BATON ROUGE, La. — Safety Jamal Adams dropped the most jaws at LSU’s pro day 2 weeks ago. But in the eyes of NFL draft guru Mike Detillier, no Tigers player did a better job of helping his own stock than offensive lineman Josh Boutte.
“To me pro days are about getting to know someone. If you haven’t figured out if that guy can play by now, you’re in the wrong profession,” said Detillier, a New Orleans radio host who has published a draft guide since 1985. “It’s the guys that aren’t the front-liners that get the longest look.”
Boutte has the size that NFL teams crave — and then some — at 6-foot-4 and 351 pounds. But he was not invited to the NFL combine, putting pressure on him to show something at pro day. And according to Detillier, he did.
“Boutte helped himself out,” Detillier said. “He’s a guy a lot of NFL teams have taken a long look at.”
Among his more impressive feats was 28 reps on the bench press, which would rank tied for fifth among offensive linemen who tested at the combine.
Pro Football Focus grades Boutte as the 12th-best guard and 218th player overall in this year’s draft class, which equates to a seventh-round selection. Still, it may seem surprising that someone with Boutte’s mass is seen as that much of a fringe player given the success of LSU’s interior line play this season. PFF rated LSU as having the top interior line in the nation last year.
Detillier said the concern is that Boutte did not produce until he was a senior.
“[Junior] year Les [Miles] raved about his spring, he started 1-2 games, and that was it,” Detillier said. “Why did it take him until he was a senior to be a starter at LSU? Certainly he’s built for the part — a big man, and a doggone athlete. He’s not gotten a lot [more hype] because ‘Why he didn’t play more as an underclassman on a team that wasn’t all set along the offensive line?’ That’s a big part of it.”
Detillier said that whichever team picks Boutte will be getting a guy who can produce right away as a run blocker but is more of a project in pass protection because of the nature of LSU’s offense under Miles.
“He’s still a work in progress as a pass blocker, a bit of a developmental player,” Detillier said. “But he made as big a jump from 1 year to the next as anyone at LSU.”
As Detillier noted, perhaps no one had a better pro day than track star Cyril Grayson, who was able to bypass the draft process and sign with the Seattle Seahawks.
But of the players waiting to have their names called in less than 2 weeks, Boutte may have given himself the biggest lift both in a figurative and literal sense.