LSU Draft Questions, Part Three

TSD publisher Ben Love went seeking answers to some of the biggest LSU-related questions in advance of the 2014 NFL Draft. Today's question: How has the league reacted to LSU's underclassmen overload of late? A trio of seasoned NFL reporters sound off.

The 2014 NFL Draft begins later tonight, but TSD still has one final LSU-related question to pose and answer before all the festivities begin.

Already we've examined how flagged drug test can impact draft stocks for former Tigers Anthony Johnson and Zach Mettenberger as well as where NFL types stand on the debate between Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.

Today's question, with six more Tiger underclassmen on the board (Beckham, Johnson, Landry, Jeremy Hill, Ego Ferguson and Trai Turner): How has the NFL reacted and responded to LSU's underclassmen overload of late?

Three veteran NFL reporters at SCOUT - Bill Huber, Aaron Wilson and Tim Yotter - weigh in on the subject below.

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Aaron Wilson,

When it comes to underclassmen, people are a little wary. They do their homework and prepare in the fall for seniors. They don't know exactly who else is going to go pro, but they get a little bit of a feel later in the year for which guys have just played so well that it makes sense for them to go pro. But by then you've already done a lot of your scouting, so you have to play catch-up.

It's really tough on wide receivers. That's one of the positions that's hard to evaluate. Look at a guy like Odell Beckham, who people had to do a ton of homework on (in a short period of time). That's one of the reasons he had so many visits to teams like the Jets that he met with. They're just trying to get to know as much about him as possible and get a comfort level.

Tim Yotter,

It's always going to be about the talent. Some of it probably has to do with positions, too. If you're at a position like quarterback, where experience matters a lot to the GMs, that might affect a guy's status if he comes out early. But the record has shown in the past four years that the underclassmen have been increasing in record numbers, and this year is just off the charts. I think there are 102 underclassmen.

Tharold Simon is just one example of an LSU player who came out too early

There are more and more general managers and scouts who are coming out and saying probably 30-40 of these guys won't be drafted. Then you're looking at how many of them are picked up as undrafted free agents, which is probably most of them, but that's an uphill battle. A lot of these teams will have 12-14 undrafted free agents on their roster during the offseason, and maybe one of them makes the 53-man roster and another two or three make the practice squad. So even if you're an undrafted free agent and signed and you have a couple of months to prove yourself before the end of training camp, you're still looking at about a 25% chance that you're even getting an NFL paycheck.

It's a huge risk, and I think you can understand sometimes when players are going to come out early. All the resources are there for the prospects. They can go to the advisory board, get a draft grade, and if it comes back first, second or maybe third round, it's a good choice. If it comes back fourth, fifth or six, I mean why not stay in school unless there's a huge financial hardship or academic problems? I would say probably 15-20% of the kids are justified in coming out early, and the others ones are really going to struggle with that three or four years down the road.

Bill Huber,

There's a question I've never considered. I know that's the case for the parade of Alabama defenders to come out of school in recent years. In that case, the scouts I've talked to think Nick Saban is such a good coach that he has his guys at their peak. Now, do scouts think the same way about Les Miles' coaching? Probably not. I could go off on a tangent here about what one scout said of the bowl game against Iowa and the outcome of that game had the teams switched coaches. It wasn't complimentary.

I think there's probably something to what you've asked me. Look at Anthony Johnson. He's a former five-star recruit and his "paper" production looks good but he's probably not going until Day 3. I just took a really quick glance at the past five drafts. I counted 32 LSU players who were drafted after the first round. Of those, only Tyrann Mathieu, Kelvin Sheppard, Steven Ridley, Joe Barksdale, Brandon LaFell, Jacob Hester and Perry Riley have something of an NFL resume.

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