Auburn's Angelo Blackson tracking down quarterbacks against Ole Miss
By Charles Goldberg
There's now another Cam in Carolina.
That happened when the Panthers drafted Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, a move that pairs him with former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
Artis-Payne, the SEC's leading rusher last season, was the fifth Auburn player selected in this year's draft, joining receiver Sammie Coates, a third-round pick; defensive linemen Angelo Blackson and Gabe Wright, who were fourth-round picks; and tight end C.J. Uzomah, a fifth-round pick.
Auburn's five selections were the most since 2008. Another nine Auburn players, including Reese Dismukes and Nick Marshall, were signed as undrafted free agents before Saturday was done.
Coates was first off the board, selected Friday night in the third round by Pittsburgh.
Blackson was the first player selected Saturday as the fourth round opened in Chicago. The Tennessee Titans called his name. He said he had no idea the Titans were interested. Wright was chosen soon after by the Detroit Lions. Uzomah went in the fifth round to Cincinnati.
Artis-Payne led the SEC, and had the third-best rushing season in Auburn history, when he gained 1,608 yards last season. He scored 13 touchdowns last year and 19 in his two-year Auburn career.
"I had a great experience at Auburn, and I wouldn't trade it for the world," Artis-Payne told the Carolina Panthers website.
And, like his approach at Auburn, he says he wants to prove something with Carolina.
"Definitely, because I was the 15th running back drafted I'm out to prove a lot of people wrong," Artis-Payne said. "With how I worked to get here, I really don't think there are too many people that have the drive and desire that I do to be great."
Blackson had 17 tackles last season and 52 tackles in his Auburn career. He had 17 tackles for a loss. Wright had 24 tackles last season and 86 in his career. He had 20½ tackles for a loss.
Uzomah had 29 catches in his career, including 11 last season.
Some of Auburn's other big-name players were snapped up as undrafted free agents. Here's the list Auburn free agent signees through Saturday:
Center Reese Dismukes: Pittsburgh
Nick Marshall: Jacksonville
Quan Bray: Indianapolis
Corey Grant: Jacksonville
Brandon King: New England
Patrick Miller: San Francisco
Trovon Reed: Seattle
Chad Slade: Houston
Robenson Therezie: Atlanta
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine