This is a reoccurring theme for Les Miles and LSU.
The Tigers had 11 underclassmen – counting Tyrann Mathieu – declare early for last year’s NFL Draft, and the effects of losing seven defensive players were obvious in 2013. It was clear John Chavis’ unit took a big step back from their usual play because inexperience replaced veterans.
But much like last year, although not the sheer number of underclassmen, the NFL Draft is set to wipe out LSU again, this time on offense, with five underclassmen leaving early. DTs Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson have also declared for the NFL Draft as defenders.
QB Zach Mettenberger is a graduating senior, but along with losing Mett, RBs Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue, WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham and OG Trai Turner have all declared early for the draft.
Hill, Beckham and Ferguson are largely projected to be late first to high second-round picks, and that means big money. Landry, Johnson, Turner and Blue aren’t projected that high, but Landry could make his way up draft boards at the NFL Combine.
For the first time in LSU history, the Tigers’ offense had a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. And they’re all gone. Specifically from the 2013 team, only 33 percent of the touchdowns and 19 percent of total yardage return on offense.
So, could we see the 2014 offense take a step back like the 2013 defense? It’s very likely.
The good news is that RBs Terrance Magee and Kenny Hilliard are both returning and youngsters like WR Travin Dural are prime for big seasons, but replacing that much offensive production will prove tougher than what LSU experienced replacing so many defenders this season.
LSU isn’t going anywhere, but 2014 is setting up to be an offensive rebuilding year.
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