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T-Bob Hebert

Talk sports and more with T-Bob and Kristian Garic on "Double Coverage!"  

Weeknights 8pm-Midnight

Twitter: @tbob53
Email: tbob@3wl1350.com

 


T-Bob: Who are LSU's most irreplaceable players?

The question of who LSU's most irreplaceable player is seems to be obvious. As with almost any question about this LSU team, the answer is Leonard Fournette. However, if you take Fournette out the picture, than the conversation becomes much more interesting. It also highlights how tenuous the depth on this LSU team is at a couple of positions.

Irreplaceable can mean a few different things. In some cases a player might be irreplaceable because there is a steeper talent drop off behind him as compared to the other positions. In others, a player might be so talented that though he has acceptable backups, his ceiling is so high as to make him irreplaceable (think Fournette). The players on my list fall into one or both of these categories. Here are my top 3 most irreplaceable players on LSU's team:

Ethan Pocic
I know I might be biased due to my love of the O-line and the center position in particular, but I think there is ample evidence to back this up. Ethan Pocic is an All-SEC, 3 year letterman, 2 year starter who is on this year's Remington watch list (award for best center in college football). Pock has started 25 games and has an incredible 216 knockdowns including 132.5 last season as a junior. Pocic's backup Andy Dodd, on the other hand, played just 17 snaps all of last season. I don't say this to disparage Dodd (there's nothing wrong with being buried on the depth chart behind a player of Pocic's caliber), rather I point this out to show that there is a large experience drop off once you get past Pocic. When you combine this with the fact that LSU's offensive line is the group with the most question marks going into this season it becomes obvious that not only is Pocic's playing ability invaluable but his leadership as well.

Kendell Beckwith
Beckwith could have left for the NFL last season, but like others on this list he decided to come back for his senior year and attempt to fulfill his dream of winning a championship. Beckwith is a 3 year letterman who was a semifinalist for both the Badnarik and Butkus awards last season. At 6'3 247 he is a physical specimen, however he has the leadership and intelligence to complete the package. Beckwith has the same issue as Pocic in that there is a steep experience drop-off behind him on the depth chart, still, I believe that his biggest impact comes in the leadership department. When Jalen Mills left this team there was a vacancy in leadership on the defense. It is Kendall Beckwith's job to fill this hole. Also, new Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda's scheme is reliant on a middle linebacker that fully understands the concepts they want to run and can make sure that everyone is in the correct spot and understands what their job is. We all know how critically important the quarterback position is and Kendell Beckwith truly is the quarterback of this defense. Having to place a backup in this role is potentially devastating.

Tre White
White's case is unique amongst my list because I believe that LSU has very strong depth at the corner position. Where Tre White separates himself is just pure talent and skill. White most likely would have been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft had he decided to leave this spring. In today's college football, to get a player to return to school and push back the NFL is increasingly rare. This will be White's 4th year starting for the Tigers and his leadership and talent have been recognized, as LSU has chosen White to wear the hallowed number 18. Not only is White a true lockdown corner, but he has also served as an excellent punt returner for the Tigers averaging 11.2 yards per return with a couple of scores along the way. Still, what makes White most invaluable to this team is the role he will play in Dave Aranda's defense. In the base, White will be on the edge guarding WRs like any other lockdown corner, however when LSU moves to their Nickel Formation (bring on an extra DB), White will slide inside to the slot and be asked to be a play maker. An easy comparison is the role that Tyrann Mathieu played during his time at LSU. Aranda has placed White in this position due to his ability to make plays. Whether blitzing or dropping into coverage Tre White's role is generally to wreak havoc. If he were to go down, LSU would not only lose a true leader of this team but also their best defensive playmaker.
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T-Bob: All aboard the LSU Express - Title Town or bust!

The start of Fall Camp for the Tigers has finally arrived, and with it comes a season that has been years in the making.

Normally when you see that a team has 18 of 22 starters returning it is a bad sign of where the program stands as a whole. Normally you only see these kind of big returning numbers if a new coach comes in and puts in his own players in place of the old or something else out of the ordinary (Tennessee this year is the perfect example). It is rare to see a team which has the year in and year out NFL talent of LSU to have this many returning starters.

