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DandyDon.com chats with Mike Detillier about former Tigers in the NFL Combine
Scott: Mike, the Scouting Combine finished and what is your assessment of the guy everyone was talking about, Tyrann Mathieu?
Mike: Scott, I had him rated a top-100 guy going in and that is where I have him coming out of the Combine. Tyrann is a terrific football player. Sometimes the TV coverage gets overblown because it doesn't tell you if these guys can play football or not. I know, if he is focused and clean, Tyann is an impact player as a punt returner and also as a nickel and dime cover-cornerback.
It's like they are trying to put together a 4x400 meter relay team instead of asking the question of can he play football.
He ran well and he was just so smooth in all the field drills and he was the guy everyone who has watched LSU and SEC football knows about it. He's a really good athlete, that was never in question for people who have watched him regularly, it is all about the trust factor.
He got in a host of trouble with no money in his pocket. What happens when he has some money and everyone is trying to put their fingers in his pockets. And plenty of free time.
I thought he handled himself extremely well, he ran very well , but it was in the drills that he stood out as someone with great ball skills and even though you couldn't see it in drills, his instincts, football wise, are off the charts.
There will be a big run on cornerbacks in Round 2 and I always have felt he would end up being a late 3rd round pick. I think he may go a bit higher. It just takes one team to fall for him and he is certainly a football talent.
It is the intangibles and how he handles money and success, and not just in Year #1, but later on. I thought Tyrann did himself well and I am standing pat that he ends up being selected in Round 3. I know others will have him getting picked much later, but he is just too talented to get out of the 3rd round.
It may not be fair in life, but talented athletes get fourth, fifth and sixth chances. All I know is if he can straighten out his life he would be a great inspiration for everyone that says you are too small to play football.
Scott: Would he be a good fit for the Saints?
Mike: Scott, he could play for anyone and a part of me would love to see him in New Orleans, but the same people that helped bring him down and get kicked off the LSU team would be around him again. He has to break away from that pack of guys that are just worried about his money and bringing him down to their level. He needs to get away. I would love to see him play for the Saints because he could really help them out as a return man and also at cornerback, but I would be scared that many of the same elements that got him in trouble will stick to him like glue, especially back in his hometown.
Scott: What about Tharold Simon?
Mike: I really thought he did well also. Just think about two years ago and all the talk on the NFL Network was that Patrick Peterson couldn't play cornerback and that he was a safety and too stiff in the hips.
Now, everyone wants big cornerbacks because of Patrick's success and also the two guys from Seattle in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.
It's a copycat league and Simon is a big cover cornerback.
His problems were when he was in â€śoffâ€ť coverages. When he got on a receiver and could bump and run with him downfield he was very effective.
Tharold ran better than I thought he would and he also was very fluid in the drill work and he is such a huge and physical cornerback.
I really think it will be close on who gets picked first Simon or Mathieu.
I don't see him getting out of the 3rd round either.
Scott: Eric Reid really looked good also?
Mike: Yes, he sure did. Eric was bothered last season by the quad injury, but he was impressive athletically. He is a big safety, very strong, he ran well and he has great leaping skills. I really think Ericâ€™s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He is aggressive and last season he took some bad angles in the coverage part of the game being too aggressive.
He told me he was working really hard on his pass coverge techniques because in college you can kinda grind that receiver downfield a bit. In the NFL after five yards you have to let him be.
Eric is my 3rd best safety in this draft behind Texas' Kenny Vaccaro and Florida's Matt Elam. He was going into the Combine and is the same coming out.
Reid is a good football player and tough in run support. Last season he just seemed to be out of position at times and just not taking the right angle to the ball or the receiver. He was just too overaggressive to make plays and to be honest he was overcompensating for the loss of Mathieu and at times trying to do too much. He has got to be more disciplined in this area.
His workouts at the Combine were outstanding and I really think he ends up being one of the top ten picks in Round 2.
Scott: The Combine doesn't tell the whole story about Kevin Minter?
Mike: No it doesn't. He worked out pretty well, but he is 100% football player. Just great instincts, tough against the run, but he does need work on dropping back into his pass coverage spots better. You saw that during the season and also in the field drills.
He's a better athlete than people give him credit for. And I love his toughness, his nose for the ball and his physicality. You can't measure that with â€śBruce Jennerâ€ť workouts.
I really think Minter goes late in Round One. Baltimore would be a great fit for him with the retirement of Ray Lewis.
Scott: How about Lavar Edwards? He seems to get overlooked in this process.
Mike: Scott, itâ€™s a great point and I see him as a later 3rd or early 4th round pick. He really worked out well, he is just so athletic and quick and his showing here in Indianapolis and also at the Senior Bowl has helped him.
He reminds me so much of Chris Clemons when he came out of Georgia.
Clemons went undrafted and he had a stint in Philadelphia before they dealt him off the Seattle. And he has been a terrific edge rusher once he got more experience. I really like Lavar and you could see him come around as a player this past season. This Combine workout and the Senior Bowl has upped his draft stock.
Scott: I know you like Bennie Logan, what about Bennie's stock?
Mike: I thought Bennie did pretty well also. He is such a strong inside player, but quick for his size. I really think he is the most underrated football on this team. He reminds me so much of La'Roi Glover when he played for the Saints.
Very explosive player, quick off the snap and he is a good technician.
This is a pretty thick year for defensive tackles, but i still see Logan going in the middle of Round 2.
