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2018 NFL Draft Preview: LSU Tigers

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A look at the prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft from the LSU Tigers.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Louisiana State vs Louisville Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his 114-34 career record at LSU, the school waved goodbye to long-time head coach Les Miles last fall after a 2-2 start. Ed Orgeron took over down the stretch, and the team’s 6-2 record was enough to get the veteran position coach promoted to a full-time gig. The Tigers have two of the top prospects in all of college football, in running back Derrius Guice and pass rusher Arden Key, but they will need more consistency on offense if they are going to contend for an SEC title this season. Here’s a look at LSU’s top draft-eligible talent heading into the fall…

⭐️= potential elite prospect (size/athleticism/production)
↑= potential riser
↓= potential faller/overrated
$ = major positive
⚠️= caution
+ = injury risk
# = off-field
PB = SPARQ power ball toss score (high school)
VJ = Vertical Jump (high school)
40 = 40 (high school)
SS = short shuttle (high school)

D.J. Chark WR 6’4” 198 SR
DOB: 9/23/96

  • 3-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 35.0
  • VJ: 37.0”
  • 40: 4.46
  • SS: 4.10

Career: 22 games 26 REC 466 YDS 17.9 AVG 3 TD receiving, 201 YDS 15.5 AVG 3 TD rushing⚠️

2016: 26 REC 466 YDS 17.9 AVG 3 TD receiving, 122 YDS 10.2 AVG 2 TD rushing

Note: Chark finished second on the team in receiving yards last season - his only year of production to this point - but he has an enticing mix of height and speed, and flashed as a deep threat despite erratic quarterback play. He’s the Tigers leading, returning receiver.

Derrius Guice RB 5’11” 218 JR*
DOB: 6/21/97

  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • First Team All-SEC in 2016
  • Reportedly timed at 4.35 seconds in the 40 in May 2014
  • PB: 35.0
  • VJ: 30.4”
  • 40: 4.61
  • SS: 4.66⚠️

Career: 24 games 1823 YDS 7.8 AVG 18 TD rushing, 14 REC 126 YDS 9.0 AVG 1 TD receiving

2016: 1387 YDS 7.6 AVG 15 TD rushing, 9 REC 106 YDS 11.8 AVG 1 TD receiving $

Note: As a true sophomore, Guice easily led the team in rushing yards, touchdowns and yards per carry, despite sharing the spotlight with 2017 fourth overall draft pick Leonard Fournette for seven games. In fact, some analysts already believe that Guice is the better NFL prospect of the two. At this point, he and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley are considered the top backs in the 2018 class, and surefire first round draft picks.

Arden Key DE 6'6" 265 JR #+↑

  • DOB: 5/3/96
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • First Team All-SEC in 2016
  • Holds the LSU single-season record for sacks

Took a leave of absence this past winter and underwent offseason shoulder surgery⚠️

Career: 23 games 44 solo TKL 21 TFL 17 SCK 3 FF 4 PBU $

2016: 56 TKL (24 solo) 14.5 TFL 12 SCK 11 QBH 3 FF 3 PBU $

Note: Key is a dynamic pass rush prospect who set the school record for sacks last season despite weighing under 240 pounds. Now, 27 pounds heavier than his 2016 weight, Key looks like a prototypical NFL defensive end. He will have to answer questions about his brief leave of absence, and prove that his shoulder is healthy, but Key is an early favorite to be drafted in the top ten next spring.

Christian LaCouture DT 6'5" 292 rSR +
DOB: 9/4/94⚠️

  • Missed the 2016 season with a knee injury⚠️
  • Will wear the #18 jersey this season, an honor given by coaches each season as a symbol of leadership within the LSU program
  • VJ: 27.5"
  • 40: 5.04
  • SS: 4.44 $

Career: 37 games 17 solo TKL 8 TFL 4.5 SCK 1 FF 3 PBU

2016: NA

Ed Paris S 6’1” 210 SR ↑
DOB: 3/29/95

  • 4-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 41.5 $
  • VJ: 39.7” $
  • 40: 4.53
  • SS: 4.27

Career: 37 games 7 solo TKL 1 PBU⚠️

2016: 10 TKL (4 solo) 1 PBU⚠️

Note: Paris is expected to start at safety after three seasons as a backup cornerback and special teams player. His size and athletic profile suggest Paris will rise up draft boards if he can hold onto that starting gig.

Kevin Toliver II CB 6'2" 193 rJR +#↓
DOB: 11/24/95

  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • Underwent right rotator cuff surgery in January 2016, and missed four games last season after re-injuring the same shoulder⚠️
  • Missed one game last season with a hyperextended knee
  • Suspended for the first half against Southern Miss for missing team meetings⚠️
  • PB: 35.0
  • VJ: 31.0"
  • SS: 4.25

Career: 19 games 36 solo TKL 2 TFL 1 INT 6 PBU

2016: 21 TKL (12 solo) 1 PBU

Note: Toliver has the all-important size and length NFL teams desire in top cornerback prospects, but also the triple whammy of injury, off-field and production question marks. There is no question that Toliver is coming off of a down season, and needs to do some damage control.

Toby Weathersby OT 6'5" 302 JR +↓
DOB: 9/16/96

  • 4-star prospect in 2015
  • Missed four games last season with a high ankle sprain, and had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in January⚠️
  • PB: 42.0
  • VJ: 24.0"
  • 40: 5.44⚠️
  • SS: 4.97

Career: 4 starts at right tackle⚠️

Darrel Williams RB 6'1" 233 SR
DOB: 4/15/95

  • 4-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 32.5
  • VJ: 28.4"
  • SS: 4.18

Career: 35 games 831 YDS 4.7 AVG 10 TD rushing, 15 REC 131 YDS 8.7 AVG

2016: 233 YDS 4.5 AVG 3 TD rushing, 5 REC 37 YDS 7.4 AVG receiving