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Tag:LSU Tigers
Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 12:31 am
 

Combine shows Brockers has plenty of red-flags

LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers is one of the most intriguing talents in the entire 2012 draft but a poor showing at the Combine Monday is certain to give scouts pause before labeling him as one of its best. 

Brockers had made a strong impression on scouts just by measuring in. The 6-5, 322 pounder created quite a buzz during the measuring process once scouts put the tape to his 35" arms. Scouts love long arms on defensive linemen as it can give them an advantage when fighting blocks. Because of this fact, scouts won't be too worried about the fact that Brockers finished tied for last among all defensive linemen performing in the bench press drill (19). Simple physics make it more difficult for long-armed athletes to impress in the bench press and Brockers' strength is obvious on tape. 

Unfortunately, Brockers performed just as poorly in several other Combine tests which should raise red-flags for scouts projecting the one-year starter as an immediate impact defender in the NFL.  

Brockers was clocked at an alarmingly slow 5.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This time was the third worst among the 49 defensive linemen tested in Indianapolis this year. The only two defensive linemen with a time more than a hundredth of a second slower than Brockers were Missouri's Dominique Hamilton and Southern Cal's Christian Tupou. As a point of comparison, Brockers is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated prospect overall. Hamilton and Tupou are rated 360th and 378th, respectively. 

Think the 40-yard dash time is an anomoly? Think again. Brockers finished among the worst in defensive linemen tested in the vertical jump (26.5"), broad jump (105") and short shuttle (4.81), as well. 

Brockers elected to leave LSU with two years of college eligibility remaining. While his statistics were less than jaw-dropping (47 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks), his play got better as the year went on and culminated with a strong showing in the BCS Championship in which he appeared to be one of the best players on the field.

Considering the talent at Alabama and LSU, that's saying a mouthful.  

However, the past two highly regarded LSU defensive linemen -- Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson -- haven't enjoyed the pro success expected after generating top five picks (both by the Kansas City Chiefs) in recent years. And that fact should give scouts pause, as well.  
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm
 

Panthers plan private visit with LSU DT Brockers

Typically NFL teams wait until after the Combine and Pro Day workouts to schedule private visits with potential draft picks.

The Carolina Panthers, however, have already invited LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers to visit their facility March 8, according to the redshirt sophomore's agent.

Albert Elias of Elias Sports Management announced the proposed meeting via his Twitter account.

Listed by LSU at 6-6, 306 pounds pounds, Brockers ranks among the elite talents in what has shaped up to be a strong defensive tackle class. Brockers is currently second among defensive tackles on NFLDraftScout.com's board (behind Penn State's Devon Still) and is our No. 13 overall rated prospect. He's among six defensive tackles NFLDraftScout.com currently projects as potential first round prospects -- the highest total from any position in the 2012 draft. I'm even higher on Brockers than my peers, ranking him 10th overall on my Big Board.

The Panthers finished 25th in the NFL last season by allowing an average of 130.8 rushing yards per game. Worse, they finished 30th in the league by allowing 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2011. Clearly, improving their run defense will be a priority for Carolina. Dane Brugler and I certainly think the fit in Carolina would be a good one. Each of us currently project the Panthers to select Brockers with their first round pick.   

Starting all 13 games in 2011, Brockers registered 54 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. Though he only posted two sacks in 2011, some scouts believe LSU's speedy edge rushers simply got to the quarterback before Brockers could and that he'll ultimately prove an effective interior pass rusher in the NFL. Brockers also registered three passes broken up, an interception, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal attempt by Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Brockers only emerged as a full-time starter for the Tigers this past season but teams are enamored with his upside. He shows surprising flexibility for a man of his size, proving able to push interior linemen back with good power and pad level. Brockers, who signed with LSU as a very highly regarded defensive prospect, is a good athlete capable of chasing down ball-carriers. He is also blessed with long arms which help him break free from blocks quickly and present obstacles that quarterbacks and kickers have to avoid with the football. Scouts believe Brockers is just scratching the surface of his potential as he became increasingly effective as the season went on and was arguably the best player on the field in the national championship game.

Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:12 pm
 

WR Shepard runs a reverse; returning to LSU

In the same way that LSU's Russell Shepard insinuated that he was leaving for the NFL or transferring to another program, the junior wide receiver reversed himself and announced that he will be returning to the Tigers for his senior season.

"I would like to tell everyone that I had a great talk with my family and Coach Miles and I will be attending LSU for my senior season..."

This stands in direct contrast to the tweet Shepard sent out following Monday night's loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship.

It read: "Thanks for your support Tiger Nation...but I have to do what's best for my family and myself...Geaux Tigers."

From the beginning Shepard's comments appeared to have more to do with his frustration for seeing just three snaps in the LSU's loss rather than having had gained positive feedback from NFL scouts. 

Shephard, a highly recruited quarterback and wide receiver prospect out of high school, flashed some big play ability throughout his career with the Tigers but had been passed up on the depth chart. His junior season was marred by an early suspension and he caught just 14 passes in 2011 for 190 yards and four touchdowns. 

With fellow junior receiver Rueben Randle off to the NFL, Shepard's chances at having a much stronger role in 2012 is good. Randle led the team in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns and that production will have to go somewhere. At this point Shepard is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 ranked receiver in the class of 2013.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:44 pm
 

Claiborne, Shepard leave for NFL. More to come?

With the two most talented teams in the country not playing their final game until Monday night, scouts expected to see a late flurry of underclassmen from Alabama and LSU announce their NFL decisions this week. The deadline for early entry into the 2012 draft, after all, is Sunday.

Sources close to LSU junior cornerback Morris Claiborne confirmed to NFLDraftScout.com this morning that the 2011 Thorpe Award winner has played his final season for the Tigers and will be heading to the NFL.

The news comes on the heels of a significantly more surprising defection from another LSU underclassman. Junior wide receiver Russell Shepard took to Twitter to announce that he's submitting his name into the NFL lottery, as well.

Claiborne's early entry was anticipated. NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated cornerback since October, Claiborne is silky smooth in coverage and possesses rare ball skills for the position. Claiborne started opposite eventual No. 5 overall pick Patrick Peterson in 2010 and led the Tigers with five interceptions. Opponents challenged him early in 2011 with Peterson now a member of the Arizona Cardinals and Claiborne was even better as a junior, again leading the team in pass thefts (six) and also serving as a big play specialist as the team's kickoff returner.

The decision by Shephard, on the other hand, was a stunner and may have more to do with Shephard's frustration with LSU than his standing with NFL scouts.

Shephard, a highly recruited quarterback and wide receiver prospect out of high school, flashed some big play ability throughout his career with the Tigers but had been passed up on the depth chart and only saw three snaps in the BCS title game. Shephard caught just 14 passes in 2011 for 190 yards and four touchdowns.

He was NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 ranked receiver in the class of 2013 but will fall significantly lower than that in our 2012 rankings due to a strong senior class of receivers and the number of talented underclassmen at the position who had already announced their intentions to enter this April's draft.

"Thanks for your support Tiger Nation...but I have to do what's best for my family and myself...Geaux Tigers," served as Shephard's Twitter announcement that he's heading off to the NFL.

As surprising as Shephard's decision is, it may not be the last for the Tigers. Several other talented LSU underclassmen are thought to be considering making the jump to the NFL, including another receiver Rueben Randle and two supremely talented defensive linemen -- defensive tackle Michael Brockers and Sam Montgomery, each of whom are redshirt sophomores.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Two mistakes may have cost Mathieu the Heisman

Two years ago I campaigned hard for Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to join former Michigan great Charles Woodson as the only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in the modern era.

Considering the fact that LSU sophomore cornerback and punt returner Tyronn Mathieu made plays every bit as dramatic and consistently as Woodson did for the 1997 Wolverines, he too should get strong consideration for the award. Whether it be with his interceptions, fumble recoveries or returns, Mathieu unquestionably had more "Heisman-esque" moments this season than Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Montee Ball. Mathieu's chances at the trophy would seem even better with none of the other four finalists having an obvious edge over the others. Like Baylor's Griffin (affectionally called RG3), Mathieu even had the benefit of a spectacular nickname (Honey Badger) to aid in the hype-building that has unfortunately become so important in building a Heisman campaign.

