Auburn football: Projecting the Tigers' post-spring defensive end depth chart

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMay 10, 2014 

Sophomore defensive end Carl Lawson had offseason surgery on his ACL, Gus Malzahn confirmed on Monday. It is unknown how much time Lawson will miss this fall.

LAUREN BARNARD — Auburn University

Editor's note: Auburn's spring practice concluded with the A-Day game April 19. Some positions didn't change. Some had upheaval. With that in mind, Auburn beat writer Ryan Black will give his position-by-position projection of the entire depth chart as the Tigers head into the summer. The series continues with the defensive ends.

Who's Who:

LaDarius Owens, senior: Played in all 14 games (12 starts); 30 tackles (12 solo, 18 assisted), 5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries

Carl Lawson, sophomore: Played in all 14 games; 20 tackles (14 solo, six assisted), 7.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, 7 QBHs, 2 forced fumbles

Elijah Daniel, sophomore: Played in all 14 games; 9 tackles (four solo, five assisted), 3 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 11 QBHs

Gimel President, sophomore: Appeared in three games; 3 tackles (all solo)

Keymiya Harrell, junior: Appeared in one game; compiled no statistics

Pre-spring projection:

Left end

1. Lawson

2. Daniel

Right end

1. Owens

2. President

Post-spring projection:

Left end

1. Lawson

2. Daniel

Right end

1. Owens

2. President

Analysis: This position would have been far easier to project without so many injuries.

But nearly every player listed above dealt with some sort of ailment this spring. Owens didn't participate at all, as he was sidelined with a foot injury. Daniel tweaked his groin during the Tigers' first practice of the spring, slowing him down for the next few weeks. And then there was Lawson, who bruised his knee during the final week, which led to the team holding him out of the A-Day game.

According to defensive line coach Rodney Garner, there was one bright spot this spring: President. Garner raved about the rising sophomore earlier this week, and expects him to be a solid contributor this fall. (A story that will delve more fully into Garner's praise of President is coming soon.)

So, tough as it is to sift through the injuries, the projection didn't change due to the evidence at hand. Even though he missed the entire spring, Owens started 12 games at right end last year; therefore it's hard to envision a scenario in which the senior isn't in the starting lineup this fall. And it's a toss-up at the other spot. Both Lawson and Daniel were backups last season. Of the two, Lawson is a bit more polished, so that's why he has a slight edge in this projection.

Once they all return to optimum health this fall, we'll have a better idea of where things stand.

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