Noah Igbinoghene drafted first round, pick No. 30 by Miami

Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. – Noah Igbinoghene bet on himself by declaring early for the NFL draft after his junior season. That bet paid off for the former Auburn cornerback Thursday night as he was taken in the first round by the Miami Dolphins with the 30th overall selection.

Igbinoghehe was the second Auburn player drafted in the first round, joining Derrick Brown who went No. 7 overall to the Carolina Panthers earlier in the night. 

"We're real excited for Noah, real excited for his family," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. "He chose to come out early and for him to go in the first round, that's really big.

"The Dolphins are getting a special player. You're talking about a guy who's only played corner really for two years, so we think his best ball is ahead of him. He's a great competitor. He's a super kick returner. So I think they're getting the complete package with Noah."

Following his freshman season, Igbinoghene moved from wide receiver to cornerback where he started every game the past two seasons. As a junior this past year, he finished with 42 tackles and was second on the team with seven pass break-ups. The season before, he led Auburn with 11 pass break-ups and also pulled down his first interception against Texas A&M. 

"You can make a strong argument that he's the third best cornerback in this draft," ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "He's a former wide receiver turned corner so he's still a little raw, but the kid has got a lot of talent. He's got recovery speed, improving cover skills. He's a guy that excelled in press coverage. And I thought he showed decent instincts for a kid who was a former wide receiver with limited experience."

"I can tell you the reason (Dolphins head coach) Brian Flores loves this guy. Miami is one of the top five teams in the NFL as far as the amount of man coverage they play, and this guy loves to get up in your face and be physical," added fellow ESPN analyst Anthony "Booger" McFarland.

Igbinoghene, who competed in track and field as well as football while at Auburn, also served as the team's primary kick returner since he first arrived on the Plains. He scored a return touchdown in each of the last two seasons and averaged 35.22 yards per return this past year. 

At the NFL Combine in February, Igbinoghene ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, jumped 37 inches in the vertical jump and 128 inches in the broad jump. 

With Igbinoghene going in the first round, Auburn has now had a cornerback selected in the first three rounds in each of the last three drafts. Jamel Dean went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round last year, and the Bucs also took former Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis in the second round in 2018. 

The 2020 NFL draft will continue Friday night at 6 p.m. CT with the second and third rounds.