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One of the keys to Auburn notching its last win, which was was 31-20 over Ole Miss a month ago, was the return of linebacker Owen Pappoe. 

The team captain, and emotional leader of the defense, had five tackles including three solo after missing four games due to what Auburn called a “ lower-body injury."

"As far as being hurt, this is the first time I’ve ever had to go through something like this, so this was foreign to me,” Pappoe told reporters the following week. 

But ignore his numbers from that game. Pappoe is the kind of player who makes those around him better. For example, against the Rebels linebacker Zakoby McClain had 14 tackles and a career-high two sacks. 

"It just feels like that was the missing piece of our defense," cornerback Roger McCreary said. “I feel like we just fed off that energy. He and Zakoby always make huge contact, so with that, he likes to hype us up, before the game, during the game... I feel like that was a huge piece to our defense.”

Owen Pappoe

Jersey: No. 0
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-1
Weight: 226
DOB: 9/29/00
Draft eligible: 2022
Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia
High School: Grayson 

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Pros

Athletic linebacker with great range thanks to his trigger and athleticism. Pappoe possesses a flexible lower half and sudden lateral agility to avoid blockers when he attacks gaps. He uses his very good acceleration to catch up to receivers and runners that are already carrying momentum. Being an instinctual linebacker with a quick trigger allows him to always be a step ahead of blockers on the second level. Pappoe reads the offensive line and attacks blocking schemes. He is a smart, gap sound player who scrapes and fills to replace teammates. In space, he moves fluidly with great hip flipping ability. Good length and a powerful shock let him extend and establish leverage or take on tight ends when lining up on the line of scrimmage. Quick hands prevent blockers from getting their hands into his frame. Pappoe plays with great effort to chase down ball carriers and get sideline to sideline.

Cons

Reading the offensive line often causes him to get sucked up by play action, leaving vacated areas behind. Pappoe does not consistently tackle behind his pads and falls off of ball carriers. He fails to explode out of his hips. Once blockers latch on, he is unable to deconstruct. Pappoe is susceptible to overpursue and miss in space. Bad angles coming downhill cause him to whiff. He gets upright when gaining depth.

Summary

Undersized, athletic linebacker with great range and instincts. Pappoe is a smart player who possesses above-average physicality and shock in his hands to take on blocks. He is an inconsistent tackler, susceptible to taking bad angles. Pappoe projects as a quality backup weakside linebacker with starting potential early on. He should become a solid starter with special teams value if he can improve his tackling.

Grades

7.7 (current value/8.5 (potential value)

BamaCentral Analysis

The big questions regarding Pappoe are 1) Will he play against Alabama? and 2) If so how effective might he be? He's missed the last two games, both losses. He has 23 tackles over five games this season, including three for a tackle and a pair of quarterback hurries. In comparison, last he had 93 tackles, but only two during the 42-13 loss to the Crimson Tide. If he can't go, Chandler Wooten (6-3, 232 pounds) is normally the "star" defensive back, but he also backs up Pappoe and the weakside linebacker, which helps explain why he's second on the team in tackles.  

All this week, BamaCentral will profile numerous Auburn players as the Crimson Tide prepares to face the rival Tigers in the Iron Bowl. Also check out NFL Draft Bible for more evaluations.

DL Derick Hall 

One of the keys to Auburn notching its last win, which was was 31-20 over Ole Miss a month ago, was the return of linebacker Owen Pappoe. 

The team captain, and emotional leader of the defense, had five tackles including three solo after missing four games due to what Auburn called a “ lower-body injury."

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