Two critical mistakes, however, will keep Mathieu from winning the award -- an October 21 suspension for using synthetic marijuana and a controversial hit from behind against Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick that some labeled a cheap shot and felt deserved another suspension.

I do believe Mathieu deserves to have been among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy. His exploits on the field and in helping LSU finish the season undefeated and in position to win the BCS Championship in my opinion demanded that he be there.

However, the Heisman Trophy carries with it not only the expectation of athletic supremacy, but playing and carrying oneself with integrity, as well.

As such, for those interested, my Heisman "ballot" would read:

1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2. Andrew Luck, Stanford
3. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama
5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin


Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Prospects aplenty to watch in LSU vs. Arkansas

The battle between No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Arkansas hasn't received nearly the same hype as the clash LSU had with Alabama just a few weeks ago.

It certainly should, however. The game carries just as much BCS implications and features several high ranking pro prospects, as well.

Here are the top prospects for both sides. This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.

LSU Tigers:

CB Morris Claiborne, 6-0, 185, junior
Overshadowed last season by Patrick Peterson, Claiborne has emerged as the elite cover corner in the country in 2011 and a potential top five pick. He leads the team with four interceptions, including a pivotal one in LSU's win over Alabama.

WR Rueben Randle, 6-3, 208, junior
Despite his lanky frame, Randle has emerged as the Tigers' best big play threat, averaging 19 yards a catch. He leads the team in catches (39), receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (eight), though he has become less of a factor in recent weeks with Jordan Jefferson and his running skills from the quarterback position taking a larger role in LSU's offense.

OT Alex Hurst, 6-6, 340, junior
A mountain of a man who has contributed significantly to LSU's power running game, Hurst entered the season having already been recognized by SEC coaches and media as a likely all-conference pick.

OLB Ryan Baker, 6-0, 236, senior
An undersized weakside linebacker, Baker devoted himself to the weight room in the offseason with Kelvin Sheppard leaving for the Buffalo Bills (via the third round) and gained 12 pounds of muscle.

TE DeAngelo Peterson, 6-3, 236, senior
With only 15 receptions for 163 yards and a single touchdown this season it might be hard to imagine Peterson as an draft-worthy prospect, but scouts are intrigued by the former wide receiver's combination of size and speed.

SS Brandon Taylor, 5-11, 195, senior
The younger brother of former LSU standout safety (and San Francisco 49ers' 2009 draft pick) Curtis Taylor, Brandon has emerged as one of the Tigers' most dependable defenders, leading the team with 61 tackles and earning the right to wear jersey No. 18 -- an honor bestowed upon the player teammates and coaches feel best exemplifies what a Tiger is supposed to be on and off the field.

RB Spencer Ware is a bulldozing back who I anticipate playing a critical role in this game for the Tigers against a vulnerable Arkansas run defense. He, like star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, is a true sophomore however, and therefore ineligible for early admission into the NFL draft. The NFL only allows players at least three years removed from their high school graduation eligibility.

Arkansas Razorbacks:

WR Joe Adams, 5-11, 190, senior
A speedster who is equally dangerous as a punt returner and out of the slot, Adams is flying up draft boards. He leads the country with three punt returns scored on touchdowns, including this dazzling one against Tennessee a few weeks ago.

DE Jake Bequette, 6-5, 271, senior
Having secured eight of Arkansas' 20 sacks this season, Bequette has essentially been a one-man wrecking crew for the Razorbacks. Blessed with good size and athleticism he was developed into one of the better middle round defensive end prospects in the draft. A strong showing on this national stage could help him secure a spot on one of the top all-star game rosters.

WR Greg Childs, 6-3, 217, senior
Childs entered the year among the most highly touted senior receivers in the country, but he's been slow to recover from the damaged patella tendon that ended last season prematurely. Childs has excellent size, body control and hands, but is running out of time to prove his speed has returned and that he's healthy.

