American Football

2023 NFL Draft profile: Auburn defensive lineman Colby Wooden


Missouri v Auburn
Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

If the Denver Broncos are interested in adding to their defensive trenches, Auburn’s Colby Wooden would be a great prospect to consider.

The Denver Broncos made a big splash in this year’s free agency period signing defensive end Zach Smith to a multi-year deal. His addition offsets the departure of Dre’Mont Jones, who signed a lucrative deal with the Seattle Seahawks.

The franchise will be looking to also replace the production of DeShawn Williams, who ranked second in snaps for Denver’s defensive lineman last season and signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers this free agent period.

The Broncos have D.J. Jones solidifying the nose tackle position and have veteran Mike Purcell to back him up. Additionally, two second-year players and 2022 NFL Draft selections Matt Henningsen and Eyioma Uwazurike look to have a bigger role with the team and one is likely to be the starting end opposite of Smith.

With the aforementioned players, the Broncos are five deep on the defensive line, but could use another developmental player in the fold. How about one whose best ability is getting after the opposing quarterbacks?

Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Colby Wooden would be a fantastic option for the Broncos to consider in this year’s draft. Let’s take a deeper look at what he has to offer.

Colby Wooden — Defensive Lineman — Auburn

Height: 6’4” Weight: 273 lbs.

Bench Press: 23 reps | Arm Length: 33 3/4” | Hands: 10 3/8”

40 Yard Dash: 4.79 | 3 Cone Drill: N/A | 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.52

Colby Wooden was an All-State performer in Georgia and was ranked as a top defensive line prospect by various outlets in his high school recruiting class.

After getting a bunch of offers, Wooden decided to jump a few states west and continue his gridiron career at Auburn. Initially he redshirted in 2019, but eventually played in a handful of games coming off the bench with limited production. But in his true redshirt freshman season, he made an immediate impact and earned a starting role on Auburn’s defensive interior line. In 11 games, he posted 41 tackles, 9 of them for loss, and 3.5 sacks which earned him All-SEC Freshman team honors.

In his sophomore season, his ascent continued. This time he was a starter at defensive end and recommenced an arc of positive growth. He amassed 61 tackles on the year, 8.5 of them for loss, and 4.5 sacks. This past season, he had 45 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 6 sacks, but also forced three fumbles defensively.

All and all, Wooden was a highly productive player who seemed to get better every year. That bodes well for him as he looks to make a name for himself in the NFL.

Film Room and Highlights

Scouting Report

Positives: Prototypical size with the frame to get bigger and stronger. Experience playing inside and out in Auburn’s defensive front. Good quickness of the snap and has a knack for disrupting plays in the backfield. Skilled pass rusher with a powerful bull rush and swim move whose at his best getting to the quarterback from inside alignments. Technique and handwork is advanced and pro ready. Improved each year and became a leader of the Tigers’ defense. Lauded by coaches and fellow players for his high character, work ethic, and dedication to the game. Relentless motor and gives it his all every game.

Negatives: Needs to improve his tackling form, pad level, and balance. Could stand to improve his diagnosing ability on run plays. Aggressiveness can lead to over pursuit and leaving running lanes open for the opposition. Can be overpowered on combo blocks and easily washed out of run support.

Overall: Top 125 prospect.

Wooden’s Fit With the Broncos

Wooden projects as a versatile defender whose main draw is getting after the passer on the interior in an odd-man front. That would be a much welcome addition to Denver’s defensive line as they need another brawler up front who can rush the passer.

He possesses starting potential and offers three-down potential if he can correct some of the issues. It may take a season or so for him to hit his stride, but I believe he would be a good addition to Vance Joseph’s defense. I think his value is somewhere late on Day 2 or early on Day 3 in this year’s draft.

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