By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Shon Coleman has been here before, at least when it comes to being on the big stage for the NFL Draft.
The Auburn offensive lineman introduced the 14th selection of the 2014 Draft at New York's Radio Music Hall, an honor he accepted as part of St. Jude Research Hospital's participation with the National Football League.
This week, he'll hear his name called during the draft from Chicago's Auditorium Theatre. He'll be at St. Jude in Memphis for that announcement, with the children trying to beat cancer, like he did after signing with Auburn in 2010.
Coleman is expected to lead a contingent of Auburn players into this draft. Pre-draft projections have him going as early as the second round, maybe the third.
Coleman brings a lot to the three-day draft that begins with the first round Thursday, including a resume as a two-year starter at Auburn and an imposing 6-foot-6, 313-pound frame. He says he's been visiting teams, though he's been limited by minor surgery on a knee after Auburn's season was done.
"I've just been visiting teams and trying to get a job," Coleman said.
Coleman isn't letting a sore knee bother him. That's more like a minor inconvenience for the player who beat leukemia. Auburn patiently waited for his recovery then, honoring his scholarship and waiting until he was ready to play.
Coleman says he hasn't worked out for NFL teams, "but my rehab is going well. I'm trying to get stronger."
Coleman can flash back to 2014, to Radio City Music Hall, to remember how the draft goes. That was the year Auburn's Greg Robinson was the No. 2 overall pick and teammate Dee Ford, went at No. 23. Coleman would replace Robinson as a starting offensive tackle in the 2014 season. And he did it with the idea of playing a role in another draft.
"It's my ultimate goal to be a part of the draft, and it's just something I'm working for," Coleman said that draft night.
Coleman says he hasn't read much about his draft projections. Instead, he says he's focused on the interviews with the teams.
"They ask about your background," he said, "they asked about your academics just to get a feel for you."
Coleman should impress there. He's already received both his undergraduate and Master's degree from Auburn.
"I enjoyed my team there," he said. "It was a great experience as a college student and as an athlete. I met a great people there, and I'll always remember that."
Auburn had five players drafted last season, but 14 players from the 2014 team earned spots on NFL rosters. The Tigers figure to add to that total this year. A mock draft at NFL.com projects five Tigers will be selected.
Other Auburn players hopeful to hear their names called, or quickly line up a free agent contract, are offensive lineman Avery Young; defensive backs Jonathan Jones and Blake Countess; running back Peyton Barber; linebackers Kris Frost, Cassanova McKinzy and Justin Garrett; defensive lineman DeVonte Lambert; and receivers Ricardo Louis and Melvin Ray.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him at Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine