Three Tigers were picked in the final round of the draft today as safety Curtis Taylor was picked by San Francisco, in what I would say was a bit of a surprise, especially considering Darry Beckwith, Demetrius Byrd, Marlon Favorite, Kirston Pittman, Brett Helms, and Ricky Jean-Francois had all not yet been picked. Favorite, Beckwith, Helms, and Pittman would not hear their names called at all. I find that to be a mild surprise in all cases, but especially with Beckwith who some thought would go as high as the second round.
Ricky Jean-Francois was the last Tiger selected, and he will join Curtis Taylor in San Francisco. Jean-Francois was an enigma at LSU, spending more time away from the field than on it for one reason or another, and not having the big season that was expected of him in 2008. He's exactly the kind of player who sometimes makes a better pro than amateur however, as he sometimes shows outstanding athleticism.
Between Taylor and Jean-Francois, San Diego picked wide receiver Demetrius Byrd, who probably would have gone a little earlier had he not gotten into a somewhat serious car accident earlier this week. Byrd will join former Tiger Craig Davis, but Byrd never played with Davis as Byrd was a JUCO transfer who came in after Davis left.
It is a big disappointment that Beckwith was not drafted. He came back for his senior season, but then lost time due to injuries and was not as productive as a senior as he had been as a junior. From his freshman season, he appeared destined to be a solid draft pick and I imagine he must be devastated at being overlooked.
In all, six Tigers were drafted, and that's a pretty nice number, but half of them were drafted in the closing round, and only one was drafted before the 5th round. With Favorite and Pittman not being drafted, it ends a long streak in which every regular starting defensive lineman at LSU was drafted into the NFL. I do not have the numbers, but the streak goes back a number of years, into the Lavalais, Spears, Hill era and perhaps beyond.
One is forced to conclude that the 2008 version of the LSU Tigers just were not all that talented, at least among the seniors. Between players being drafted lower than expected and players not being drafted at all, this was a rather disappointing draft for LSU, despite Tyson Jackson's surprise top 3 pick. The deficit spans the transition time between the Saban and Miles eras, as H. Johnson, Favorite and Pittman were Saban signees and Beckwith and Francois were Miles signees.
Clearly something was off this year, as I firmly believe that Beckwith, Favorite, and PIttman all would have been drafted had they declared in 2007.