Auburn fans: You're gonna want to watch Derick Hall in the NFL.
The edge rusher is expected to be the first Auburn pick in the draft. No matter where he goes, he should bring a lot of fans with him.
EDGE Derick Hall (Auburn Athletics)
Derick Hall spent his four-year career at Auburn doing a lot of hitting.
Now, he’s waiting to get hit. And that’ll probably come in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Hall is spending NFL Draft weekend down in his hometown of Gulfport, Miss. — a place that watched him grow from a premature baby who spent his early days with plenty of health concerns to a top-150 football recruit who received scholarship offers from more than half of the SEC.
Now, the former Auburn Tiger is on the verge of becoming a pro.
“It still hasn't hit me,” Hall said after Auburn’s Pro Day last month. “I've been asked this question a lot — by teams, by media. It still hasn't hit me yet. A lot of guys, like, 'Man, the draft process has hit me.' But I'm just doing what I do every day, and that's working to help myself get better. I feel like it will come eventually.
“And when it comes, it's gonna be tough. I'll probably shed a few tears and take it all in, because this is a dream come true. Not many guys get this opportunity to be able to go out and play in the National Football League.”
According to most NFL Draft analysts, Hall is expected to be the first former Auburn player to hear his name called in this 2023 draft.
It can be tough to tell which players Auburn fans will follow closely into the NFL. Once players move on to the pros, they can easily fade out of the fan base’s collective attention.
There are exceptions, of course. A superstar talent at a position like quarterback (Cam Newton) is an obvious one.
And if a player gets drafted by a regional team that’s more likely to have Auburn fans — like the Carolina Panthers (Derrick Brown), Atlanta Falcons (Marlon Davidson), Tennessee Titans (Roger McCreary) or Jacksonville Jaguars (Daniel Thomas) — he’ll probably stay in the spotlight longer.
But, no matter where he ends up in this weekend’s NFL Draft, Auburn fans should want to keep a close eye on Hall for the next several years because of the way he will represent their program both on and off the field.
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