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NFL Draft

Eli Stove: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • April 17, 2021
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The 2021 NFL Draft is loaded with talented wide receivers, which should give teams plenty of options to get fantastic value in the middle and later rounds.

One such player who is flying under the radar right now is former Auburn wide receiver Eli Stove.

Stove is a versatile player with more than 1,100 receiving yards and 550 rushing yards to his name. He spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his time at Auburn, his favorite route to run, and why an NFL team should take a chance on him.

JM: How big was it for you to come back to Auburn and put together two solid seasons in 2019 and 2020 after dealing with an ACL injury in 2018?

ES: It was huge. I wish I received a few more opportunities in the passing game at times. I felt like I could have put up some bigger numbers but it felt great to be 100% healthy in 2019 and 2020. I’m in a great position right now to make my mark on the next level. I’m thankful for the opportunities that I did receive.

JM: Auburn recently had its Pro Day. What was that experience like? Tell our readers about some of your results.

ES: We had our Pro Day on March 18. I had a good day. I got a lot of feedback that said I looked smooth while running routes. I wanted my 40-yard dash to be a bit faster. I ran a 4.50 but I know I’m a 4.4 player. I ran with a bit of an abductor strain in my right leg. I could run faster than I did. That was tough but it was still a good time. I’m pleased with the results of my Pro Day. I hit 14 reps on the bench press. I hit a 9-foot-11 on my broad jump. I did well in every drill. I’m not worried about it.

JM: Those are some solid numbers. Do you have a favorite route to run?

ES: I love running an option route. I can make somebody miss at the top of the route with that. I love running that for five to 10 yards. I can take it inside or outside. There’s just so much you can do with an option route. I can make somebody miss with an option route in the open field.

JM: That’s a great choice. You’ve spent the last few months meeting with NFL teams virtually on Zoom, and in person at your Pro Day. What’s that process been like, and who are some of the teams that you’ve met with?

ES: I’ve met with so many teams. I met with some teams at the Hula Bowl as well. I’ve met with the Rams, Chargers, 49ers, Dolphins, Giants, Packers, Jets, Bills, Browns, Jaguars, and Saints. Those are the teams I’ve heard the most from.

JM: There’s some interest in you and it’s easy to see why. You played some special teams in 2020. You returned a few punts and kicks for the first time in your career. What was that experience like, and do you hope to continue returning kicks at the next level?

ES: NFL teams have brought that up a lot on my calls. They can see me playing special teams in the NFL. Some teams said I can be their backup punt returner. Other teams are still looking for their starting punt returner and I can be in the mix for that. I can fill that role.

I didn’t just return kicks and punts. I did everything on special teams. I played on the hands team. I was a gunner. I got down there and made tackles. That’s what I honestly enjoy the most. I love getting down there on defense too. I can get down there and cover a kick or punt. I can make a tackle. I’m a big asset in that area of the game.

JM: I can see you making an NFL roster due to your ability on special teams. You played alongside some talented receivers at Auburn over the past couple of years. I bet the position room had a ton of camaraderie.

ES: We really enjoyed our time together. We were like one big family. We keep up with one another. It’s great to see how everybody is doing. Some of us have gone on to play in the NFL, and others went out and got real jobs (laughs). We still hang out and talk all the time. That’s the biggest thing. We’re still teammates. We’re always gonna root for one another. We had some great receivers at Auburn.

JM: That’s what we love to hear. I’ve appreciated your time today. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of its draft pick on Eli Stove?

ES: I can bring a lot to the table. I’m going to contribute as both a wide receiver and on special teams. Teams love that sort of versatility. They’re gonna get a great receiver that can make plays in space. I’m dangerous with the ball in my hands. I can make defenders miss in the open field. I can run every route in the route tree. I’m like a running back when I get the ball in my hands. I had over 500 rushing yards at Auburn. You can put me in the backfield. I’m a dynamic returner on special teams. I’m gonna run my butt down there on kickoffs and punts to make tackles. I’m always gonna do my job. You’re getting a hard worker. I’m consistent and humble. I have a ton of potential.

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