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How many Auburn football players have been drafted into the NFL? A rundown of the history

AUBURN — The list of Auburn football draftees is illustrious.

From quarterbacks Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton to playmakers Terry Beasley and Bo Jackson, the Tigers have had plenty of success throughout the years in getting players to the next level. The number of players who have been selected in the NFL draft will soon rise by a handful, as defensive linemen Marcus Harris and Justin Rogers, cornerbacks Nehemiah Pritchett and DJ James and safety Jaylin Simpson are all expected to be drafted this year.

The 2024 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin with Round 1 in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday (7 p.m. CT). It'll continue with Rounds 2-3 on Friday (6 p.m. CT) and end with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday (11 a.m. CT).

Here's a rundown of Auburn's draft history ahead of this year's selection show:

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How many Auburn football players have been picked in the NFL draft?

Since the NFL and AFL merged in June 1966, Auburn claims 209 draftees. There is some nuance to that number, however, as Jackson was drafted twice. The star running back was picked No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986, but he refused to play for them due to a pre-draft visit that cost him his eligibility to play college baseball. Jackson sat out that season and was drafted No. 183 overall by the then Oakland Raiders in 1987.

Including the years before the NFL-AFL merge, which goes back to 1937, the Tigers claim to have had 295 players get picked in either league's draft. Walt Gilbert and Joel Eaves were selected in the fourth and eighth rounds of the 1937 NFL Draft, respectively.

What about the first round?

Auburn has watched 20 former players get drafted in the first round since the merger, including three No. 1 overall picks in quarterback Cam Newton (2011), linebacker Aundray Bruce (1988) and Jackson (1986). The most successful draft was in 2005, as the Tigers saw four players — running backs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, defensive back Carlos Rogers and quarterback Jason Campbell — picked in the top 25.

The Tigers haven't had a first-round pick since 2020, when defensive lineman Derrick Brown went No. 7 overall to the Carolina Panthers and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene went to the Miami Dolphins at pick No. 30. None of the five expected draftees this year are expected to go in the first 32 picks.

Recent history

It's been more than 20 years since Auburn didn't have a player get picked in the draft. It's a streak that dates back to 2004, when linebacker Karlos Dansby headlined a group of four players that also included linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, defensive end Reggie Torbor and receiver Jeris McIntyre.

The Tigers have had 86 draftees since the turn of the century. That total will likely be more than 90 by the time the weekend is over.

Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at rsilva@gannett.com or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football: The NFL draft history of Tigers ahead of 2024 draft