War Eagle Extra

Ricardo Louis traces lack of development at Auburn to program’s offensive system

Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis, No. 5, warms up before a game against Idaho at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015.
Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis, No. 5, warms up before a game against Idaho at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Ricardo Louis may have many fond memories of playing at Auburn, but the wide receiver isn’t so sure his time in Gus Malzahn’s offense helped his professional development.

On a conference call for the Cleveland Browns, Louis offered his take on ending up a fourth round selection (114th overall pick) despite projections that had him going in the late rounds.

“I would say that the Browns saw things from me that other teams didn’t see,” Louis said. “They understand that I was in a scheme at Auburn that didn’t require me to run very many routes, very diverse or complex routes and the fact that I was not developed as receiver at the time. Going into the Combine, I wanted to prove to everybody that I was versatile and I was able to run routes and catch balls smooth and well. Doing that, looking ahead, they got to see that they can develop me and mold me into the receiver they want me to be.”

Louis was Auburn’s leading receiver last year with 46 catches for 716 yards and three touchdowns, but his hands were an issue throughout his tenure on the Plains. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder modest production had the Atlanta Falcons ask the athletic receiver if he would consider playing defensive back.

Louis ran defensive back drills for the Falcons at Auburn’s pro day, but doesn’t have to worry about making a position switch with the Browns committed to him at his natural position.

Cleveland ended up drafting five receivers including Baylor’s Corey Coleman with the 15th overall pick. The team’s executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown explained the decision to invest so heavily in the position for ESPN on Saturday.

“We want to create great competition in that room,” Brown said.

Louis also talked about being reunited with former Auburn teammate and friend Shon Coleman. The Browns selected the offensive lineman in the third round Friday night.

The bond between the two strengthened this season when Auburn had a, “couple things that we dealt with on the field and off the field.” The two met up in the offseason as well.

“When we were training for the Combine, he came down to Pensacola,” Louis said. “We talked a lot and built an even better bond than we had before. Now that we are on the same team, it is going to be even better. We are going to have the same mindset we came in with. I think it is good that we are on the same team now.”