High School and College Career
Owen Pappoe from Grayson High School was a 5-star recruit and chose to attend Auburn University.
Pappoe’s freshman year at Auburn was a busy one, as he played in 13 games and took part in 505 snaps for the Tigers. During this time, he recorded a total of 34 tackles, one pass breakup, although he didn’t record any interceptions. His QB rating when targeted was 88.4. Additionally, Pappoe contributed to the team as a pass rusher, achieving 10 total pressures, including six QB hurries, two QB hits, and two sacks.
The following year, Pappoe played in 11 games during his sophomore season at Auburn. With playing time on 713 snaps, he was able to record 62 tackles, however, when it came to coverage, Pappoe didn’t get any pass breakups but he did manage to achieve an interception. His QB rating when targeted for this season was 79.3. As a pass rusher, Pappoe was able to rack up a total of 16 pressures, including 10 QB hurries, three QB hits, and three sacks throughout the year.
During his junior year in 2021, Pappoe played in five games, contributing on 212 snaps with 20 tackles, he didn’t manage to break up any passes or intercept any throws; however, his QB rating when targeted increased to 117.9. As a pass rusher, Pappoe managed to create four total pressures, all of which happened through QB hurries. He was unable to achieve any QB hits or sacks.
Finally, in Pappoe’s senior year at Auburn in 2022, he played for a total of 12 games, achieving 806 snaps for the Tigers. During this time, he made 75 tackles, was able to break up three passes, intercept one, and maintained a QB rating when targeted of 77.0, which is very respectable. Pappoe recorded eight total pressures as a pass rusher, consisting of two QB hurries, four QB hits, and two sacks.
Owen Pappoe Scouting Report Introduction
Owen Pappoe is a standout middle linebacker for the Auburn Tigers who has been chosen as a team captain for two consecutive seasons. With over 2,200 defensive snaps to his name and 191 tackles and seven sacks in four seasons, Pappoe is an experienced and impactful player.
As a middle linebacker, Pappoe is an excellent communicator who can effectively counter offensive alignment shifts and quarterback audibles. He is a strong leader, and his athleticism and range allow him to chase down plays from the backside with ease. Additionally, Pappoe performs well in zone coverage, understanding depth and landmarks and working into the quarterback’s passing lanes/vision.
However, Pappoe’s physical strength and consistency in handling climbing offensive linemen are areas that require improvement. Instead, Pappoe prefers to use his speed and quickness to slip/evade offensive linemen before making a play on the football. With his arm length, there is hope for development in this area if Pappoe works on his timing and shedding skills at the next level.
Pappoe projects to be a weak-side linebacker where he can use his athleticism to run and chase the ball without the added responsibility of processing as a middle linebacker. Pappoe would also benefit from covering hash to sideline in coverage and securing the edges or outside as a run defender to funnel runs back inside. He has the potential to operate as a QB spy at times, given the influx of athletically gifted mobile quarterbacks in today’s NFL.
Pappoe is equally good against the run and the pass, and he closes quickly on relatively immobile quarterbacks. He is a consistently heavy hitter who demonstrates explosiveness and the ability to separate the ball. Additionally, Pappoe keeps his feet moving after initial contact and jumps inside as a counter to typical rushes. However, he needs to show a larger variety of moves to become more unpredictable.
Pappoe has a natural feel for the game and reads the offensive line well, enabling him to attack blocking schemes effectively. He has outstanding closing speed and disrupts opposing offenses both as a blitzer when given the opportunity. He can attack the edge quickly and flexibly dip low and under the tackle’s reach. His quick hands prevent blockers from getting their hands into his frame, and he possesses great feel in coverage.
Pappoe’s physicality presents a challenge: he stands at only 6’1″ and weighs in around 220lbs, which makes him noticeably undersized for his position. As a result, he lacks the strength required to effectively take on fullbacks or prevent getting engulfed by better linemen at the second level. And when it comes to getting off blocks, Pappoe can sometimes struggle due to his size and lack of raw strength.
Pappoe has exhibited a tendency to bite on play-action fakes, which is an area that he will need to improve upon if he wants to succeed in the NFL. Without size or elite athleticism, he’ll need discipline and technique to make up for it at the NFL level.
Owen Pappoe is the 127th prospect on our draft big board.