Obviously, this is reason for excitement. Ever since Leonard Fournette signed with LSU three summers ago, this is the season that everyone already had circled on their calendars. Fournette and the rest of the 2014 signing class were heralded as the most talented class to ever come out of Louisiana. This was the group that was going to bring LSU back to the mountaintop. Back to Atlanta. Into the Playoffs. And into the Championship. This was the group that was going to beat Alabama and stop the skid. Well, it is finally time.

Anything that has been said up to this point, anything that has been done up to this point, none of it matters. All that matters is the road ahead. It doesn't matter if you are the most talented team in the country if you don't go out there and win the game within the 60 minutes alotted to you. You could have worked harder than you every have previously and it won't matter if you lose. You could have invested more time into studying film than you ever have previously and it won't matter if you lose. You might have committed more to this season than you ever thought you could BUT it won't matter if you lose.

The groundwork has been laid. This is where the track begins to be laid down and in a few weeks the train will start chugging along up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Once that train starts there is no stopping it. The ride rolls on whether you are sick, hurt, or tired; so no matter what you MUST find a way to win.

Many times as a younger player it can feel as if the train is moving too fast. Hurtling down the tracks at top speed with every game a hairpin turn that threatens to derail everything you have worked for. You do your best to hold on and keep the train on the tracks and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Eventually the ride comes to an end and preparations for next year's trip begin. As you age, the train seems to slow. You know where to expect the bumps in the road, you know how to deal with repairs on the fly, you know because you have experienced the ride first hand.

So, what happens when you have a train full of operators that know exactly what to expect? Well, I imagine you can expect one of the smoothest rides possible. Instead of worrying about the ride itself and being intimidated about the ride itself, you are suddenly more focused on the destination. Where is this train going to end up? Does it end in Baton Rouge? Does it end in Atlanta? Is it possible to ride this train all the way to Tampa for the CFB National Championship? That is what we are about to find out as this camp is where the preparations begin and LSU has the most experienced crew it has potentially ever had coming back to work the controls.

That isn't to say that there won't be adversity or unexpected obstacles along they way, because those are unavoidable. The advantage of having a crew this experienced, however, means that you can overcome those problems without derailing the train... hopefully. At the end of the day it is one thing to say you know what you have to do and another thing to go out and do it. LSU has the ability, they have the correct attitude, now they just have to go out and execute. One task at a time, one day at a time, with one single goal in mind, to win a championship. So sit back and enjoy the ride, LSU Tiger faithful, because it may be many years yet before a crew this experienced comes along again.
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T-Bob: Saints DT Sheldon Rankins talks mind games in the trenches

Sheldon Rankins spoke to the media today and once again, I was struck by the maturity that Rankins projects, despite only being a rookie.  When asked about the key difference between college and the NFL in his experience thus far Rankins cited the fact that the same old tricks don’t work twice against these NFL veterans.  You may get them with a move one time, but if you use that same move again you will get shut down.  

He would go on to reference the chess match involved in playing in the trenches, which I found interesting, because it is an under-discussed topic.  So often when we speak of the trenches we think of it as a purely physical battle, however nearly all of Rankins answers had to do with the mental side of that fight.  

Rankins was also questioned about the philosophy of new Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and echoed what seems to be a common theme, that Allen is installing a simple scheme in which knowing your responsibility and attacking are the keys to making the defense successful.  Seems to be a marked difference from the more complex nature of Rob Ryan defenses.  

Personally, I am excited to see how Rankins performs when the pads come on tomorrow.  The difference between pads and no pads is most felt in the trenches and I’m intrigued to see if Rankins can have pash rushing success fully suited up.  If the Saints pass rush is going to drastically improve this season, then Rankins and Fairley providing that push up the middle could be the single most important ingredient.  
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T-Bob: Pelicans break the silence

Rejoice Pelicans fans!  The silence has been broken! The New Orleans Pelicans held an official press conference today in which general manager Dell Demps directly addressed the media!  

For weeks now I have bemoaned the Pelicans' lack of interaction with their fanbase.  After all, this is the franchise that Forbes.com deems the least valuable in the entire NBA.  This is a team that saw the largest viewership drop off in the league between 14-15, and 15-16.  Basically, this is a team located in a city which has little to no interest in it.  In my opinion, fan apathy is one of the biggest issues facing the Pelicans franchise.  In fact, when it comes to the roster itself, this team is in much better shape than most people might realize… or care to realize. 

I have been critical of the Pelicans’ handling of this general disinterest because I believe their exteneded silence has only exacerbated the issue.  The Pelicans need to be actively seeking the public eye and reminding people all the positives that this team has going for it.  I have been calling for what I would call an “investor’s confidence meeting”.  Just get up there, take your licks, answer some questions with some well-prepared bland statments, send a positive message and let the fanbase (the season ticket holders in particular) know that you’re still here. 

Today, months after the season ended, that “investor’s confidence meeting” finally took place.  As it is the week of the draft, the timing is logical considering the fact that the Pelicans have 3 picks in the top 40 and that in and of itself is a positive message that you can sell to the public.  So, now that the silence has been broken, what did we learn?!

Well, not much.  I believe that by reading in between the lines we can infer as to what the Pelicans offseason plans are BUT we can’t know for sure.  I don’t think Ryan Anderson will be back due to the market BUT (as we expected) almost no absolute statements were given.  Dell Demps got on the podium and gave very generic, well thought out responses as he deftly deflected loaded question after loaded question.

Still, just because many of the answers were exceedingly boring is not to say that there isn’t truth to them.  Many of the questions regarding last year’s struggles were answered with statements about the vast amount of injuries this team suffered.  And there, my friends, is the unfortunate truth of the 2015-16 season.  You may not want to hear it, you may say it is no excuse, you may be done with this team already, BUT 2015-16 was a year wasted almost solely because of the record breaking number of injuries the Pelicans suffered.    

Ironically, it is in the Pelicans extraordinarily bad injury luck where we glean a bit of optimism from this entire situation.  If this was a playoff team when “healthy” two years ago, shouldn’t they be a playoff caliber team once again if they can remain on the court?  Only this year, you would be adding a much improved and much healthier Jrue Holiday to the mix.  The roster of the Pelicans remains relevant because of the potential of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday working together.  In my opinion they are much closer to making the playoffs again than are the New Orleans Saints. 

So as I said at the beginning of this piece, Rejoice Pelicans fans!  The long dark is nearly at an end.  This Thursday’s draft marks the beginning of a new year, bursting at the seams with potential.  If you remain unconvinced, I leave you with this quote from the venerable Sam Gamgee…

Sam: “Its like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered.  Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy?  How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?  But in the end, it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass.  A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer.  Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even in you were too small to understand why.  But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.  They kept going because they were holding on to something…”

Frodo: “What’re we holding onto Sam?”

Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” 
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T-Bob: LSU baseball a question of expectations

As the LSU baseball team prepares for the postseason I would like to talk about expectations.  In my three years of doing this job one of the most fascinating truths I have come to realize is that when judging a fan base’s attitude toward a team’s season it isn’t the literal number of wins and losses that determine whether or not people are happy.  Rather, it is where these wins and losses fall in relation to the fanbase’s expectation level.  

I think the 2015 LSU football team is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  Before the season started, many of us were predicting that they were likely a three loss team.  We said that if this team goes 10-3, given their youth, it would be a successful season.  However, once the season got underway and all of a sudden LSU was 7-0 (despite not having beaten anyone particularly impressive) expectations skyrocketed.  All of a sudden this was a national championship caliber team with a Heisman trophy winner leading the way.  So when the November collapse came and went, instead of recognizing that these losses were right in line with our original expectations, the fanbase became incredibly upset.  

This brings me to this year’s LSU baseball team - this is arguably the best job Paul Mainieri has done since taking over the program nearly 10 years ago.  Despite replacing 8 of 9 starters this Tiger team greatly exceeded our original expectations by capturing a national seed for a 5th straight year.  I think it is worth asking then, at the onset of the post season, what are you expectations for the tournament?  Are you expecting regional, super regional, or even College World Series?  

In my opinion everything in this NCAA tournament is lagniappe.  This is a team that was 11-10 in conference before going on that magical May run.  For the majority of the year we said that regardless of what happens this season this is a team that is set up to be great in the future because they are so young.  Well, this team blew my mind when they said 'screw the future we are ready to win NOW!'  Yet, despite their success I can’t help but wonder if the other shoe is waiting to drop.  Will they get brought back to reality and resemble the the 1st half of the season or will they continue to push and continue to succeed expectations?

Either way, I am content.  I am so damn impressed with this year’s baseball team that from here on out I am just enjoying the ride because if nothing else this is a team that is incredibly fun to watch.  

Today LSU battles the Utah Valley Wolverines in game one of the NCAA Baseball Regional.  The scheduled time (weather permitting) - pre-game 1:30/ 1st pitch 2 o'clock.
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5 LSU Tigers join the ranks of the NFL

This weekend’s NFL Draft saw five more Tigers join the ranks of the NFL.  Just like we previewed, Deion Jones was the first former Tiger selected in the 2nd round by the Atlanta Falcons.  So not only did Tiger fans not get to see Debo in the Black and Gold, but they saw the worst case scenario realized as now he will be playing for the Black and Red.  If Jones ends up being successful in the NFL, this creates a maddening situation for Saints fans in which twice a season you have to play two former LSU linebackers that you passed up on.  Kwon Alexander of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was NFC Defensive Player of Week 8 last season, along with ending up on the all-rookie team.

Next off the board was a bit of a surprise. I fully expected Vadal Alexander to be the first LSU offensive lineman selected but that was not the case as Jerald Hawkins was the next Tiger off the board in the fourth round when the Pittsburgh Steelers snagged him with the 123rd overall pick.  The Steelers love Hawkins' size and although he isn’t the best pass blocker yet; he shows the athleticism required to become one of the best.  Hawkins looks to shore up a tackle position that struggled for Pittsburgh in 2015.

After the Hawkins selection, the wait was on for both Jalen Mills and Vadal Alexander with many being surprised that the two had lasted this long.  The wait was just beginning, as both Mills and Alexander did not come off the board until the 7th round.  Mills was selected with the 233rd pick by the Philadelphia Eagles with Alexander hot off his heels going 234th to the Oakland Raiders.  Although I’m sure both players are disappointed, they have no reason to be.  Getting drafted is an honor, and now is when the real work starts anyway.  These two need to play with a chip on their shoulder and make teams regret passing on them. 

Imagine my surprise when I saw the San Francisco 49ers select CB Rashard Robinson in the 4th round with the 133rd pick (just ten spots behind Hawkins).  Robinson may have only started 8 games in his LSU career but he was a helluva lotta fun to watch.  Selfishly, I wish he could have remained on the LSU team (he was suspended indefinitely in November and eventually released), but I cannot wait to see this man play football again.  I think the 49ers got some great value here and if anyone can teach him how to handle his life both on and off the field its former Tiger and current 49er safety Eric Reid.  
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T-Bob: Saints take big risk for bigger talent with Onyemata

The Saints surprised many by trading away their 5th round pick from this year and 5th round pick from next year in order to move back into the 4th round and take DT David Onyemata, a young man originally from Nigeria who played his college football in Canada for the Manitoba Bisons.  This pick was met with negative reactions online as many people found themselves asking “who? From where? We traded up?!” And while these are valid initial reactions, it is my opinion that people are travelling too far into negative territory. 

Is David Onyemata a finished product? Absolutely not, but is he good enough to play on this level? Absolutely.  At the tender age of 18 Onyemata left sun scorched Nigeria for the frozen north of Canada in order to pursue his education.  Up to that point in his life, he had never watched American football, and he had certainly never played the game - yet once he arrived at college David said that he felt he had some extra time on his hands and so why not try out this football game everyone is talking about?  After all, at 6’4 300 pounds Onyemata certainly had the frame to play the game so what could it hurt?  Lets take a minute and think about this.  When you realize just four years later he has been drafted into the NFL not only is this a truly fascinating story but what does it tell us about the football potential of Onyemata?  

READ MORE: Saints move up to round 4 to add DT Onyemata

Imagine the culture shock that Onyemata must have experienced at the age of 18.  The young man enters a distant, frigid country that must’ve felt purely alien when compared to his Sahara Desert influenced home of Nigeria.  Think about the growing pains you experienced moving out of your childhood home and then multiply it a thousand fold.  Onyemata is in a new landscape halfway across the world, going to school, learning new customs, and on a whim decides to try out this “football” game he keeps hearing about. 

Although we don’t always notice (because most of us grew up watching the game) football is an incredibly un-intuitive sport.  What I mean by that is you can’t just sit down, watch a game, and understand what is going on.  Sports like soccer or basketball are much easier to grasp while football is overflowing with nuance.  Only 7 men allowed on the line of scrimmage, only the end man on the line is eligible, a touchdown is six points with the chance for an extra point yet a field goal is just three (but if you score another touchdown from the two yard line after scoring a touchdown you can get TWO points).  You will stop and start four times before giving the ball back to the opposing team unless you manage to travel ten yards then you get more chances.  The list goes on and on.  That’s not even including the technical challenges of trying to learn how to physcially play a position on the field.  

Now lets stop and think about the mental and physical capabilities of a person who in just a few short years can progress from being wholly ignorant of a sport to the point where he had never even held a football to being drafted into the highest professional league in the WORLD of said sport. With that in mind I think it becomes immediately apparent as to the amount of raw intelligence and physical talent that Onyemata possesses. 

FULL AUDIO: Hear David Onyemata's first interview on WWL

Is David a risk? Yes.  But as is the case with all the decisions during the draft we have to weigh this choice on a risk vs reward scale and with the raw skills that Onyemata possesses its easy to start salivating when thinking about his potential ceiling.  In just four years David went from having never held a football to being the best football player in Canada.  That is a HELLUVA trajectory and one that I am sure the Saints hope continues.

As a final note I will leave you with this.   If you found yourself filled with anger or upset with the pick when it came across your television set earlier remember this basic truth of the NFL Draft.  At this point literally NO ONE knows who is going to be good or and who is going to be bad.  We see players go Bust and Boom in the most unexpected manner each and every year.  With that much uncertainty you must realize that you can CHOOSE whether or not to be optimistic at this point.  As for me personally, not only am I enthralled by the story of David Onyemata but I think I’m even more excited about the football potential of David Onyemata. 

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T-Bob: Saints get big risk but bigger talent with Onyemata pick

The Saints surprised many by trading away their 5th round pick from this year and next year in order to move back into the 4th round and take DT David Onyemata, a young man who originally from Nigeria who played his college football in Canada for the Manitoba Bisons.  This pick was met with negative reactions online, as many people found themselves asking “who? From where? We traded up?!” And while these are valid initial reactions, it is my opinion that people are traveling too far into negative territory. 

FULL AUDIO: Hear Onyemata's first interview as a Saint on WWL

Is David Onyemata a finished product? Absolutely not, but is he good enough to play on this level? Absolutely.  At the tender age of 18, Onyemata left sun-scorched Nigeria for the frozen north of Canada in order to pursue his education.  Up to that point in his life he had never watched American football and he had certainly never played the game - yet once he arrived at college, David said that he felt he had some extra time on his hands and so why not try out this football game everyone is talking about?  After all, at 6’4, 300 pounds, Onyemata certainly had the frame to play the game so what could it hurt?  Lets take a minute and think about this.  When you realize just four years later he has been drafted into the NFL, not only is this a truly fascinating story - but what does it tell us about the football potential of Onyemata?  

Imagine the culture shock that Onyemata must have experienced at the age of 18.  The young man enters a distant, frigid country that must’ve felt purely alien when compared to his Sahara Desert home in Nigeria.  Think about the growing pains you experienced moving out of your childhood home and then multiply it a thousand fold.  Onyemata is in a new landscape halfway across the world, going to school, learning new customs, and on a whim decides to try out this “football” game he keeps hearing about. 

Although we don’t always notice (because most of us grew up watching the game) football is an incredibly un-intuitive sport.  What I mean by that is you can’t just sit down, watch a game, and understand what is going on.  Sports like soccer or basketball are much easier to grasp - football is overflowing with nuance.  Only 7 men allowed on the line of scrimmage, only the end man on the line is eligible, a touchdown is six points with the chance for an extra point, yet a field goal is just three (but if you score another touchdown from the two yard line after scoring a touchdown you can get TWO points).  You will stop and start four times before giving the ball back to the opposing team unless you manage to travel ten yards, then you get more chances... the list goes on and on.  

That’s not even including the technical challenges of trying to learn how to physcially play a position on the field.  Now lets stop and think about the mental and physical capabilities of a person who in just a few short years can progress from being wholly ignorant of a sport to the point where he had never even held a football to being drafted into the highest professional league in the WORLD of said sport.  With that in mind I think it becomes immediately apparent as to the amount of raw intelligence and physical talent that Onyemata possesses. 

READ MORE: Saints move up to round 4 to add DT Onyemata

Is David a risk? Yes.  But as is the case with all the decisions during the draft we have to weigh this choice on a risk vs reward scale and with the raw skills that Onyemata possesses its easy to start salivating when thinking about his potential ceiling.  In just four years David went from having never held a football to being the best football player in Canada.  That is a HELLUVA trajectory and one that I am sure the Saints hope continues.