Scott: Sam Montgomery?
Mike: I had him as a 20â€™s pick in Round One and I really think that is where he ends up. He tested well athletically, he has added some muscle to his frame over the last year and yet he still has those quick-twitch skills you want in a defensive end.
He certainly is a more physical and a more powerful player than Mingo and he will play that base 4-3 defensive end. He has good pass rush skills and when his motor is hot, heâ€™s a big-time performer.
Now, itâ€™s interesting to hear what I think all of us knew and that he kind of played to the level of competition. It's honest, but very few people would say it.
I see him as a 20â€™s pick in Round One and team him with Logan and Edwards and it continues the trend that makes LSU Defensive Lineman-U. It will be 10 straight years that an LSU defensive lineman gets picked in the draft. No school in America can say that other than LSU.
Scott: Barkevious Mingo?
Mike: He lit it up didnâ€™t he? Whoa! He will play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment in the pros and he should the foot speed, explosiveness and agility in space to excel in that department. I thought he would go in the top-20, but I am convinced now he is a top 15 pick. If he is there when the Saints pick at 15 they have to take him.
Just a marvelous athlete and the Combine really put that element in light.
It is just so hard to get pass rushers today that I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see him go in the top-12. Long, real lean athlete with superb athleticism and the ability to roam in space. Very impressed with his workouts, but I really think he ends up being a better pro than a college player. He reminds me of Lamarr Woodley the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker. He just jumps off the snap in a flash. He needs to get stronger, but he is quite the athlete.
Scott: Mike, does the comparison fit to Kevin Minter on defense and Spencer Ware on offense and that these drills donâ€™t tell the whole story?
Mike: Scott, that is exactly right. Spencer is one of the most violent runners in this draft class, but what sometimes gets overlooked is his receiving skills, his pass protection ability and he gives great effort on every play. He is a terrific inside runner with excellent vision and he has enough scoot to make plays to the edge.
Really good all-around player, but he has had some off the field issues and he canâ€™t put his career on the line for that.
Really I think he is a better prospect now than Steven Ridley was when he came out of LSU. I think he will go in Round 4.
Scott: What about Michael Ford?
Mike: Michael is a terrific athlete and it showed up at the Combine. He is very strong, very fast to turn the corner and he is a really good inside runner. He also brings to the table kickoff return skills and he is a pretty good receiver coming out of the backfield. Ford is the best all-around athlete from a physical standpoint that LSU has. He doesn't have a lot of rubber off the ties either. I would grade him a 5th or 6th round pick.
Scott: What is the evaluation on Chris Faulk?
Mike: It will depend on his health. If he is healthy and runs pretty well then I think he ends up a late 2nd or early 3th round pick. You get great value here. Faulk was one of the top three left tackles in the nation to start the season along with Luke Joeckel and Taylor Lewan from Michigan. Chris is strong, knows how to use his hands and long arms well and he is a good technician. Now, I want him to lose some weight around his belly and become a knee-bender instead of a waist-bender, but he is very talented. Just a real strong roadgrading run blocker and he is pretty good as a pass protector. Health will determine where he ends up, but I know he has a strong work ethic and he will really work hard to get in the best of shape. If my medical staff gives me the two thumbs up then I would love to see him there in Round 3. His workouts at LSU for Pro Day will be important.
Scott: P.J. Lonergan was surprised to get a Combine Invite. Do you think he gets drafted?
Mike: Yes, I think he gets picked late (6th or 7th round). Combo player who will work at guard and center. He's real strong, especially in the upper-body and he's a good technician. He's a role player in the NFL. Hopefully he can stay healthy because he was nicked up some as a sophomore and junior. I just wish he would be a more take-charge guy to get people in the right spot upfront. That was something Todd McClure had. He took charge as a leader and he was like a QB. at center.
Scott: Brad Wing, punters donâ€™t get drafted often. Whatâ€™s his chances?
Mike: Heâ€™s the most gifted punter in this draft class. Great leg and handtime and one of the best directional punters I have graded in a long time. I think heâ€™s a 5th round pick. He changes field position instantly with his booms. He needs to grow up some, but heâ€™s so gifted.
Scott: You do a lot of prep evaluation, what about Donnie Alexander and Ed Paris?
Mike: Donnie is a quick striker. The first time I saw him he reminded me so much of Harry Coleman when he came out of West St. Mary. At LSU he was hybrid player and I see a lot of Coleman in Alexander. He is like a heat seeking missile and he just flies to the ball. He will get bigger and stronger and I really think he will play weakside linebacker at LSU. He is a really good athlete and he can throw that body in reverse quick.
Wow. what can I say about Paris? Ed is a real lengthy cornerback with great ball skills and he is someone that plays with a certain swagger. He needs some work with his footwork and backpedal techniques, but his size match-up against the bigger ends continues that great trend of big cornerbacks at LSU. Every coach I have talked to tells me he will play and play fast in college and be really good. Watching him on tape you can see his speed, his wingspan and his ability to plant that foot in the ground and then speed to the football. Watching him on tape he looks like a taller version of Joe Haden, now at the Cleveland Browns, when he was at Florida.
Mike Detillier, based in southern Louisiana, is editor and publisher of Mike Detillier's NFL Draft Report. He's also the college and pro football analyst for WWL 870 AM Radio in New Orleans, a sports columnist for several newspapers and Web sites, and a frequent guest on radio and television programs across the country. His website is mikedetillier.com.
This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.