carlson kickers in the NFL after Anders Carlson was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round with pick No. 207 on Saturday. He joins his older brother Daniel who is the starting kicker for the Last Vegas Raiders.

Anders finished his Auburn career second in career scoring (410 points), second in career field goals made (79) and third in career PAT made (173). As a senior, he was 12 of 17 on field goals and made all 22 PAT attempts before an injury late in the season caused him to miss the final three games. He was also a finalist for the NFF Campbell Trophy.

Anders is the first Auburn kicker drafted since Daniel was selected in the fifth round (No. 167) of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He will join teammate Colby Wooden who was drafted by the Packers earlier in the day.

LB Owen Pappoe – Round 5, Pick 168, Arizona Cardinals

When Owen Pappoe arrives at the Arizona Cardinals’ practice facility, he might want to challenge new teammate Isaiah Simmons to a footrace to settle the matter once and for all. At the 2023 NFL Combine, Pappoe’s blistering 4.39-seconds 40-yard dash matched Simmons’ as the second fastest combine 40 in 20 years.

The Cardinals selected the two-time Auburn captain Saturday in the fifth round with pick No. 168 overall. After injuries limited his 2021 season, Pappoe came back strong last season, recording 91 tackles with three TFL and two sacks. During his four seasons on the Plains (2019-22), Pappoe made eight career sacks, 15 TFL and 256 tackles, a productive resume that attracted Arizona’s attention and investment.

DL Colby Wooden – Round 4, Pick 116, Green Bay Packers

Colby Wooden is headed north. Far north. The versatile Auburn defensive lineman is headed to Green Bay, Wisconsin after the Packers selected him in the fourth round at No. 116 overall on Saturday. Wooden makes it three former Tigers drafted in 2023.

“It was amazing. I’m blessed and honored to go to such a historic, accomplished program, the OGs of the league, to learn so much.” said Wooden, wearing a Packers hat at his home in Atlanta. “I’m blessed and highly favored. Go Pack!”

Receiving a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize, the 6-5, 285-pound Wooden smiled when the caller identified himself as part of the Packers organization.

“That was all I needed to hear,” said Wooden, who started three seasons for the Tigers, recording 152 career tackles, 30 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. “I was good to go from there. I’m just excited to learn, to get better, to go be a Packer.”