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By now you know that Sammie has declared for the NFL. Am I surprised? No. Did I think he should stay? Well, you can read my article about why I thought he and Duke should return for 2015. With Sammie's departure, all eyes look to #1. To me, he is a more NFL ready player than Sammie and many project him as a 1st rounder.
Let's assume for a minute that Duke does declare for the NFL. By a quick estimation, losing the seniors in addition to these two would be devastating to the future of the 2015 Auburn Tiger team. That's over 6,700 yards and 46 TDs from a total of 8600 and 51 TDs. That's a 78% loss.
The last time we saw such a departure of talent on the Plains was the 2011 draft. Auburn lost Cam Newton, Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery, Mario Fannin and many parts of it's terrific offensive line. That added up to roughly 75% of the Tiger's offensive production.
The key difference lies in the 4 offensive line starters the 2010 team lost, more than the future 2015 squad will have lost. However the key cog, Dismukes, that the 2014 line will lose weighs much heavier . In the last 3 years, we have seen the talent and execution split between Dismukes and his backups. All in all, the losses between these two squads is an even push, though I do recognize that you can't easily dismiss what Dismukes meant to this team. After all, he is the only player that touches the ball 100% of the time. Last year, I write that he would be more important to the Tigers than Tre Mason. The difference relies on the returning talent.
The 2010 squad returned or replaced a fair amount of talent. Guys like Greg Robinson, Dyer, Lutz, McCalebb, and Emory Blake made their way into the NFL (minus Dyer). Yet, the Tiger's were a one pony show with a predictable running game between Dyer and McCalebb. The Tigers passed for nearly 1,000 yards less in 2011 (the two starting QBs combined) than Cam threw for in 2010. And, to be fair, much of that yardage was against inferior competition. Down the stretch, the Tigers were simply terrible in all offensive facets.
While I expect Malzahn to have a good offense next year, without the 2014 playmakers, what can we expect?