NFL Draft Team Spotlight: LSU

DT Glenn Dorsey (Chris Graythen/Getty)

LSU placed four players in the first-round of the 2007 NFL Draft. And once again, they've got some of the top talent in college football. Scout.com's Chris Steuber tells you about the LSU players who could land on your favorite team's roster following the 2008 NFL Draft.

The spotlight has been on Louisiana State the last few seasons, and they've generated some tremendous prospects that have entered the NFL during that time. Last season, LSU had four first-round selections -- quarterback JaMarcus Russell (1st overall, Oakland), safety LaRon Landry (6th overall, Washington), and wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (23rd overall, Kansas City) and Craig Davis (30th overall, San Diego). Losing that kind of talent in one year can be detrimental to a team, but LSU's ongoing success in recruiting has allowed them to reload rather than go through a rebuilding season.

The Tigers are in the same boat this year as they were last year. They have some of the top talent in college football at multiple positions, and if you watch their defense play you have to wonder if they'd be successful against some NFL teams playing on Sundays.

With that said, playing on Sundays next year is the ultimate goal for many of these LSU players, and for some of them that goal will become a reality.

Here's a look at the LSU players that are eligible for the 2008 draft and their current draft stock for next April's offseason spectacle:


DT, Glenn Dorsey (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 1st Round
Height/Weight: 6-2, 299

Dorsey is the best interior defensive lineman in the country. He has a great blend of speed and strength. He's excellent against the run and is a very good pass rusher. His presence on the line makes others around him much better as he commands a double-team most of the time. Dorsey's an instant-impact caliber player that a team can build their defensive line around for many years.

WR, Early Doucet (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 1st Round
Height/Weight: 6-1, 210

Doucet is a tremendous threat at the receiver position. He's a gifted player who doesn't really stand out in a certain area, but all he does is make plays. He runs solid routes, flashes great hands and has the ability to break off a big play. He's got quick feet, gets separation from the opposition and accelerates in the open field.


Tyson Jackson chases Fresno State quarterback Sean Norton
AP Photo/Bill Haber

DE, Tyson Jackson (Jr.)
Draft Projection: 1st-2nd round
Height/Weight:  6-5, 292


Jackson, who's only a junior, has a lot of potential and showed his promise during a stellar sophomore campaign that was highlighted by his 8.5 sacks. He's a big, physical pass rusher who has very good speed and technique to get around the end. Jackson benefits from having a stud tackle like Dorsey on his side, but to his credit he knows how to take advantage of a situation.

OG, Herman Johnson (Jr.)
Draft Projection: 1st-2nd round
Height/Weight: 6-7, 351

Johnson, at 6 foot 7, 351 pounds, is a monstrous guard that controls the interior of the offensive line. He's quick off the snap and initiates contact immediately. A force up front who dominates interior linemen, Johnson is versatile enough to play the tackle position. He displays strong technique and has good footwork. He shows great patience in the trenches, explodes into the opposition, and delivers a devastating punch. Johnson's surprisingly athletic considering his size and shows the ability to get to the second level, but can struggle against quicker opponents and has work on staying disciplined.

CB, Chevis Jackson (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 2nd round
Height/Weight:  6-0, 190

Jackson is an excellent cover corner on a dominant Tigers defense. He's an instinctive playmaker who possesses excellent footwork and technique. Jackson displays an excellent break to the ball as well as a burst of closing speed. While he has the speed to get vertical to defend the throw and adjusts well in flight for the interception, Jackson has to work on his tackling and get more physical with receivers.

OLB, Ali Highsmith (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round
Height/Weight:  6-1, 225

Highsmith is an outstanding leader who has been a productive player for LSU. He's able to defend sideline-to-sideline and displays great recovery speed. Highsmith takes good angles, and while he has a nose for the ball, he shows good patience defending against the run. He has excellent awareness and drops back into coverage nicely. A lack of size and his inability to shed blocks is a concern at the next level.


Jonathan Zenon intercepts a pass
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CB, Jonathan Zenon (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 3rd round
Height/Weight: 6-0, 180

Zenon is a very good cover corner and is an athletic defender in the secondary. He shows great awareness in coverage and has a knack for making key plays. He anticipates a play well and has a quick burst to the ball. Although he has the ability to get vertical in coverage and displays great range, Zenon isn't a very physical player and tends to shy away from contact. Ironically, he can be overly aggressive while playing the ball at times and is susceptible to giving up a big play.

SS, Craig Steltz (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round
Height/Weight:  6-2, 204

After being in the shadow of former LSU great LaRon Landry, Steltz finally got his opportunity to show his abilities as a senior. Steltz is a very smart, instinctive player who has excellent awareness in coverage and who plays with a good degree of discipline. He reads the quarterback well, displays a good break on the pass and possesses solid ball skills. Using his excellent quickness, Steltz gets upfield to defend the run. While he isn't the flat-out fastest player at his position, what his game lacks in that area, he makes up for in effort.

OG, Will Arnold (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round
Height/Weight:  6-4, 319

Arnold is one of the best offensive linemen in the country when he's healthy, but his health is a major concern. He's a tough player who doesn't mind doing the dirty work. He has good technique, is an efficient blocker and he plays with a lot of passion.  Nasty at the point of attack, Arnold gets off the line well and jars defenders with a powerful punch. He's disciplined and reads defenses very well, but he doesn't have great quickness and tends to slow down as the game progresses. Arnold's injury history will hurt his draft stock.

FB, Jacob Hester (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 7th round - UFA
Height/Weight:  6-0, 228

Hester is a versatile player who plays with a lot of passion. He has outstanding hands out of the backfield and runs with a purpose. A great blocker who plays every down with a lot of intensity, Hester is also a good special teams performer who brings a workman-like attitude to the field. Although he doesn't have a lot  natural skills, Hester prides himself on his work ethic.

Stock Watch

Name: Matt Flynn     Pos: QB     Ht: 6-3     Wt: 227     Class: Sr.

A fifth year senior, this is Flynn's first season as a starting quarterback after backing up JaMarcus Russell for the past two seasons. He's got a lot of tools that make him an intriguing prospect to NFL teams. He's an athletic, smart quarterback who can buy time for his receivers with his legs and make crucial throws on the run. Flynn's got a strong arm and makes good decisions in the pocket. Two areas of concern will be that his accuracy is questionable and he must improve his ball placement.

If he continues to develop as a quarterback, he has a chance to increase his draft stock as the season progresses. At this time, he's no more than a mid-round (4th-5th) selection, but he has the size, arm strength, elusiveness, and intelligence it takes to be a future signal caller in the NFL.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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