As a final note I will leave you with this.   If you found yourself filled with anger or upset with the pick when it came across your television set earlier remember this basic truth of the NFL Draft.  At this point literally NO ONE knows who is going to be good or and who is going to be bad.  We see players go Bust and Boom in the most unexpected manner each and every year.  With that in mind, you can CHOOSE whether or not to be optimistic at this point.  As for me personally, not only am I enthralled by the story of David Onyemata but I think I’m even more excited about the football potential of David Onyemata. 

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T-Bob: Four LSU players hoping to get the call tonight

For what seems like the first time in years LSU, did not have a player get drafted in the first round yesterday.  However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t some very talented Tigers in this draft.  Throughout the 2nd and 3rd rounds tonight there are four players imparticular who will hope to hear their names called.  

Deion Jones, Vadal Alexander, Jalen Mills, and Gerald Hawkins will all be on the edge of their seats as they wait to see what their future holds.

The first Tiger to come off the board today will most likely be LB Deion Jones aka "Debo."  There’s a wonderful anecdote about the Debo nickname being a combination of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson and although those are some mighty big shoes to fill, Jones’ unique mixture of speed, coverage, and tackling ability shows you why the nickname stuck.  Jones is an interesting case because when compared to his fellow potential LSU draftees he wasn’t always a starter in college.  

In fact, Jones had one start in his first three years at LSU, but that isn’t to say that he wasn’t productive.  During his 1st three years at LSU, Jones was a special teams monster and in a league like the NFL where the more versatile you are the more attractive you become, Jones’ special teams skill set is invaluable.  When Jones finally did get the chance to start, he dominated, leading the Tigers in tackles last year with 100 tackles and 13.5 TFLs.  Combined with his five sacks, two ints, and three pass breakups scouts have noticed that Jones is a player particularly well suited to the modern day linebacking position.  Which is maybe the most interesting thing about Jones is that if he had entered the league in any other era he would have been considered a tweener or too small.  However, in the modern day NFL where speedy LBs that have the ability to cover are all the rage, Jones represents a perfect fit.  I would be surprised to see Jones make it out of round two and I definitely don’t see him on the board come tomorrow.  

The next highest rated Tiger is former guard and tackle Vadal Alexander.  Alexander is the opposite of Deion Jones, as he literally played from day one at LSU.  Alexander was a four year starter for the Tigers and was a freshman all american, 2nd and 1st team all SEC through his career.  Although he played tackle at the end of his college career he projects to be a guard on the next level.  At 6’5 326 with big hands and long arms NFL scouts LOVE his size however some would also say that his size works against him a bit.  

While being that big has led to Alexander being a dominant run blocker and a stone wall against any kind of bull rush, it has also caused him to struggle a bit when it comes to dealing with speedy, quick defenders.  Its for this reason that he will almost assuredly end up on the interior of an offensive line.  Through this offseason some (myself included) questioned Alexander’s testing numbers, but after talking to scouts the game tape is Alexander’s best friend.  After all, who cares if you can run a 4.9 40 and bench 36 reps if you can’t actually play the game.  I expect Vadal to be taken off of the board sometime in the third to fourth rounds.  Which means he might be getting that call today or he may have to wait till tomorrow. 

Sticking with the offensive line, the next prospect that will be looking to hear his name called will be tackle Gerald Hawkins.  Hawk was the lone junior to forgo his SR year at LSU (a welcome change of pace for Tiger fans) in order to test his might in the NFL.  Have you ever heard of the eyeball test?  Its where you judge a guy based solely on how he looks and nothing else.  Well, Gerald Hawkins passes the eyeball test in record fashion.  At 6’6 305 pounds and 34 inch arms Hawkins is a lean, mean offensive lineman machine.  

Lean might seem like an odd word to use but when you see Hawkins up close you notice he isn’t fat.  Like, not at all.  The dude is a brick house of muscle.  That said, he is far from a finished product.  Hawkins flashes excellent footwork and athleticism at times, yet at others he gets inexplicably beat by players that you know he is better than.  The most succinct way of summing up Hawkins’ biggest issue is that he is inconsistent.  That said, I think the raw talent and athleticism of Hawk are going to be too much for too many more teams to pass up on.  If a coach can get him to perform consistently in the vein of a player like former Tiger Joe Barksdale, then Hawkins will play in this league for a long time.  Look for Hawkins to come off of the board in the fourth or fifth round.  

