2014 NFL Draft: Anthony Johnson Leads LSU Prospects

NFL Draft

Crystal Logiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Powerhouse schools in powerhouse conferences recruit very well. That’s obvious. An unfortunate aspect of recruiting such talent is that many times they won’t stick around for the full 4-to-5 years, and that problem is compounded when you add in the graduating seniors departing. Such is the life at a school like LSU, who had a record nine players get selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Thats a huge blow, and would be to any school, even one that recruits as well as LSU. This year’s Tigers team is still one of the best in the country, but they won’t come close to topping nine in the 2014 NFL Draft. Needless to say, it’s LSU, and they do have some outstanding prospects.

It’s not a shock to find out that the top pro prospect for LSU this fall is a defensive lineman, and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson is the guy. Aptly nicknamed “The Freak,” Johnson will compete with Florida State‘s Timmy Jernigan for top three-tech honors next May. His burst off the ball, for a man that’s 6-foot-3, 305 pounds is remarkable.

Strong, durable and still very raw, Johnson was arguably the most talented player on LSU’s 2012 defensive line, one that featured first- and third-round draft picks (Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery). Now that they’re departed, all the focus will be on Johnson, who is shockingly going into his first full season starting, despite being a junior. There’s little doubt Johnson is a first rounder, and the 2013 season will prove that.

Strong safety Craig Loston is the second-best pro prospect for the Tigers. Loston was very close to joining fellow safety Eric Reid in declaring early, and likely would’ve been a late-first, early-second rounder. However, Loston wanted to come back for his senior season and improve upon his 55 tackles and three interceptions.

Loston will the hardest hitting safety in the 2014 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Loston is a downhill player who fearlessly launches himself into the ball carrier or receiver. Sometimes Loston can play a little too carelessly, and too often goes for the highlight hit instead of safely wrapping up, but he fits the growing trend in the modern NFL to have at least one safety who’s somewhat of an enforcer.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham is the guy I think will see his draft stock rise the most in 2013. Beckham has been a standout his first two seasons in Baton Rouge, totaling 84 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards, and that’s been with inconsistent quarterback play. With new coordinator Cam Cameron instilling an explosive aerial attack, I expect Beckham to have a breakout junior season. He’s not the biggest prospect (5-foot-11, 187), but has great speed and acceleration. As a bonus, he can also help in the return game.

Fellow junior receiver Jarvis Landry also could see his stock sharply rise this fall.

Look, this is LSU, which means everyone is a pro prospect. You don’t play for this team unless you’re a legitimate NFL talent, which was practically proven with last year’s draft. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, middle linebacker Lamin Barrow, running back Alfred Blue, outside linebacker Tahj Jones, cornerback Jalen Collins, defensive end Jermauria Rasco, and etc., will all be looking to hear their names next May.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on google.

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