Three former Auburn players sign with NFL teams as UDFAs
Former Tigers tight end Philip Lutzekirchen and running back Onterio McCalebb, wide receiver Emory Blake, linebacker-turned safety Darren Bates and left guard John Sullen were all prominent college prospects coming out of Auburn who ultimately went undrafted this year. Both Philip Lutzekirchen and Onterio McCalebb, who were invited to the NFL Combine, were earlier being projected as potential late round picks but went undrafted. John Sullen wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine and failed to impress talent scouts at Auburn’s Pro Day. However, all three players’ agents confirmed they were picked up by NFL teams after the conclusion of the NFL draft on Saturday.
Philip Lutzekirchen signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent, making a total of six tight ends on the team’s roster. Among them, third-year veteran tight end Lance Kendricks led the group with 42 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. The St. Louis Rams did not draft a tight end this year.
The 6-foor-5, 255-pound Philip Lutzekirchen posted a school record of most touchdown receptions (14) during his four seasons in Auburn, while also being limited by a season-ending hip injury last season, which ultimately required surgery in October.
Meanwhile both Onterio McCalebb and John Sullen signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as undrafted free agents.
Onterio McCalebb was one of the fastest players at the Combine. The 23-year-old Onterio McCalebb ran for 570 yards and six touchdowns on 94 attempts, while adding 18 receptions for 132 yards and 23 kickoff returns for 523 yards, for Auburn last season. But durability has been the key question for Onterio McCalebb, who exited Senior Bowl early with a hamstring injury.
The Cincinnati Bengals picked two other running backs in the draft – former North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard (37th overall) and former Nebraska tailback Rex Burkhead (190th overall). With the addition of Rex Burkhead, the Cincinnati Bengals now have five tailbacks on the roster.
John Sullen started 11 games at left and one at right guard for Auburn last season. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted two other offensive linemen – former Kansas tackle Tanner Hawkinson (156th overall) as well as former Ohio State tackle and tightend Reid Fragel (240th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft.