The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books, and while we certainly have more than a few questions about what the NFL is thinking as a whole, they can at least see what we've known for the last few years. The SEC is loaded with the best talent in college football and LSU has more than its share.
63 total players drafted, nine from LSU and eight of those all on defense. Those numbers are a record for: a single conference in the modern common draft (and its damn sure worth noting that the previous record of 55 came when the draft was longer than seven rounds); LSU as a football program; and a single team on one side of the ball.
So how'd it shake out for the now departed Tigers?
IwillnotmakeOhiojokes IwillnotmakeOhiojokes IwillnotmakeOhiojokes...
Our Steampunk Emperor winds up stepping into a town pretty desperate for some defensive playmakers, but I would encourage Browns fans to be a bit patient. Mingo will need some seasoning, but he's a hard-working and intelligent player, and I definitely trust that he'll put in the work to hone his skills. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton will be able to work Mingo opposite new free agent addition Paul Kruger, which should take some pressure off. And hey, maybe those cold Ohio winters will help him add some bulk.
Additionally, now that he's an AFC North full-timer, that means two matchups a year between Mingo and fellow LSU and West Monroe High School alum Andrew Whitworth, the left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals.
I'll admit to being surprised that the Niners traded up to get Reid (I'm a staunch believer in safeties rarely being a first-round value), but it's a fantastic fit. Reid's a physical guy, and that's a mentality the 49ers pride themselves on, especially in the defensive backfield. He's an athletic upgrade over the departed Dashon Goldson, and he'll get to play behind one of the NFL's best front-sevens. He'll also get to learn from a fellow former Tiger All-American in Niner DB coach Greg Jackson.
This is kind of an odd fit, because I'm not really sure whether the Cardinals are still a 3-4 front or moving to a 4-3. Minter's much more of a fit in the 4-3 as a middle ‘backer where he can thump in the A and B gaps and pursue. Patrick Peterson is the name, but the Cards have a couple of other studs on that side of the ball such as linebacker Daryl Washington and defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. He certainly won't be alone out there in the desert...
I'll leave the commentary on this one to our resident Eagles fan, but I know this much -- Bennie should be very popular with Philly fans for his effort level and intensity.
Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals
I'm not sure this could've worked out any better for Mathieu. He lands, not only with his "big brother" Peterson, but with an organization he's spent a lot of time around in recent months due to his relationship with the budding Cardinals superstar. On the field, Mathieu gives the team another special teams dynamo, which can help maximize Peterson's load in that area and allow him to focus more on defense. And as I mentioned in the Minter tidbit, the Cardinals are not a defense without talent for Mathieu to fit in with.
This is a bit of an unexpected fit. Montgomery's not really the type of end that you would stand up as an outside linebacker in a 3-4, and he's not the type of big, bulky type that usually plays end in that scheme either. The thing to remember is that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has a track record of using the d-line in his style of 3-4 more in a one-gap style. Players like J.J. Watt, Rod Coleman (in Atlanta) and Jay Ratliff (in Dallas) are asked to rush up the field as often as they are to keep linemen busy and free up the linebackers. We all saw that in play last year as Watt grew into one of the league's top pass-rush threats.
Not a bad system for Sam to step in and learn.
The Seahawks have the league's tallest corner duo in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, so it makes perfect sense to add the taller Simon to back those two up. Pete Carroll likes to matchup his corners in press coverage at the line, so Simon should fit in very well.
Good opportunity for Edwards to work his way in on a line that's not exactly loaded with star talents. Starting ends Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan are ex-first rounders, but they're hardly tearing it up. Once upon a time, the Titans were known as a franchise that developed linemen. Guys like Kyle Vanden Bosch, Jason Babin and even Kevin Carter all had nice career rebirths in the Titans' system, once upon a time.
Spencer Ware, Seattle Seahawks
If there's a team that's going to LOVE their sixth-round pick, it's the Seahawks and Ware. His soul-eating running style will fit in really well with Pete Carroll's whole "compete every day" mindset, and Ware's skills as a blocker and receiver in the passing game should fit this offense incredibly well, especially if he's moving to fullback as has been reported. Sure, the Seahawks have Michael Robinson there, but you know NFL teams and running backs. Always looking for somebody younger and cheaper.
Undrafted Free Agents
Chancey Aghayere, Seattle Seahawks
Chase Clement, New York Giants
Michael Ford, Chicago Bears
P.J. Lonergan, Chicago Bears
Russell Shepard, Philadelphia Eagles
Brad Wing, Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Faulk, Cleveland Browns
Most of these guys will be facing some long odds. Hell, Brad Wing will have to beat out fellow ex-Tiger Donnie Jones if he wants to make the Eagles' squad. Michael Ford may have an outside shot with the Bears, as his speed is a nice counterpunch to their big back combo of Matt Forte and Michael Bush. What's abundantly clear is that somebody gave Chris Faulk some epically bad advice. This was a kid that appeared to be on track to play his way into the top two rounds pre-injury. My best guess is that some other medical red flags popped up in his evaluation, because Lord knows teams aren't afraid of drafting a "redshirt" type of player that may not be ready as a rookie after round four (the 49ers' drafting of Marcus Lattimore may go down as this draft's steal). What it shows is that your draft stock is never quite as high as you think until you actually declare. Faulk joins the list of guys like Matt Barkley, Brian Brohm, Dwayne Jarrett, Alshon Jeffery, Darron Thomas and Vontaze Burfict, all of whom appeared to have tremendous draft potential until the microscope really got on them following their final college seasons. You hate to see it, but you can't make the decisions for these kids. Now, it's all on them to make the best of their chances.