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Post-spring projections: Auburn’s wide receivers

Auburn wide receiver Marcus Davis, No. 80, makes a catch on A-Day at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday, April 9, 2016.
Auburn wide receiver Marcus Davis, No. 80, makes a catch on A-Day at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday, April 9, 2016. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Editor’s note: Projecting Auburn’s two-deep depth chart based on spring performance.

First Team

Auburn’s depth chart at wide receiver is as much a work in progress as it was at the start of spring.

Of the returning veterans, Marcus Davis probably did the most to help himself. He caught a 40-yard touchdown pass along with another deep ball on A-Day. Last year, not one of Davis’ 30 receptions was longer than 25 yards.

Wide receiver Tony Stevens gives Auburn a big target for whoever wins the quarterback battle while the coaches covet sophomore Ryan Davis’ versatility. Davis can be a deep threat and effective in the screen game.

“I think he’s a guy that can be a playmaker, but most importantly he’s a guy that is just doing it the way we want him to do it,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “He goes hard every play. He’s tough. He’s physical. He plays fast. He’s a smart kid that played quarterback, that helps. He’s really had a great spring I think in terms of just really elevating his level and improving.”

Jalen Harris gets the nod at tight end, but if the coaching staff goes through with its pledge to feature the tight end more in the passing game than Rice could see more snaps.

Second Team

Auburn’s coaching staff might have to shuffle personnel at wide receiver the same way it did this spring. They are going to need to evaluate three incoming freshman (Nate Craig-Myers, Eli Stove and Marquis McClain) and two players returning from injury (Stanton Truitt, Kyle Davis).

Kyle Davis, one of the Tigers’ early enrollees, wasn’t as limited as the Tigers’ other injured players that were held out during the spring. He wasn’t allowed to participate in contact drills, but Lashlee liked what he saw from Davis.

“We won’t really know that until the fall, but from what we’ve seen so far we feel pretty good about his chances to compete for a spot come fall camp,” Lashlee said.

Jason Smith and Darius Slayton have a leg up on the second team competition going into fall camp, but haven’t distinguished themselves in a significant way. Slayton did receive plenty of praise from his teammates as one of the most improved players from the end of last season.

“He could be very important,” Marcus Davis said. “That guy, he's got a great set of talent. He's really, really fast and he's just continuing to the learn the offense. I believe that he could be really helpful for us.”

Coming up: Projecting Auburn’s secondary