Top Tigers ready for NFL Draft

Saturday and Sunday could be record-setting days for the LSU football program as at least eight Tigers are listed as potential picks in the annual NFL Draft, which starts on Saturday and runs through the weekend in New York City.

The NFL Draft starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday and can be seen live on ESPN. The first three rounds of the draft will be held on Saturday followed by the final four rounds on Sunday. ESPN and ESPN2 will televise all seven rounds of the draft.

Only one other time has the LSU football program had eight players taken in the NFL Draft and that came in 1948 when the draft consisted of 32 rounds.

Since then, the most Tigers taken in any particular NFL Draft have been seven, which occurred four times. Most recently, seven Tigers were taken in the 2004 draft led by Michael Clayton's first round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. LSU also had seven players drafted in 1962, 1988 and 1990.

Last year, three Tigers were taken in the draft led by defensive end Marcus Spears, who was a first round selection of the Dallas Cowboys. LSU has had a player taken in the first round each of the past two years.

"It's certainly a great day for those guys and for the entire LSU family -- players, coaches and fans" LSU coach Les Miles said of the Tigers' potential NFL Draft picks. "I've heard as many as eight of our players have a chance to be picked and that really validates what we are doing here and the process that these student-athletes have gone through since their arrival on campus four or five years ago.

"As a coach, you are excited to see these guys get this opportunity. It's fulfilling to know that we have put these players in position to be successful both on and off the field once they have completed their college career. It's our philosophy as a program to help our players launch their careers following their time here at LSU. This is the next step for them and I'm going to be excited to watch the draft unfold this weekend."

Leading the way for the Tigers in the 2006 draft is running back Joseph Addai, who has been projected as a late first round or early second round selection. Addai impressed NFL brass at the league's combine in February with a 4.38 clocking in the 40-yard dash. Addai capped his LSU career with a degree in general studies and ranked fifth in school history in rushing with 2,577 yards.

Other Tigers projected to be selected on the first day of the NFL Draft include offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten and wide receiver/return specialist Skyler Green.

"I have talked and spent time with a bunch of different teams," Green said of the pre-draft process that included interviews and workouts for organizations throughout the league. "Just knowing that you could possibly go to anybody at any time is a nerve racking thing. You do a lot of things to just keep your mind free."

Green said that he's heard anywhere from the second round to the fourth round as to when he may get picked this weekend.

"I wouldn't mind going in the seventh round because I just want the opportunity to play at the next level."

Williams is also expected to hear his name called sometime on Saturday as the rugged defensive tackle has impressed scouts with his work ethic, strength and knowledge of the game. Williams, a native of Ruston, says he's plans to bring the same type of demeanor to the NFL that made him an All-America during his collegiate days.

"It's a little different (playing football for a living), but it all comes down to playing football and having pride in the way you play the game," Williams said. "If you have pride in the way you play, you're going to play hard and you're not going to let the money or anything like that change you. That's really what I'm focused on. I might be going to a new place where I don't know the players and I don't know the coaches, but I'm going to play football the way that I always have. That's going to make somebody happy, so that makes me feel good."

Other potential draft picks for the Tigers include linebackers Cameron Vaughn and E.J. Kuale, center Rudy Niswanger, offensive lineman Nate Livings, cornerback Ronnie Prude and wide receiver Bennie Brazell.

Chatting with the Tigers

Claude Wroten

 

On where he thinks he might be drafted:

"I have heard everything from late first, all the way down to late third," Wroten said. "Everybody has heard about the incident that happened and it may have, in the end, affected my stock a little bit. But what I am hearing is the first all the way to the third."

 

On how his workouts have gone:

"I have put up great numbers at the workouts," Wroten said. "Because of my hamstrings, I wasn't able to run a quarter. I pulled my hamstring and wasn't able to do that."

 

On what he is hearing from the scouts:

"After watching the film, every NFL team (that I have talked to) has said I am the best d-tackle (in the draft)," Wroten said. "But they said they want to background check me and all of that. They all know I am a good guy and a great player and that I am a good prospect."

 

On what his strengths are going into the draft:

"They know I am a great pass rusher and a run stopper, but they just want to do a little better job of shedding blockers and stuff like that," Wroten said. "They think I am a great athlete, but need to learn to get off blocks and get to running backs a little better."

 

 

 

Kyle Williams

 

On where he thinks he might be drafted:

"I am hearing everything from the second to the fourth rounds," Williams said. "Who knows though, it is all about that team that likes you and falls in love with you. We'll just have to see."

 

On possibly playing for Nick Saban:

"That would be exciting," Williams said. "I really know what coach Saban expects of his players and I know the defense. It would be exciting to play for him again."

 

On how playing for Saban in college will help him in the draft:

"It helped a lot," Williams said. "I was up in (Washington) D.C. last week and we went over a lot of different defenses with the Redskins. Greg Williams, their defensive coordinator, said their ‘defense is complex.' I said, ‘I can handle it.' We talked defense for two hours and it never phased me. It (playing for Saban) really prepares you to play in any type of defense."

 

 

 

Skyler Green

 

On being drafted high:

"I am very excited, a big opportunity for me," Green said. "To have the opportunity to go and play professional football is something I have dreamed about and ready for."

 

On what he is being told from scouts:

"I am hearing everything from the early second round to early fourth," Green said. "But I wouldn't mind sneaking up into the Pittsburgh Steelers' last pick in the first round."

 

On who he has been doing to get ready for the draft:

"I have been working out with Eric Martin, a former player here (at LSU) and a former New Orleans Saint," Green said. "Right now I feel fast and feel pretty good. The ankle is feeling good. I haven't had a problem with it since I have been working out."

 

On what he wants to show off going into his rookie season:

"First I want to be a guy that can show them when I get into mini-camp that I can be the punt return guy they are looking for," Green said. "Then I want to work my way into the offense. When I was at the Senior Bowl, a lot of coaches told me that you work your way up by working on special teams. So that I the route I want to take."


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