Big weekend on tap for several Tigers

The 2009 NFL Draft is set for this weekend, and the LSU Tigers have a number of prospects counting down the minutes until the picks roll in. NFL Draft analyst Chris Steuber sat down with to take a look at where the Bayou Bengals stand.

Fourteen Tigers showed up at LSU Pro Day on March 16, each hoping to shape their stock for the weekend’s draft. Leading the way on the board is defensive end Tyson Jackson, and Steuber feels that draft day could see the 6-foot-4, 296-pound prospect go as high as the third pick.


“Things are pretty interesting with Tyson right now,” he said. “He is probably the top 3-4 defensive end in the draft, and I think that could land him a lot higher than some people anticipate.”


Kansas City, who currently holds the draft’s third selection, has the big-man highlighted on their charts as a possible take.


“I think that he becomes valuable as a Chief because the owners like what he was able to do alongside Glen Dorsey in college,” Steuber said. “Now, I find it hard to believe that they will take him with the third pick, so look for them to move back if they go that route.”


Another team that could affect that move is the Denver Broncos, seeing new head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan express big interest in Jackson over the last couple of months.


Yet, with a quarterback on the board, the draft’s rundown will remain up in the air until Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT start.


“Denver would love to get to the third spot for Mark Sanchez, but Seattle could move to No. 2 to secure him first,” Steuber said.


“Where that leaves Tyson will be up in the air, because it depends on how far Kansas City would move back,” he added. “Desperation usually does not kick in until draft day, so we will have to wait and see.”


Darry Beckwith, who has battled injury throughout his collegiate career, is projected as the next Tiger to be taken.


“I think that [Beckwith] can be a third round guy, but I think that his knees have hurt him a good bit,” Steuber said. “He is bone-on-bone in both knees right now, so missing that much cartilage makes a lot of teams question his longevity.


“Then again, guys like Jeremiah Trotter had long careers with the same type of injury, so it comes down to how a team feels about the individual prospect.”


A good Senior Bowl showing, like both Quinn and Herman Johnson’s, is one way to up your stock before teams come calling in the spring.


“I would say that Quinn has made himself one of the better LSU values in the draft, simply because where he will get taken and what he can do for you,” Steuber said. “He is a good mid-round steal because he has some offensive talent outside of blocking, and I think he is probably the second best fullback available.”


Kirston Pittman used his workout back in Baton Rouge to get his name into the head of talent scouts, leaving the 6-foot-3, 250-pound prospect an interesting take come Sunday.


“Kirston had some visits, and I think that some teams are intrigued,” Steuber said. “He has been at LSU for a while, so he is kind of old for an NFL prospect. Still, he is a pretty good fit in any 3-4 defense.”


Demetrius Byrd, who was expected to go between the third and fifth rounds of the draft before injuries suffered in a car accident last week, is a name that, while out of the picture now, could be back in the fold sooner than later.


“It was a real shame to hear about his accident, because he has a nice future,” Steuber said. “I thought that prior to the accident he could have gone as high as the third round, because he showed some good speed in the offseason workouts. Obviously, there are some ramifications from what happened with his injury, but I think that he could do something down the road.”


As for the rest of the Tigers in the mix, Marlon Favorite, who finished his career at LSU with just 78 tackles, could go as high as the fifth round according to Steuber.


Brett Helms, Curtis Taylor, Ryan Miller and Ricky Jean Francois are expected by most analysts to land in free agency.

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