Tre Mason heads to St. Louis in third round of NFL draft, set to join Greg Robinson

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMay 9, 2014 

Mississippi Auburn Football

Tre Mason was taken by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the NFL draft in May.

TODD J. VAN EMST — Auburn University

AUBURN, Ala. — The St. Louis Rams have an affinity for Auburn.

One day after taking Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick, the Rams selected running back Tre Mason in the third round. He even tweeted out the news himself prior to the announcement on television.

"Joining my brother @GRob_92!" Mason tweeted. "Let's continue to take over! #Rams"

Mason was the fifth running back off the board.

Washington's Bishop Sankey was the first, going to the Titans with the 54th overall pick, the latest its ever taken for a running back to be selected in an NFL draft. That set off a mini frenzy at the spot, as two more were taken in the next three picks: Cincinnati selected LSU's Jeremy Hill at No. 55 while San Francisco took Ohio State's Carlos Hyde at No. 57. West Virginia's Charles Sims was next, as he went to Tampa Bay with the No. 69 overall pick, the fifth selection in the third round.

And "third" also was the key word for Auburn, as Mason joined Robinson and Dee Ford as former Tigers who have found a new home. Robinson (second overall to St. Louis) and Ford (23rd overall to Kansas City) were taken in the first round on Thursday.

Robinson and Mason add to the growing number of Auburn alums dotting the Rams' roster. Linebacker Daren Bates and receiver Emory Blake were rookies last season.

And that connection extends beyond the playing field. Coach Jeff Fisher's son, Trent, played at Auburn the last three seasons before leaving the team this spring. Former Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter works in the Rams' football operations department as a scouting assistant.

Then there is Les Snead. Now the Rams' general manager, he played tight end at Auburn in the 1990s and was part of the Tigers' undefeated squad in 1993. He became St. Louis' GM in 2012 after serving as the Atlanta Falcons' director of player personnel the previous three years.

It's unclear how much the murky status of Mason's wrist affected his draft stock. Two weeks ago, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Mason would need surgery on his wrist after reviewing an exam taken at the combine.

The Heisman Trophy finalist forcefully refuted the claim on his personal Twitter account.

"I WILL NOT be having any type of surgery on my body!” he tweeted. “Well and healthy. Media is trying to paint a picture.”

Those aren't the only questions he's had to answer. While he set single-season school records for rushing yards (1,816) and touchdowns (23, which also tied Tim Tebow's single-season Southeastern Conference mark), Mason pass blocking.

It was a criticism Mason felt was off base.

"I haven't given up many sacks at all in the past two years that I played and I feel like that’s a strength of mine," he said, before noting another attribute people find fault with. "But people will knock me because of my size — I’m short. But you don’t block the hole in height. You block it with how much heart you have.”

While the Florida native has had to overcome his share of doubters to get to this point, he'll have a familiar face to look to — and run behind — in Robinson.

"My brother @TreMason21 called me crying," Robinson tweeted shortly after the news broke. "I just dropped a few tears this is crazy love you bro #RamsDraft"

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