The last player I want to talk about today may be my favorite and that is defensive back Jalen Mills.  Mills was a stalwart at LSU playing from the first day he stepped on campus.  If Mills hadn’t been injured in camp this season he would have potentially set the NCAA record for most starts in a career.  Mills was versatile as well playing both cornerback and safety during his 4 years with the Tigers.  Athletically Jalen Mills is a monster.  He ran a 4.56 forty and was near the top of the combine leaderboard with a 37 inch vertical.  Ironically, however, his size and athleticism combine to make him a bit of a tweener.  

Not a true corner, nor a true safety Mills looks to be the perfect fit for a slot/nickel corner role.  It should be noted that it doesn’t hurt that in case of emergency Mills is a player that can basically play anywhere in the secondary.  As much as I like Mills’ on field talent, however, the aspect of his game that I find most intriguing are the intangibles.  If you ever sit down and talk to Jalen you are immediately struck by his serious nature and no nonsense approach.  The dude exudes leadership and if you watch this LSU football team as much as I do you could see the results on the field.  When Mills was injured last year the secondary was plagued by mental mistakes and missed assignments.  When Mills returned, these problems were all but erased.  I have seen grades on Mills all the way from the second round to the seventh.  I am not exactly sure where he will go BUT if it is anywhere past 3rd than some team is getting a helluva deal.  

Four young men anxiously away to see what their future holds.  What city will they be living in?  Who will their teammates be? Who will Coach them?  What will it be like to have that much money?  These are all questions to which the answers lie right around the corner.  That may be the greatest part of the draft.  The life changing moment represented by receiving that phone call from a team that wants you to play for them in the NFL.  I enjoyed watching these four in college and I will enjoy watching them on Sundays…. Now the only question is…. where will they be?
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T-Bob: Don't read into LSU Spring Game too much, good or bad

I am going to make my stance on the Spring Game clear.  I think that due to the small amount of information the media and public are given throughout spring football, we will over analyze, over think, and over critique today’s game.  We’ll explore every nook and cranny.  We’ll attempt to use this game to decide who will be the starters at the beginning of the season.  

We do this despite the fact that the spring game is an intentionally boring game-ified practice.  The coaches don’t want to give anything away and they run simple base plays, against simple base defenses.  

Now, my intent is not to fully devalue the Spring Game.  You can watch some 1 on 1 matchups, observe how the players respond to a crowd, and simulate some of the mechanics of an actual game.  My greater point is, just don’t read too much into what you saw on the field today, good or bad.  

Also, recognize that today’s scrimmage becomes even harder to judge when you look at the number of starters that didn’t participate.  Three starting O-linemen and a couple starter corners, amongst others, all watched from the sideline.  With that said... What did I think?

I like the attitude of this team.  They seem to have an excellent core of mature, seasoned leaders.  They are a team that knows how this process works and are no longer daunted by the mental and physical grind required to be successful.  Obviously, this makes sense considering the amount of Juniors and Seniors they have.  

I love the fact that this team starts the season in Lambeau against Wisconsin.  Its a challenge to be sure, but it is also a big stage and this is a team that believes they belong on big stages.  When the Juniors had their press conference announcing they were staying, the message was made clear that this team has championship aspirations and expectations.  I think they will relish the chance to make a statement when the lights are brightest. 

A few obvious things to point out.  Leonard Fournette ran the ball and looked good doing it.  Derrius Guice continues to make fans salivate.  The defensive line continues to flourish under Coach Orgeron’s guidance.  Beyond that, I didn’t get to see much of Aranda’s scheme (intentionally boring, remember?) BUT the communication from the defense seemed tight and efficient.  Duke Riley made some plays stepping into the weak side LB role.  BUT WHAT ABOUT THE QUARTERBACKS, RIGHT?!

Both QBs played alright.  I won’t give numbers because I don’t think they have any value in this game, but both had their positive and negative moments.  The only thing that I am fully convinced of now is that this is indeed a true quarterback competition.  I believe Harris remains on the inside track, BUT this race isn’t a formality.  Its a contest to decide who will be the one to attempt to guide this team to their goals.  Regardless of who wins the competition, its good for the team as a whole.  These two will push one another to reach their full potential and any thoughts of complacency or contentedness will be hastily driven away.  

Today was a boring Spring Game but I don’t believe this to be a boring team.  This is a team that should compete in one of the New Year’s Six bowls.  The only thing I am upset by is the fact that we have to wait 4 more months to see them in action.  
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