Between meetings with NFL personnel, media time and the all-important Combine workouts, several LSU players did well to improve their draft stocks. We’ll break down the six players that participated in the Combine over the last four days, examine how it’ll affect their stock and project where they might land.
OL La’El Collins | 6-4, 305 pounds
40: 5.12 seconds; BENCH: 21 reps; VERTICAL: 27 inches; BROAD: 108 inches; 3-CONE: 7.70 seconds; SHUTTLE: 4.63 seconds
Collins solidified himself as a first-round pick with his Combine performance, and he’s in the discussion to be one of the first offensive linemen off the board. He turned heads with his numbers in the “Olympic Drills,” including the sixth-best 40-yard dash time among offensive linemen. He was also eighth in the broad jump, 10th in the 3-cone and 12th in the shuttle. His individual position workouts were also impressive, flashing both power and agility. A team with a power-run system should want to snatch him up early. The only question remains whether he’s a guard or tackle in the NFL.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Mid-First Round
CB Jalen Collins | 6-1, 203 pounds
40: 4.48 seconds; VERTICAL: 36 inches; BROAD: 124 inches
LSU has had four defensive backs drafted in the first round in Les Miles’ tenure. Collins could add his name to that list after his Combine performance. Collins has the size and speed to make him a very desirable prospect for the next level. Most experts consider him to have one of the highest ceilings among corners in this draft. He might be a bit of a project though. The scouts think he’s still very raw, but with that foundation of athleticism, the NFL teams see a lot they can build on. Collins has been a hot name in mocks since he officially declared for the draft, and it’s realistic he sneaks into the first round.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late First/Early Second Round
DE Danielle Hunter | 6-5, 252 pounds
40: 4.57 seconds; BENCH: 25 reps
The NFL evaluators got to see the freakish physical ability Hunter possesses. LSU fans have known about it for a while, and Hunter showed it with his 40-time, the fastest among defensive linemen. The NFL execs will love that, but the question about his production still remains. Hunter racked up a lot of tackles this past season, showing great ability in stopping the run. But he needs to show improvement in pass-rushing, and that’s still a concern among teams. But he’ll still be an early-round pick based on those physical traits and the hope that better coaching turns him into an all-around defensive end.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Second Round
LB Kwon Alexander | 6-1, 227 pounds
40: 4.55 seconds; BENCH: 24 reps; VERTICAL: 36 inches; BROAD: 121 inches; 3-CONE: 7.14 seconds; SHUTTLE: 4.20 seconds
Alexander did himself some favors with his Combine performance. He had the second-best 40 time among linebackers, and NFL types love his physical ability. He plays fast and has ability to be a true outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, one that can play sideline to sideline and get in the backfield. But NFL teams want to see the mental part of his game catch up to the physical aspects. The knocks against him are that he lacked field awareness, lost track of the ball and couldn’t work outside of his initial responsibilities. But teams will want to build on his natural athleticism with hopes the rest comes along.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Third/Fourth Round
RB Terrence Magee | 5-8, 213 pounds
BENCH: 22 reps; VERTICAL: 37 inches; BROAD: 115 inches; 3-CONE: 7.52 seconds; SHUTTLE: 4.37 seconds
Magee does a lot of things well, but isn’t particularly exceptional in one category. He’s a decent runner, can help in pass protection and does have a bit of experience as a returner. He is undersized, though he still has a lot of tread left on the tires based on LSU’s rotation at running back. But considering that the RB isn’t as valuable in the NFL Draft as it once was, and Magee’s not one of the top prospects at his position, he’ll likely be a late-round pick at best.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Sixth Round
RB Kenny Hilliard | 6-0, 226 pounds
40: 4.83 seconds; VERTICAL: 27 inches; BROAD: 111 inches; 3-CONE: 7.17 seconds; SHUTTLE: 4.40 seconds
Though no one expected Hilliard to set the 40 on fire, his time may still be a bit disappointing. He figures to be a late-round pick at best. His best option may be to try adding weight and carve out a niche as a fullback. Those are still valuable in the NFL, and Hilliard does have a bit of experience at that position.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Seventh Round/Undrafted