The draft stock of Auburn running back Tre Mason was at an all-time high as the Tigers made their push to the BCS Championship game. And now Mason is in the conversation as being one of the top two backs in this year’s NFL Draft.
In his first year as a full-time starter, Mason rushed for more than 1,800 yards and posted a 5.7 yard per carry. He also hauled in a dozen passes for 163 yards.
Mason doesn’t overwhelm scouts with his size — 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds — but he has proven to be a dynamic athlete with above-average speed, good instincts, and elusiveness in the open field. Still, Mason can run both in between and outside the tackles and would be a strong complementary piece as a change-of-pace back.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt ranks Mason as the top running back in this year’s class and compares the former Auburn standout to Dallas Cowboys great Tony Dorsett. And what stood out the most was how Mason fared against elite defenses.
Mason posted 100-yard games in nine games this season, including contests at LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Tennessee, and at home against Georgia and Alabama. He rattled off six consecutive 100-yard efforts to conclude this season, including a 304-yard effort against Missouri in the SEC Title game and a 195-yard outing in the BCS Championship game against Florida State.
Brandt doesn’t see any running back coming off the board in the first round, but expects Mason to be one of — if not, the — first one off the board sometime in the second. Mason previously received a third-round grade from an NFL Draft Advisory Board.
Mason is considered the No. 47 prospect by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, behind Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, and No. 51 overall by CBS Sports.
Assuming Mason comes off the board in Round 2, there could be a number of teams interested in a back with his skill-set. The Houston Texans at No. 33 could add Mason to replace impending free agent Ben Tate, and Mason’s style could be a perfect fit in Bill O’Brien’s spread offense.
The Cleveland Browns could nab their future back at No. 35; as could the Oakland Raiders at No. 36. Perhaps the Jacksonville Jaguars find Maurice Jones-Drew’s predecessor with the No. 39 pick. The Tennessee Titans (No. 42) could add Mason to replace Chris Johnson as well.