Auburn football: Projecting the Tigers' spring weakside linebacker depth chart

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 11, 2014 

Auburn's Cassanova McKinzy catches a tipped pass for an interception in the first half against Arkansas last season.

TODD VAN EMST — Auburn University

Editor's note: Auburn's spring practice starts March 18. Some positions are set in stone. Some are up for grabs. Auburn beat writer Ryan Black has already evaluated all the personnel groupings on the team (which you can find here), but now he's paring that down even further to account for every individual position, projecting how the depth chart will look when the Tigers get back on the field for the first time since the BCS championship game. The series continues with the weakside linebackers

Who's Who:

Cassanova McKinzy, junior: Started all 14 games; team-high 75 tackles (43 solo, 32 assisted), 8.0 tackles for loss, one interception, one pass breakup, 6 quarterback hurries

Anthony Swain, junior: Played in all 14 games; 26 tackles (19 solo, seven assisted), one TFL, one PBU, one fumble recovery

JaViere Mitchell, sophomore: Played in 13 games; 13 tackles (eight solo, five assisted), one TFL

Justin Garrett, junior: Appeared in two games; four tackles (two solo, two assisted), one TFL

Kenny Flowers, junior: Appeared in 13 games; four tackles (one solo, three assisted)

Cameron Toney, redshirt freshman: Redshirted during 2013 season

Projected depth chart:

1. McKinzy

2. Swain

Analysis: There shouldn't be any upheaval at weakside linebacker this year.

McKinzy started all 14 games last season and led the team in tackles. Swain, while never making a start, served dutifully as McKinzy's backup. With the top two spots on the depth chart all but foregone conclusions, it's best to focus on the other linebackers.

Mitchell could end up in the middle or at weakside, as he split time at both during practice last season.

Garrett is another interesting case; after being moved from Star to linebacker, he was thrown into a competition against McKinzy for the starting job. The battle was short-lived, as lingering ankle issues caused Garrett to shut down his season after appearing in just two games. It's unknown at this point whether he will stay among the linebackers or return to Star.

As for Flowers and Toney, well, they'll just be trying to prove themselves. Flowers' contributions last season were mainly limited to special teams. Still, that's more than can be said of Toney, who never stepped off the sideline last year while redshirting.

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