Now that the NFL’s deadline for draft declarations has passed, let’s take a look at how things fared. LSU, as we know, will lose All-Americans Greedy Williams and Devin White, plus nose tackle Ed Alexander. The former two made the right call and will almost certainly be top-15 picks or so. Alexander, probably not so, but he may not have had a truly good choice with his history of knee injuries.
Most importantly, the program was able to hold on to juniors that appear to be right on the verge of breaking out — Breiden Fehoko, Rashard Lawrence, Michael Divinity and Kristian Fulton — hopefully reversing a trend that has been a huge anchor on the program in the last five years, when players like Bennie Logan, Ego Ferguson, Anthony Johnson, Kevin Minter, Tharold Simon, Trai Turner, Toby Weathersby and Davon Godchaux all left as lower round picks, right as it seemed like they might break out as college players. On top of another long list of stars that left early to be higher high picks (Fournette, Beckham, Landry, Reid, Mingo, Hill etc.)
So let’s look at how the rest of the SEC fared, and how some of LSU’s 2019 opponents were affected:
RB Josh Jacobs, TE Irv Smith, DB Savion Smith, S Deionte Thompson, LT Jonah Williams, NT Quinnen Williams, LB Mack Wilson
Well then, after years of getting extra seasons out of the likes of Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster, Shaun Dion Hamilton, C.J. Moseley, etc. it seems like the Tide have finally taken a pretty significant hit. They’ll be young or inexperienced at a few positions for the first time in a while. Of course, they still have the most talented roster in the conference, and just added the program’s highest-rated recruiting class ever. Almost all of these guys made the right decision, with exception of Savion Smith, who was always just a mercenary anyway.
DB Ryan Pulley
He had three of Arkansas’ five interceptions last year. When you’re 2-10, that’s not easy to replace.
QB Jarrett Stidham, WR Darius Slayton, CB Jamel Dean
Auburn came out of this okay, all things considered. Yes, Stidham and Slayton were productive, but that offense is powered by the offensive line and the running game, and the Other Tigers will return every major contributor there. More importantly, they held on to the rest of the secondary, and kept junior defensive linemen Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown. With Nick Coe still on hand, this should be one of the best defensive lines in the country once again.
RB Jordan Scarlett, DE Jachai Polite, LB Vosean Joseph, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, OT Jawaan Taylor
The defense held on to a very good player in Jabari Zuniga, but Joseph, Polite, Gardner-Johnson and the graduating CeCe Jefferson removes a lot of the punch of the defense. Losing Taylor means they’ll be replacing four of the five offensive linemen. Scarlett felt like he was at Florida forever, but guys like Tyrie Cleveland, Freddie Swain and Josh Hammond will be back for their ninth senior years.
WR Mecole Hardman, WR Riley Ridley, RB Elijah Holyfield, TE Isaac Nauta
D’Andre Swift is still there, but that’s a lot of play-making gone from the Bulldog offense. They’ll have to find some new ones. Although with the talent on hand, there’s no excuse not to, especially with a more experienced Jake Fromm.
RB Benny Snell
1,400 of 2,500 rushing yards and 16 of 27 touchdowns is about as big of a loss as it gets when you only pass for 161 yards per game.
WR A.J. Brown, WR D.K. Metcalf, TE Dawson Knox, OT Greg Little
The receiving corps is what made Ole Miss’ offense go for the last three years or so now...and now they’re all gone.
DT Jeffery Simmons
All things considered, State did okay here. Yes, Simmons was a major playmaker and tone-setter for the defense, and you don’t replace guys like him and Josh Sweat easily. But they also could have lost guys like Leo Lewis, Erroll Thompson and Cameron Dantzler, all of whom were in their third years. The defense will take a hit, but not a fatal one.
RB Damarea Crockett
The Other Other Tigers’ No. 2 rusher last year, Crockett did what most running backs should do and went for the money before the mileage gets too high. And with Kelly Bryant taking over at quarterback, Mizzou should be more run-heavy next year.
LB Quart’e Sapp
With just 29 tackles, this seems more like a processing than a real loss.
RB Trayveon Williams, TE Jace Sternberger, LB Tyrel Dodson
Williams was the heart of the Aggie offense this year, but A&M should have no problem replacing a tailback with the talent they’re bringing in. Sternberger was a difficult match-up player for them last year, so he’ll be missed. Although again, there’s lots of talent at receiver there. Dodson was the one potential impact returnee of that front seven, so they’ll be rebuilding there.
CB Joejuan Williams
Vandy always seems to have one or two very good defensive players that go on to a nice pro career and look like they were too good to play for the Commodores.