T-Bob: Nine Tigers drafted into the NFL, ties record
by T-Bob Hebert,posted May 10 2014 6:25PM
It took a bit longer than expected, but the LSU train got rolling again in the 5th round, when the AFC Champions Denver Broncos selected Lamin Barrow with the 156th pick of the draft.
Barrow is a player who waited his turn through 2009, 2010, and 2011 before having a breakout year in 2012 that saw him top the 100 tackle mark for the season including 7.5 tackles for a loss. Barrow followed up his stellar Jr campaign with a solid senior outing that saw him lead LSU in tackles with 91 including 5.5 tackles for loss. Barrow also stepped up and displayed previously unseen leadership skills anchoring one of the top 20 defenses in the nation. I love a guy like Barrow because he didn’t transfer when times were tough. He kept his head down, kept grinding, kept working, and was rewarded with two great starting seasons, and now the chance to play on Sundays.
The next Tiger off the board didn’t come until the second pick of round six, when the Tennessee Titans traded up to snag stellar LSU QB Zach Mettenberger. Zach had an excellent senior season under the tutelage of QB guru Cam Cameron and perhaps would have gone much higher in the draft, if not for a torn ACL suffered in the final game of LSU’s regular season vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Physically, Mett is the prototypical NFL pocket passer standing 6’5 inches tall and weighing in at a healthy 225. Although Mett and I never got to share significant field time together, I enjoyed getting to know him throughout the 2011 season. First, I love his attitude. He is extremely confident in himself and his ability to make plays and will remain composed if he makes a mistake. This self-belief is critical for a quarterback especially because if a QB gets rattled and starts to doubt himself, it will just lead to more mistakes.
Mett has also proven to be extremely tough and is willing to wait to the last second to deliver a strike knowing he is going to get lit up. As an O-lineman, you respect a QB that isn’t afraid to get dusted up. At the end of the day perhaps the sexiest part about Mett is that cannon he calls an arm. He is not unlike Kenny Powers in that he is 'the man' because he can throw the ball farther than… anyone else ;D.
Just three picks after Mettenberger, the next former Tiger was scooped up when Houston took running back Alfred Blue. Blue showed signs of greatness at times during his years at LSU; however, it would seem that bad luck kept him from reaching his full potential. After being a key contributor on the 2011 SEC championship team, Blue was all set to be the number one option coming out of the backfield in 2012. Unfortunately, an ACL tear in week three would force him to miss the rest of the year. In Blue’s absence, LSU fans witnessed the rise of Jeremy Hill, and I guess you could say the rest is history. Blue’s touches were limited in 2013 due to the success of Hill, however, that is not to say that Blue doesn’t have the ability to excel in the NFL. Alfred was a great teammate and is a very hard worker. In Blue the Texans have grabbed a hungry player who is extremely fast and is eager to prove that he can be a feature back in the League.
Last, but certainly not least, the Cincinnati Bengals, in what many would consider a surprise move, took WR James Wright in the 7th round. Wright doesn’t have an excellent stat line to show off, but I can say from experience that James has some of the best hands I have ever seen. I always wondered why Wright didn’t have more of an impact on Saturdays as he consistently made circus catches in practice that seemed almost impossible until you noticed he came up with the ball. Wright is supremely athletic, and I believe this to be the reason the Bengals decided to snatch him up before the free agent signings begin.
At the LSU Pro Day, Wright ran back-to-back 4.43 forties and displayed a vertical jump of 38.5 inches. He also banged out 16 reps of 225, which is extremely impressive considering Wright weighs just 201 pounds. Wright has all the physical tools to succeed and I am intrigued to watch and see if he can translate success on the practice field to Sundays. Wright marked the 9th LSU player taken in this year’s draft, which ties the record set just last season.