Oregon football will have six players participating in the 2023 NFL Combine leading up to the NFL Draft. The Combine takes place this week at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Oregon has the most players participating in teams among the Pac-12. The list includes three players along the offensive line and three players on defense.
Oregon football invitees are cornerback Christian Gonzalez, offensive linemen Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Alex Forsyth, T.J. Bass, linebacker Noah Sewell, and defensive end D.J. Johnson.
One area of play that Oregon has found success in recent years is the offensive line. T.J. Bass and Alex Forsyth head to the NFL Combine with some eye-popping numbers including over 3200 snaps in their respective careers in an Oregon Ducks uniform. They both are also versatile and athletic and able to play multiple positions. Forsythe moved to center for close to 1000 career snaps as a Duck.
Lineman Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu will join Forsythe and Bass. He had a solid 2022 with over 2000 snaps on the field, starting all 14 games at right tackle. The three players helped the team to succeed allowing just five sacks all season.
On defense, three players will head to Indianapolis from the Ducks, including a potential first-round draft pick in Christian Gonzalez.
The transfer from Colorado impressed in 2022 in green and yellow. He started all 12 of the Ducks’ regular season games before opting out of the Holiday Bowl. He also had four interceptions, good enough for third in the Pac-12. Two of his picks came against his former team on the road in a game at Colorado, where he was also named Pac-12 Player of the Week.
One player looking to move up the draft boards has football in his blood. Noah Sewell finished his Ducks career with 215 tackles, nearly 20 of those for a loss (17.5), and 7.5 sacks in his three seasons in Eugene. He also rushed for a touchdown in the win against Colorado in 2022 off a trick play that everyone saw coming.
The sixth player making the trip played both offense and defense in his time with Oregon. D.J. Johnson played at tight end on offense. He played on offense in 2020, on both sides of the ball in 2021, and returned to defense in 2022 where he led the team with a career-high six sacks.
All six of these players will be looking to open some eyes and get noticed. All six are trying to make an NFL team. I expect Gonzalez to potentially be a first-round selection. In some early NFL mock drafts, some have him going as high as 10th to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Oregon football has seen a lot of turnover during the tenure of these players, including multiple coaching changes, and in some cases position changes. They have shown their versatility and stuck with the program. The hard work has been done. Now they have an opportunity at the next level.
The 2023 NFL Combine begins on Thursday, March 2nd, and runs through Sunday, March 5th.
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