Chances are, if you watched all three days of the NFL Draft late last week, you probably heard more than a few names of players called hailing from Louisiana State University.
The LSU Tigers had a total of eight players drafted by NFL teams. It took only four picks for the first former Tiger, running back Leonard Fournette to be drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and two picks later, the New York Jets selected safety Jamal Adams.
Another defensive back, Tre’Davious White was selected by the Buffalo Bills at number 27, ending the first day and first round of the draft with three Tigers trading their purple and gold for their new NFL team colors.
Here’s a rundown of who got drafted where and how they’ll play into the future plans of their new NFL teams.
Leonard Fournette – Round 1, Pick Four – Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville wasn’t exactly hurting for depth at running back with T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory, but the addition of Fournette certainly solidifies the backfield and adds a difference-maker the Jags did not have. The Jaguars talked about wanting to make improvements at running back, and they seem to be going all in with Fournette, and are expected to make him the starter and build the run game around him.
While Fournette’s fit with the Jaguars was questioned on the SEC: Smothered and Covered podcast, especially considering he doesn’t seem to be a match in the scheme quarterback Blake Bortles runs, Jacksonville traded to take offensive lineman Cam Robinson in a steal of a second round selection that could further prove the Jaguars are unafraid to build around their new power back.
Fournette’s talent is undeniable, and his rare combination of speed, size and power could make him a fixture in Jacksonville’s offense.
Jets GM and Staff Make the LSU S a Jet
Jamal Adams – Round 1, Pick 6 – New York Jets
LSU is called DBU for a reason, and Jamal Adams has lived up to that billing for the past three years. Many think the Jets could have made the steal of the first round by selecting the versatile Adams when he fell into their laps at number six. The Jets targeted Adams early on, and no one was surprised as much as they were when he was still around ripe for the picking.
If you watched Adams’ interview with Deion Sanders after he was drafted, you have to love his confidence. While he may not be getting the Jets back to the Super Bowl as soon as he expects, Adams is a natural-born leader and he will make an immediate impact in the Jets’ secondary. Having Adams start opposite Marcus Gilchrist, if he’s not moved, could provide the Jets with a nice defensive back tandem.
Take a listen as the Bills make the call to first round pick CB Tre’Davious White.
Tre’Davious White – Round 1, Pick 27 – Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills made the solid move of turning their earlier first round pick into three picks in a trade with Kansas City, and some would argue the Bills ended up with the better pick in the end. There was no doubting they needed help badly in the secondary, especially at cornerback after losing Stephon Gilmore, and they addressed that immediately by drafting White at number 27.
White is expected to enter training camp competing for a starting cornerback position and could start across from Ronald Darby. While he may not replace Gilmore per se right away, he’s a mature cornerback with good reflexes that could play into the Bills’ defensive plans well into the future.
Bills coach Sean McDermott seemed pleased to be able to add a player of White’s caliber as well as adding a third rounder and 2018 first rounder.
“We really felt the value we were looking at, very rarely can you do that when you can cash that in with a 2018 first-round pick and get a third-rounder on top of that, it was a very unique situation for us. We felt good about that, and we felt good about the pick with Tre’Davious White. Solid person, solid football player, we felt like if we could get him it would be a good pick for us and there he was at 27.”
Ethan Pocic – Round 2, Pick 26 -Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks needed to address their offensive line, and they did so here with Pocic, who will bring a versatile and athletic presence to the Seattle line. He has also played at every position on the line and seems to be open to moving around, which is a perfect fit for Seattle, who has been known to shift players around quite a bit.
The 6-6 Pocic should be able to transition to the NFL rather smoothly. He will need to work on strength against NFL centers, but he will probably be a more natural fit at one of the tackle spots, where his height will be more of an advantage.
Duke Riley – Round 3, Pick 11 – Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta has had some luck going to their LSU pipeline to find linebackers, and they decided to do so again to nab an athletic linebacker in Riley. Riley showed a lot of progression in his senior season. He didn’t get a chance to get on the field much his three prior seasons aside from special teams, but he went from what most scouts would likely consider an undrafted talent to a player worthy of being drafted in the third or fourth round.
Riley may be undersized, but towering linebackers don’t seem to be a priority for Atlanta’s defense, and his speed, which was the second highest 40 time among linebackers at the combine, more than makes up for it. Atlanta, who drafted a very similar player in Deion Jones last year, will be hoping they strike gold again.
Dan Quinn seems to have a knack for grabbing players that may not hold the highest draft value, and finding gems. Riley has the upside to be the latest, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him starting next to his former teammate Jones next season.
Kendell Beckwith – Round 3, Pick 43 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When the Bucs traded up into the third round, many expected they would draft a running back, but they instead looked to the need for a strong side linebacker in Beckwith. While Beckwith played inside linebacker at LSU, in Atlanta’s 4-3 defense, he’ll likely be a two-down starter with former teammate Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David.
Beckwith will likely lose some time at the start of his rookie season due to his ACL injury, but once healthy, he’ll provide Tampa Bay with a big, physical linebacker that should excel in run defense and as an edge rusher.
Davon Godchaux – Round 5, Pick 35 – Miami Dolphins
One year could’ve made all the difference for Godchaux, as he could’ve been a first or second round pick had he stayed for his senior season in Baton Rouge, but Godchaux knows there are no guarantees, and Adam Gase may have picked up a late draft steal in the 6-3 defensive tackle and former three-year starter.
Miami needed depth at defensive tackle behind Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips, and they were able to fill that hole in the fifth round with a player in Godchaux that had 6.5 sacks last season. While he didn’t test extremely well at the combine, Godchaux is a player whose best football could still be ahead of him.
Malachi Dupre – Round 7, Pick 29 – Green Bay Packers
Dupre is another player who probably could’ve used another year at LSU, but the Packers likely took a flier on the 6-2 receiver based on his upside. Dupre was probably not helped by inconsistent passing at LSU, but that will be the least of his worries with Aaron Rodgers tossing him passes.
As a late seventh round pick, Dupre wasn’t much of a risk and he could end up rewarding the Packers for taking that chance. His size is intriguing, but the speed from college to the pros could be his biggest hurdle, and considering he will have to shine on special teams to earn a spot, his future with the Packers is definitely unknown.