Defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are the two players expected to be drafted the highest and each could end up in the top 15 of the draft. They are expected to be joined in the draft by inside linebacker Kevin Minter, All-American safety Eric Reid and defensive tackle Bennie Logan.
Mingo is slightly undersized and will have to add 20-25 pounds to his 240 pound body, but has the frame at 6’5’’ to add the bulk without sacrificing the speed that makes him a terror off the edge. His long arms, fluid hips, and first step quickness make him one of the top pass rushing ends in this draft class. He only had 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks this season in a down year, but his skill-set will make NFL teams salivate when they watch him workout at his pro day and at the combine.
Montgomery weighs in at 245 pounds and is more of a complete defender against the run than versus the pass as opposed to his teammate. He finds and tracks the ball very well form the right end spot where he projects to play in the NFL unless he can improve his raw pass rushing skills. He does need to learn to use his hands better to shed offensive lineman to be a complete end. Montgomery has been an intense competitor and vocal leader for a productive college defense and that intangible will boost his draft stock.
Minter will be hurt because of his position as inside linebackers are not viewed as a premium position in the draft and thus have seen their draft position slide in recent years, but should be one of the first players taken in the second round based on his ability to make plays from sideline-to-sideline and lead a defense.
LSU turns out defensive backs year in and year out and Reid is one of the top three safeties in this class who has shown to be a terrific leader at Baton Rouge with incredible instincts and recognition skills–which make up for his less-than-elite speed. He is a very smooth athlete who looks like the game slows down for him. Has great height at 6-2 and has shown the propensity to make a big interception–as he did with an interception at the goal line vs. Alabama last season.
Logan is often overshadowed by his teammates, but in many ways is the key cog on LSU’s line. Makes plays in the backfield stuffing opposing teams in the run game. He will improve as a pass rushing tackle in the NFL as he incorporates an arsenal of moves to become a menace along the interior of the line. His best trait is his first step quickness that allows him to beat guards and centers to the point of attack.
Don’t worry about the LSU defense taking a step back in 2013 though as the Tigers have played a number of freshmen on defense this season and will once again have a top 10 recruiting class this winter. Having John Chavis, one of college football’s best coordinators will ease the development of the next wave of Tiger defenders that will have another handful declaring for the draft this time next year.
That’s just how they do it at LSU.
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