With almost a month to sit back and reflect on the 2016 NFL Draft, you couldn’t help but to feel a bit uninspired by the whole thing. It was just a tad bit ho-hum.
I mean, how else would you describe it when Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are the top two picks of the entire draft? You can’t blame them. They were just victims of an overwhelmingly weak quarterback class. That’s one of the reasons the draft was so blah.
Another reason this draft never really resonated with me was because of the lack of purple and gold. Uncharacteristically, there weren’t many LSU Tigers getting their names called.
It’s surely a surprise considering the fact that LSU has become a consistent supplier of talent for NFL teams. The past two years, there have been more LSU players on opening-day NFL rosters than any other school.
However, in this year’s draft, there were only five LSU players selected, and for the second straight season, the Tigers did not have anyone picked in the first round. Linebacker Deion Jones was the first to come off the board at pick No. 52 overall (pick 21 of round two).
One of the most disappointing things to watch was safety Jalen Mills’ fall all the way to the seventh round. Many projected him to get picked somewhere between the late second round and mid-third round.
Offensive lineman Vadal Alexander also dropped to the seventh round.
Though it was weird to see so few Tigers get drafted this year, fear not. This was an anomaly. This was the product of LSU underclassmen doing what they haven’t been doing in the past five years: staying in school.
Many Tigers decided to come back for their senior seasons. I’m hoping it will pay dividends in 2016-17. I know it will pay off when it comes to the 2017 draft.
Next year’s draft class will be chocked full of Tigers. We’re talking double-digits. LSU just may end up having the most selections out of any other school.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Leonard Fournette will declare for the draft after this season, and he will go on to be a top-five pick and the first running back taken.
With his amazing blend of size, strength and speed, he is a rare talent that has been compared to some of the greats—guys like Jim Brown, Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Eric Dickerson and Adrian Peterson.
Any time you can rush for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns in the SEC, despite one game getting cancelled, you’re going to garner lots of attention.
Another guy that should be a guaranteed top-15 pick and possible top-10 pick is Jamal Adams—who will also most likely leave school early.
Adams will head into this season as arguably the best safety in college football. He’s an instinctive play-maker that can also play well in the box. He has reminded many of Eric Berry and Eric Reid.
Another sure first-round pick for the Tigers will be cornerback Tre’Davious White. White would have been a first-round pick this year if he decided to come out—which I was shocked he didn’t.
White doesn’t come up with many interceptions, but he has good speed and is an exceptional cover corner.
Linebacker Kendell Beckwith was another guy that caused shockwaves when he decided to stay for his senior season.
Beckwith has the size and speed to play middle backer in the NFL, and if he can improve as a pass-rusher in new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s new system, watch out. He has a chance to squeeze into the first round.
Receiver Malachi Dupre certainly has the size and talent to be a first-round pick. It’s just a matter of Brandon Harris getting him the ball (if he leaves early).
Fellow receiver Travin Dural will most likely be a second or third-round pick.
Those are some of the flashiest Tigers that will get the highest draft grades, but there are plenty of other LSU players that will get drafted.
On the offensive line, Ethan Pocic will reap the benefits of staying for his senior year—so will defensive tackle Christian LaCouture. Trench-mate Davon Godchaux should get drafted if he chooses to bolt early.
Other players that should get their names called in April will be defensive ends Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal. Safeties Dwayne Thomas and Rickey Jefferson will also be in play.
In other words, the 2017 NFL Draft will belong to the LSU Tigers.