5 players who gained the most from LSU’s pro day
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, in Briefing, we recap LSU pro day on Wednesday, catch up on a little recruiting, bring back caption contests and much more. Enjoy!
LSU football pro day power rankings
The LSU football team held its annual pro day on Wednesday, with 18 alums working out in front of more than 100 NFL personnel for one final audition before the NFL draft on April 27. And, as LSU coach Ed Orgeron put it, it’s likely that anywhere from 10 to 12 of those guys will be on NFL rosters come next fall.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at which guys gained the most from those proceedings. Here are my picks for the five players who had the most impressive performances at pro day:
No. 5: OL Josh Boutte
Boutte looked middle of the pack in his speed and agility drills, but he turned in a strong performance on the field and repped 28 times on the bench press, a mark that would’ve tied for fifth best among all NFL combine offensive linemen. The guard might’ve played his way into a late-round draft pick with the outing.
No. 4: RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette didn’t have much to prove, but he did it anyway. He came out 12 pounds lighter than he was at the combine and lit up the field drills. I still don’t think Fournette is a top-5 pick, but he’s certainly got a case for it.
No. 3: DE Lewis Neal
Neal ran a 4.72-second 40-yard dash, faster than linebacker Tashawn Bower and both of LSU’s tight ends. He also jumped through the roof with a 36-inch vertical, which would’ve been the fourth-best defensive lineman mark at the combine. And he proved his versatility in field drills, working as a linebacker, as well as a defensive lineman.
No. 2: TE Colin Jeter
Of all the fringe players trying to become drafted, Jeter impressed me the most. His 3-cone and 20-yard-shuttle times both would’ve ranked in the top 10 among combine tight ends. But more impressively, his 3-cone time was better than defensive back Dwayne Thomas and his shuttle time was equal to the one first-round prospect Tre’Davious White ran at the combine.
Jeter isn’t guaranteed to get drafted. His low production in college will hurt him. But he sure was impressive Wednesday. And if that counts for anything, it’ll count for a lot.
No. 1: S Jamal Adams
Adams’ stock couldn’t have improved that much Wednesday. Before pro day, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both projected him to go No. 3 overall to the Chicago Bears. But the dude balled out at pro day, improving his 40-yard dash time from 4.56 to 4.33 and dominating the field drills conducted by the New Orleans Saints defensive coaching staff.
He’s going to be a top-5 pick. Adams solidified it Wednesday. Really, the only question left is how soon can he join Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu among the ranks of the best LSU defensive backs in the NFL.
Wide receiver Wednesday … on a Thursday
Two men who I didn’t mention in the power rankings were wideouts Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural. That’s because still, after all this time in the pre-draft process, I don’t know what to make of either of them.
To be fair, Dupre looked about as good as he should’ve Wednesday. He improved his 40-yard dash time to 4.46 seconds and caught all the passes he was supposed to. And Dural performed just about the same as he did at the NFL combine. But both of them are still enigmatic when it comes to projecting long term.
Dupre is going to get drafted. That’s a forgone conclusion. He’ll go anywhere from the second round to the fourth round, possibly later if teams are being stingy selecting receivers. But his college production doesn’t matter that much, as he mirrors more cautionary tales than he does success stories.
Dural is even more complicated. By pure ability, he could justifiably be picked just as early as Dupre. But he doesn’t show it on the field, or in workouts. His 4.57-second 40-yard dash is kind of meh and his route running isn’t particularly crisp. It’s as if Dural is the perfect mold of what a receiver should be, but he’s just not the sum of his parts.
I think someone will take a chance on Dural late in the draft. But I wouldn’t be shocked if he goes undrafted. After all, receivers who make 28 catches and average 10 yards per catch as senior starters don’t turn too many heads.
One more pro day note
For even more pro day analysis, watch our Facebook Live chat with Alex Hickey and me from after pro day concluded. In it we talk about all the guys I brought up here, plus guys such as White, Rickey Jefferson, Duke Riley and everyone else I didn’t get to mention.
Watch and enjoy. And be sure to stay hunkered down at our Facebook page for more live chats like that one, especially since spring practice is coming to a close.
A quick recruiting note
As I briefly mentioned in Briefing on Wednesday, LSU football hosted the No. 1 recruit in the country for the Class of 2019, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Tuesday afternoon.
Our recruiting guru, Sam Spiegelman, caught up with Thibodeaux after the visit and talked to him about how everything went down. You can read the full post on the matter here. But there’s one thing Sam hit on that I think needs to be brought up: crawfish.
I don’t know what percentage of the regular readers of the Briefing are Louisiana natives. I’d venture to say a lot, though. And as folks who were bred on the bayou, peeling crawfish is probably as natural to you as walking or breathing. But as a recent Louisiana immigrant myself, I can sympathize with Thibodeaux’s struggle and I understand why he had to ask Orgeron for help.
Furthermore: How often do you think coach O has to eat crawfish? Do they bring out the boil for every visitor or was this a special occasion? Because if coach O has to do a crawfish boil every time the Tigers welcome a recruit to Baton Rouge, the dude better work out harder than his players. That much Cajun cuisine can take a toll on anyone, even a man who is the patron saint of looking and sounding Cajun.
There’s no guaranteeing whether Thibodeaux will seriously consider LSU. It’s still too early in his process and I don’t like speculating about high school sophomores. But I will speculate this much: He probably won’t have a meal like that again unless he comes back to Baton Rouge for another visit.
Through the eyes of Battle
In “if you didn’t already know this” news, starting LSU safety John Battle moonlights as a photographer when he’s not on the football field. And his passion for shooting brought him to LSU pro day to photograph some of his former teammates.
Here are some of his shots:
— John Battle IV (@JBIV000) April 6, 2017
— John Battle IV (@JBIV000) April 6, 2017
— John Battle IV (@JBIV000) April 5, 2017
LSU football caption contest
It’s been long enough. It’s time to bring back the Bayou Bengal Briefing caption contest.
You know the rules. I post a photo. You caption the photo with your cleverest or most creative caption describing what you see. Today’s photo comes to us straight from Orgeron’s Twitter account, and it’s a doozy.
The Tigers would like to welcome Mike Tomlin and his staff from The Steelers to LSU pic.twitter.com/QI8zsMS8XX
— Coach Ed Orgeron (@Coach_EdOrgeron) April 5, 2017
There’s plenty going on in this photo. Orgeron is standing side by side with a Super Bowl-winning head coach, sure, but fullback J.D. Moore is also hanging on a weight rack behind them, staring off into the distance. What do you make of this photo?
Let us know in the comments section down below or on our LSU Insiders Facebook page. The best and funniest answers will be included in Bayou Bengal Briefing on Friday.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Thursday is “National Student-Athlete Day.” So, uh, let’s spend our days doing exactly what we always do: talking about student-athletes.
Usually, I struggle coming up with a backward and ridiculous way to relate made-up holidays to the LSU football team. But today, it’s too on the nose. I can’t make jokes. Today is a holiday celebrating the 1,300 words that came before this sentence.
So, I guess you can celebrate National Student-Athlete Day by rereading the Bayou Bengal Briefing. Or by telling your friends about it. Yeah. Do that. Make sure everyone you know reads the Bayou Bengal Briefing today. That’ll be a good use of your time.
And it’ll help me out. Here’s the capper link.
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