If you're a football fan in Louisiana, you've probably either read or heard Mike Detillier at some point. He's a mainstay on local radio and will even pop up on a lot of the national outlets from time to time. He's been scouting football in this part of the country for decades, and with contacts throughout the coaching ranks and various NFL front offices, he does a fantastic job of breaking down the NFL draft through his annual draft report, which is
available here nevermind, sold out.
I was able to get in touch with Mike this week to talk about a number of subjects. And talk, and talk -- he's a man after my own heart, he can talk football all the livelong day. So much that I probably didn't catch everything, but there's lots here on LSU's prospects in the 2014 draft, where he thinks the Saints are looking and a little extra information for Tiger fans on the future.
Well, let's start with LSU's surest first round pick, Odell Beckham Jr. Where do you see him going?
I think he's a top-13 pick. That'll make him the highest LSU receiver ever drafted, even over Michael Clayton, who went 15th in 2014. Odell is a special threat, and he'll be a very similar NFL player to DeSean Jackson.
It's so important for NFL teams to have that nuclear, big-play type guy. You can't get him the ball on every play, but the defense has to know he's there. Odell can be that.
Do you see any other LSU players getting into the first round?
No, I think (Beckham) will be it, but you'll probably see a lot of LSU on day two. That's when Jarvis Landry, Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill and maybe even Ego Ferguson and Trai Turner could go. Day two, the second and third rounds, could be a huge day for LSU.
We've been of the opinion that Jeremy Hill could very well wind up being one of the best NFL players out of this LSU class. What do you think?
If everything was equal -- and it's not with Jeremy, that's just the reality of this situation -- he'd be the best back in this draft. He's going to have a fall similar to Tyrann Mathieu last year, but he's a quality back that can run between the tackles and still make some big plays.
I think the world of him as a player. He can catch the ball, he can block, but his past is a part of his resume and that's going to be a problem for some teams. But he's the most gifted runner I've seen at LSU since Cecil Collins.
Where do you see Zach Mettenberger going?
I think that four quarterbacks are going in the first round -- Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr -- look for the team with a need that passes on one of those to grab Zach in the second round, because I don't think he's making it to the third.
Minnesota, Houston, Arizona all have the need, and Cincinnati has an interesting situation too with Andy Dalton coming up on free agency. But Zach really needs to go to the right spot. The value with quarterbacks is with the right fit. You look at Drew Brees and Sean Payton, or Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy or Phillip Rivers and Mike McCoy; quarterbacks really have to go to the right place that will utilize their talents and skills the best.
Zach definitely has the talent to be a starting quarterback in this league. He's got a great arm and he really developed under Cam Cameron this season. He just needs to learn to find his second and third options a little better.
A big topic with LSU fans has been the trend of underclassmen leaving school early. What do you think of the trend, and do you think any of the Tigers that departed made a mistake?
You know, when Trai Turner declared that was a bit of a head-scratcher to me, but now it looks like he's a top-100 pick and he made a great move.
You know, I try not to criticize these kids, because I just don't know all the details of their situations. Sometimes it's a financial decision and these guys are supporting their families. And let's face it, if you have a chance to walk off campus and make six figures -- who'd turn that down?
So I'm never criticizing a young man's decision, so long as it's his own and nobody's talking them into it and selling them a bill of goods about where they're getting drafted.
This is just something that LSU fans are going to have to get used to. The most recent collective bargaining agreement changed everything for these kids.
And what of this recent report on Mettenberger and Anthony Johnson having their drug tests flagged at the NFL Combine? Will it affect their stock?
Possibly. But to me, the bigger deal is the way this has happened with the timing. The thing to remember is that revealing this information is a HIPPA violation. Somebody leaked this now to try and affect draft stocks, whether it's trying to help out their client or trying to help a player fall to their team.
But it's a minor issue. Zach will still go in the second round. With Anthony, I find that scouts either love him or hate him, and when the opinion is so split like that, the ones that like him won't care about something like this.
Of course we have a lot of Saints fan on the site (including me). What direction do you see them going at the 27th pick?
I have the Saints taking C.J. Mosley at that spot, that's if they stay at 27. I think that a good defensive player is going to fall with so many offensive players going high. I mean you have four quarterbacks, receivers, plus a tight end like Eric Ebron, so there are going to be some very good values on defense. This is kind of a situation similar to when the Saints wound up with Cameron Jordan a couple years ago. Another guy to watch is Ryan Shazier, or maybe a cornerback if Rob Ryan finds one he really likes -- and he likes taller cornerbacks.
But, I have heard from a couple of sources that they have looked into trading up to make sure they get a speed receiver like Marquis Lee or Brandon Cooks.
In closing, as a guy that has seen a ton of football players, and a lot of really good ones, can you give me your thoughts on Leonard Fournette?
You know Billy, it's funny. I've done a couple of radio shows across the country this week, and the last question every time was about Leonard Fournette.
I've been a private scout for a long time in this state. But there have been three guys that I've watched, that if you asked me, I'd bet the house on their success -- and those guys are Peyton Manning, Ed Reed...and Leonard Fournette.
He's Adrian Peterson. There's just nothing he can't do on the football field, and the thing is that he's a very focused young man. Baring an injury, he's going to be a fantastic college football player. He's just a cut above. I've never seen anything like him in this state.
And you know, there's another special young man in LSU's class in Malachi Dupre. He doesn't just have all the athletic tools, he's just as driven as well. And you know, he didn't play in the most sophisticated passing game at John Curtis, but he's already working. To see a young man go work with an NFL cornerback like Keenan Lewis, that tells me he's dedicated and he's thinking about this game from a lot of angles.