AUBURN – Former Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier’s wait ended Friday night when the San Francisco 49ers made him the 26th player picked in the NFL draft’s third round and the 88th player picked overall.
Corey Lemonier will head west to play in the NFL.
Lemonier, who help Auburn win a national championship as a freshman in 2010 and was an All-Southeastern Conference performer in 2011, passed up his senior season to make himself available for the draft.
And Friday night, later than he would have liked, it happened.
Early in the process, some projections had Lemonier going in the first round. He embraced that idea, saying he believed he should go in the first round. But as the draft neared, most projections had him going in the third round. And that is where he went.
Lemonier struggled to make plays the second half of last season as Auburn struggled to win games.
"Just getting chipped and double-teamed and stuff like that,” Lemonier said. “Most of the attention was coming to my side. I don’t want to sound like ‘poor me.' It’s just something that happens, part of the game."
Lemonier wowed scouts and coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine and again at Auburn’s Pro Day with his speed and athleticism. But his size – 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds – led some teams to question whether he could be an every-down defensive end.
For his career, Lemonier had 17 sacks and was in on 93 tackles with 24 tackles for loss.