LSU had nine players drafted this weekend, leading the entire nation. LSU had so many players drafted that we had a wide receiver with zero catches last season taken in the seventh round. Going to LSU is like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
In the aftermath of the draft, everyone scrambles to predict how a player will help his new team, and we rate the draft from this prism. Is this what is best for the team? Since I'm not much of an NFL fan,* I would rather look at the draft from the opposite standpoint. TSK rightfully pointed out last week that the situation largely determines whether a player succeeds as a pro or not, so let's look at how good of a fit each of the new teams are for our beloved Tiger alums.
*Ask me about Jim Irsay!
Round 1 (12) Giants - Odell Beckham Jr., WR
The Giants already have a player that is pretty similar to Beckham in Cruz, and he's smack in the middle of his prime. I'm not a big fan of having two receivers who have pretty much the same game, but this is offset by the fact that the Giants are a good organization with a stable situation at quarterback.
It should be interesting to see the effect of Reuben Randle. On the one hand, it's nice to have a former teammate on the roster to show you the NFL ropes. On the other hand, Beckham is used to being Randle's understudy, and he's being paid to be ahead of Randle on the depth chart. That could be awkward. This isn't a bad spot for Beckham, but it's also not a perfect fit either.
Round 2 (51) Bears - Ego Ferguson, DT
The Bears are an interesting situation, as they ran a 4-3 defense this year and have been publicly flirting with changing their scheme to a 3-4. Ego may be asked to be a nose tackle and play the 1-technique. The Bears have a tackle who could likely make the transition in Stephen Paea, but Henry Melton appears to be the odd man out. Ego is coming into an unsettled situation to play a position he's never actually played before for a team that's never actually run it.
Oh, but they may go back to the 4-3. Just not all the time. Yeah, this is not the best situation to land in, as Ego will be asked to learn two defensive systems, play as both a 1 and 2 tech tackle, and hope everything will work out. It's not just that the Bears are changing systems, it's that they don't seem fully committed to the switch.
Round 2 (55) Bengals - Jeremy Hill, RB
It's hard to envision a better scenario for Jeremy Hill. Marvin Lewis has a track record of taking players with a checkered past and getting them on the straight and narrow. At the very least, we know he will be given a fresh start in Cincinnati.
Even more important, the Bengals running game was putrid last year. The team averaged 3.6 yards per carry. The Bengals use a committee of backs, like pretty much every other team in the NFL, but no incumbent can feel safe in his job. Hill comes in and is immediately the best running back on the team. He'll get the ball, but he'll also be in a system that keeps him fresh. There will be some early fan resentment the Bengals didn't take the local kid in Hyde, but that will evaporate when Hill starts breaking tackles. He will be given every opportunity to succeed.
Round 2 (63) Dolphins - Jarvis Landry, WR
Ryan Tannehill be his quarterback, which is kind of terrifying. Still, this is a deep, talented receiving corps that lacks a big time #1. Landry likely won't be that guy either, but he should fit in nicely in a group with Wallace and Hartline. He won't be asked to be The Man, just another reliable option to help a so-so quarterback. Again, not the dream scenario, but not a bad gig either.
Round 3 (92) Panthers - Trai Turner, OG
The Panthers offensive line is a bit of a mess, and they didn't work to address that need until the 3rd round. Even less encouraging, the biggest issue is the retirement of their left tackle, so they drafted Turner, a guard. This likely means that one of the guards on the team will move to left tackle and Turner will take their place on the interior. Offensive lineman rarely get judged on their own merits, they get rated as a group. Turner is going to a unit that needs to figure things out real quickly.
Round 5 (156) Broncos - Lamin Barrow, OLB
Once we get to this point, simply making the team is a success. Barrow is a near lock to make the team given the lack of depth at linebacker in Denver. Heck, he might even end up starting, as the team is desperate for a MLB and did not address the hole in free agency. Getting a shot in camp is the best Barrow could ask for, and he got it.
Round 6 (178) Titans - Zach Mettenberger, QB
The Mettenstache fell to the sixth round, which stinks, and then he landed in quite possibly the best situation he could have. The Titans QB depth chart looks ugly as hell, and that's after they cut ties with Ryan Fitzpatrick. No one in the front office thinks Jake Locker is the answer, and they have since brought in a new coach who has no attachment to any incumbent. Ken Wisenhunt also has a pretty good rep for developing quarterbacks.
Now, Zach has little chance of being opening day starter, but that's fine. He comes in, learns the system, and then just has to wait for the titans QB's to play to their ability level. By the end of the season, I think Mettenberger will be the starter in Tennessee. There's only about two or three places in the league you could say that about.
Round 6 (181) Texans - Alfred Blue, RB
He'll back up Arian Foster, who is coming off injury. Ben Tate is gone, so this gives Blue a chance to be the primary back up, and get some important carries. The back-up job is available, which is thrilling for a guy like Blue. He needs to show his own injury concerns are no longer an issue as well.
Round 7 (239) Bengals - James Wright, WR
The mere fact a team spent a draft pick on a guy with zero catches last year shows how much they value his abilities on special teams. It will still be an uphill climb to make the team, but the Bengals clearly value his skillset.