NFL Draft hammers LSU’s roster

Maybe the media should have reported the players who are actually staying at LSU for their senior season, because the Tigers just endured a mass exodus with 10 total players leaving school early for the NFL. LSU has never had more than three leave early, and 10 may be the highest total of underclassmen from one school in the history of the NFL Draft.

Injured offensive tackle Chris Faulk became the latest underclassman to leave LSU for the draft yesterday. Faulk injured his knee and missed all but the season opener, and it prompted him to leave early in fear of another injury happening. We’ll call it the ‘Lattimore Effect’.

LSU’s offensive line was average because several starters were banged up all year, and these issues will return in ’13, as they will not have a proven starter at tackle without Faulk and graduating senior Josh Dworaczyk.  Alex Hurst, another star tackle, left the team.

Running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are the only other two offensive players declaring. Ware nor Ford were even first or second on the depth chart because of Jeremy Hill’s emergence after starter Alfred Blue’s injury. Ware is projected as a third-round pick while Ford could go as late as the fifth round, experts say.

The real damage, however, will be experience on defense next season, because the Tigers will be forced to play inexperienced and unproven players.

Four defensive players will be likely first rounders in defensive linemen Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Bennie Logan and safety Eric Reid. Mingo and Montgomery are figured to be early first-round picks, while Logan and Reid could go late first round.

Linebacker Kevin Minter is projected second- to third-round pick, while corner Tharold Simon is expected to go around the third round.

The 10th player is punter Brad Wing, who was suspended for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and he’s projected as a fifth- to seventh-round pick.

“It’s an individual decision, and one that has to do with them and their family,” Miles said. “I met with each player and provided them with as much information as I have so that they can make a quality decision in regards to their future. We wish these guys great fortune as they pursue this next step.”

And we’re not even counting deflected corner Tyrann Mathieu, either, as he would have been the 11th underclassmen had he never been dismissed by Les Miles.

While teams expect attrition every year with three to four players leaving early or transferring, LSU losing 10 players in one draft is crazy. All 10 were part of the 2009 and 2010 highly ranked recruiting classes.

Here is the full list:

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports