The LSU Tigers had six players selected in last weekendâ€™s NFL draft. The picks varied from the expected activity and provided some surprises.
I do a lot of radio and television work with Chris Landry, NFL scout and Fox Sports Radio football analyst. I am exposed to a lot of information from Chris that includes the scout's perspective. He is truly one of the best in the nation when it comes to evaluations and ratings of NFL prospects.
Here is my evaluation (and a lot of my opinion driven by Landry's analysis) of the LSU half dozen who had their names called out in New Tork.
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Patrick Peterson CB, Pick 5 in Round 1 â€“ Arizona Cardinals: One of the selections that turned out about as expected, Patrick is an outstanding athlete with very good size for a corner. He will also impact special teams as a returner and have an excellent chance to start in the secondary right away. Peterson will be challenged by the mental aspects of the NFL, but pure talent and physical skills may well make up for any deficiencies such as overall technique. He could very well have a long, standout career.
Kelvin Sheppard LB, Pick 68 in Round 3 â€“ Buffalo Bills: This pick also turned out as expected as far as round taken. Buffalo needs defensive help (among other things), and Sheppard will have a chance to play right away. He will also contribute on special teams. Kelvin is a very smart football player who understands the game very well and will adapt to the NFL schemes quicker than most. He reminds me a lot of Brady James who has had and is still having a solid NFL career as an inside linebacker.
Stevan Ridley RB, Pick 73 in Round 3 â€“ New England Patriots: This was a surprise. Most experts did not have Ridley valued this high. The Patriots offensive system is known for using specialized backs for certain situations and formations. They will ask Ridley to be a short-yardage back who may also lead block at times. Special teams will also be a spot for him. A hard working, good person, Stevan will have a chance to make it long-term in the Bill Bellichick system.
Drake Nevis DT, Pick 87 in Round 3 â€“ Indianapolis Colts: The John Ehret product went about where he was valued. Nevis fits in for the Colts more than most other teams. Drake came up big time in the important games late in his career in Baton Rouge, where he continued to improve as a player throughout his college days. NFL teams like that characteristic. Nevis will be a situational player and have a chance to play for a while in a Colts defense that values smaller, quicker linemen accross the front four. He spent 2 weeks last month with defensive line guru and former LSU assistant coach Pete Jenkins, a huge help for Drake to further maximize his potential.
Joseph Barksdale OT, Pick 92 in Round 3 â€“ Oakland Raiders: This selection is a little bit of a surprise. The run on tackles in the draft raised Barksdaleâ€™s value and lifted him into round 3. Most had him as a 5th rounder at best. Good for Joseph, who will get a shot at right tackle, where he played most of his college career. Some positive qualities of an OT with help Barksdale succeed such as long arms and good feet. However, he needs to polish up a few skills to develop into a starter in the league. If he works as hard as he did at LSU, he can break the lineup.
Pep Levingston DT, Pick 205 in Round 7 â€“ Seattle Seahawks: A big surprise even as a 7th rounder, Pep fought injuries at LSU. He has the size to play at the NFL level. and if he can stay out of the training room will have a shot, albiet a long shot, of making the team. Obviously, Seattle liked his potential and hopes he can impress at training camp. Again, it will be difficult for him to make the final 53 in the Pacific Northwest.
What about the undrafted Tigers? If the labor situation in the NFL is resolved, look for Terrance Toliver and Josh Jasper to be signed as free agents with legitimate chances of making rosters. Jasper will have the better chance of sticking on an active roster as a consistent kicker in a league that demands high-percentage makes on field goals, but Toliver has all the tools you want from a wideout if he can put it all together with accuracy in route running and catching balls with his hands more consistently
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