Former Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier currently projects as a third-round pick, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
The 6’3”, 255-pound junior played in every game for the Tigers as a true freshman before taking the SEC by storm as a sophomore in 2011. During that season he notched 9.5 sacks and forced five fumbles en route to first-team all-conference honors. Over his career at Auburn, Lemonier totaled 98 tackles (24 for loss), 17 sacks, seven forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
He played mostly with his hand on the ground as a 4-3 defensive end while at Auburn, but he may need to transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL due to his slight build. Many scouts question whether he has enough fluidity in his hips to hold up in coverage, but after running a 4.60 40-yard dash at the combine, it’s clear Lemonier at least has the pure speed to make an impact off the edge.
Here are some of the highlight-reel plays produced by the NFL hopeful.
During this particular play we see Lemonier (No. 55) lined up on the left side of the defense, opposite the opposing tight end.
He reads toss sweep and stands up his blocker at the point of attack. As the Florida offense tries to stretch the play to the outside, Lemonier simply flows with the natural direction of the play before crashing upfield to cut off running back Chris Rainey before he can reach the corner.
Lemonier unceremoniously tosses the tight end aside, freeing himself into a clear line of pursuit which is interrupted momentarily by running back Trey Burton as he attempts to help his tight end with a chip block.
Burton proves to be nothing more than a minor speed bump for Lemonier. He erupts through him with a simple dip of his shoulder. The collision knocks Burton back a full yard. Lemonier's trajectory remains unimpeded and he wrangles Rainey for a four-yard loss.
He jars the football loose for good measure, though Florida retains possession.
This time on 3rd-and-10, Lemonier lines up in a more traditional rush end position across from Florida left tackle Xavier Nixon.
At the snap of the ball, Lemonier rushes hard to Nixon’s outside shoulder, setting him up for what looks to be his patented rip move. With Lemonier’s speed, Nixon is forced to commit to his outside or risk being beaten around the corner and letting his quarterback get blindsided.
Instead, Lemonier initiates contact, and at the moment of impact, just as Nixon’s momentum is carrying him outside, he unleashes a hurricane-force spin move to the inside.
Nixon is left grasping at air and his quarterback is left on the ground gasping for it.
Here we see Lemonier lined up opposite senior right tackle Grant Freeman, who dwarfs him at 6'7" and 305 pounds.
Once again he rushes hard at the snap, only this time he makes a slight hesitation as though he intends to engage Freeman in some hand-fighting. That's when Freeman gets flat-footed, and it's curtains from there.
Like an NBA star driving to the basket, Lemonier makes Freeman set his feet, then blows by him around the corner.
His excellent speed is again on display as he crashes into the quarterback from behind and knocks the football loose, registering a sack and a turnover.
On this play, Lemonier showcases not only his exceptional speed but also a high motor and excellent agility.
Lined up against the left tackle, Lemonier rockets upfield at the snap. The lineman goes low, cut-blocking Lemonier and taking his legs out from under him.
Unfortunately for LSU, he lands on his feet in true tiger fashion.
While maintaining his balance and essentially landing in his three-point stance, Lemonier simply re-launches, this time with nobody between him and the quarterback.
A sack is nice, a turnover is better, and Lemonier creates both in this case. Although Auburn would eventually lose the game by two points, plays like this kept them in it until the end.
Nothing fancy here. Lemonier just cuts through the Clemson offensive line like a hot knife through butter.
He lines up against the right tackle and takes a quick side-step at the snap. The tackle whiffs and Lemonier slices between him and the guard to corral the running back behind the line of scrimmage.
Lemonier has a penchant for causing fumbles when sacking the quarterback.
That unique ability may have never been on display as clearly as it was against the Crimson Tide.
Lined up against All-American Barrett Jones, Lemonier starts with a simple upfield rush to Jones' shoulder. Once upfield, Lemonier stops on a dime, changes direction and uses his explosiveness to dart past him on the inside.
With Alabama backed up near its own end zone, he can smell blood in the water.
Lemonier devours the quarterback and causes yet another fumble. Auburn recovers in the end zone for the defensive touchdown.
As previously noted, Lemonier's slight build may force him to move away from defensive end at the next level.
Here we see Lemonier tackling a few drills geared specifically for linebackers, rather than his customary defensive end position. The OLB position should become more natural to him as he continues to adapt and receives upper-echelon coaching.
Based on his workouts at the pro day, he has decent quickness in his hips and nice reaction speed. He just needs to fine-tune exactly what those reactions are. To his credit, he performed very well in simulated draws, delayed handoffs and screen passes.
He also spoke to the media about some of the things he needs to do to have success at the next level, so he's aware of his current shortcomings and seems eager to improve them.