By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell
Two years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In this series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Last year, we started the “Why the Slide?” series, and this year it is back along with “Why Undrafted?” Feel free to email me requests for “Why the Slide?” and “Why Undrafted?” at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.
Over the past few years, Auburn has featured a steady ground attack that has consistently produced NFL offensive linemen and tailbacks. Last season, the Tigers had two quality tackles in Shon Coleman and Avery Young. In speaking with sources, they had Coleman graded as a mid-rounder and felt that Young was a quality talent to be a selection in the early rounds of Day 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft; however, Young went undrafted.
Sources said the reason that Young wasn’t selected was because of his medical status. Some team doctors flunked Young medically, which negated the draftable grade that scouts had given him. Teams like his skill set, but apparently the medical evaluation was too risky for a team to select Young.
After going undrafted, Young signed with the New Orleans Saints, which was an excellent choice on his part. Under head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have had a ton of success with developing offensive linemen who weren’t highly drafted. That was the case with guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks. Young (6-4, 328) has good size, but he has short arms (33.75 inches) for a tackle, which could have hurt him. Still, Young does have good size to play guard and the Saints are in need of some young answers at the position after moving on from Evans and Ben Grubbs over the past two offseasons. Tim Lelito, Cyril Lemon and Senio Kelemete are competing at guard, but none of them are of the caliber of Evans, Nicks or Grubbs. Thus, Young has a real opportunity with the Saints. It wouldn’t be surprising if he made the roster as a backup and grew in his role from there.
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