ILB Jerry Franklin, 6-1, 245, senior
A Second Team All-SEC pick last year, Franklin is once again pacing the Razorbacks in tackles this season with 87 stops, including 10 tackles for loss. The Tigers' downhill power running and the lateral agility of LSU's option runners is going to put a lot of pressure on Franklin and Arkansas front seven defenders in this contest. I expect a strong game with a gaudy stat line.

TE Chris Gragg, 6-3, 235, junior
A former wide receiver, Gragg still lacks the bulk most teams are looking for at tight end, but he's flashed this year as a mismatch threat down the seam, actually entering this game as the reigning Mackey Award Tight End of the Week based off his eight catch, 119 yard (and a score) performance last week against Mississippi State.

WR Cobi Hamilton, 6-3, 209, junior
Hamilton gets lost a bit in the shuffle of Arkansas' great receivers, but as the only underclassman of the group he's best in position to become a favorite of Tyler Wilson, who also has a year of eligibility remaining. Hamilton currently ranks fourth on the team with 29 catches, but his 15.2 yard per catch average is impressive considering his size.

FS Tramain Thomas, 6-0, 204, senior
Instinctive, athletic and possessing good ball skills, Thomas is one of the better options in a relatively weak senior crop of safeties. He leads the team with four interceptions this season, as he did last year in earning Second Team All-SEC honors. Thomas isn't likely to get tested often in this game considering how little LSU typically throws the ball, but he'll certainly have to be steady in run support.

QB Tyler Wilson, 6-3, 220, redshirt junior
Wilson stepped in for Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks have suffered virtually no drop-off this season. Some of the credit must go to Bobby Petrino's scheme, which has proven to be effective at moving the ball at every level he's coached. A good deal of credit should go to Wilson, as well, however, as he has legitimate arm talent and is a much more mobile passer than Mallett, so the Razorbacks don't have a statue in the pocket to protect. This will be Wilson's stiffest test this year as the LSU secondary is the best in the country. Considering the other juniors likely to leave school early this season, scouts don't anticipate Wilson heading to the NFL early. Should he return, he'll certainly be among the more closely scrutinized passers for the 2013 draft. 

WR Jarius Wright, 5-10, 180, senior
Joe Adams has been getting a great deal of attention over the past few weeks due to his dazzling production, but make no mistake Wright is the go-to receiver in this offense. He leads the team with 61 receptions, has almost double the receiving yards (1,002) as Adams, Arkansas' second leading receiver (595) and has over three times as many touchdown receptions (10) as any other Razorback (Adams and Hamilton are tied with three each). Though he boasts very good speed and is a more reliable route-runner and hands-catcher than some of his teammates, Wright will have to prove to scouts that he can play special teams if he is to improve upon the 5th round grade NFLDraftScout.com has currently assigned to him. 

This game begins today at 2:30 pm Eastern Time on CBS.

Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:14 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Report: LSU suspends star CB, RB for drugs

The Associated Press broke news out of Baton Rouge earlier today that LSU would be suspending two of its biggest stars in cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and running back Spencer Ware. In addition, nickelback Tharold Simon is also being suspended.

According to The Daily Reveille, a student newspaper for LSU, the suspensions are being levied by head coach Les Miles because the three players each failed random drug tests.

Each player is expected to be suspended for Saturday's tilt against defending BCS champs, Auburn. It isn't yet known if Saturday's game will be the extent of the suspension. LSU, ranked No. 1, is scheduled to play at Alabama, currently the No. 2 team in the country, a week later in Tuscaloosa.

Mathieu has been arguably the nation's elite defensive player thus far this season. In just seven games this season, Mathieu has forced six turnovers, turning two of his four forced fumbles into touchdowns as well as intercepting two passes.

Ware is the team's leading rusher with 512 yards and six scores.

Simon, though not a starter, is also a key contributor. He has recorded 29 tackles and an interception of his own thus far this season.

LSU has not yet made a public comment other than have a spokesman, Michael Bonnette announce that the team was investigating the matter and that Miles "will handle [it] accordingly."

Needless to say, NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on the developments in this case. Mathieu and Ware, in particular, had already established themselves as potential high round prospects despite the fact that each is just a true sophomore.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 8:07 pm
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