Surprise to some

For the first time in 15 years the Miami Hurricanes did not have a NFL first round draft pick. LSU not only has the longest active streak of first round picks, but the Tigers also lead the Southeastern Conference with first round selections over the last six years.

It had been 14 consecutive years that the Miami Hurricanes had a player picked in the first round of the NFL Draft. That streak ended on Saturday when no one from Miami was selected in the 2009 draft.


While Hurricane fans were singing the blues on Saturday, LSU was rejoicing because the Tigers now own the longest active streak of first round draft picks with six years and counting.


Not only can LSU lay claim to that honor, but LSU also has the most first round draft picks in the Southeastern Conference over that span at nine. In fact, no one in the league is close right now with Arkansas coming in second (6), followed by a four-way tie for third with Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee all sitting with five first round selections since 2004.


LSU grabbed the baton from the Hurricanes shortly less than an hour after the draft started this past Saturday when the Kansas City Chiefs pulled an early surprise and nabbed Tyson Jackson with the third overall pick.


According to NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber, the Chiefs had entertained the thought of trading down with Buffalo, Denver and a few other teams before making their pick.


The fact that Kansas City wanted Jackson was not a big surprise with the Chiefs going to a 3-4 defensive set this season, and with the 6-foot-4, 296-pounder being ideal for playing defensive end in that scheme.


However, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked to the podium and announced that the Chiefs had selected the former Tiger it was the first of several surprises concerning LSU players in the ’09 draft.


“I just think taking Tyson Jackson at that point in the draft not only altered things in the draft, but was too much of a reach,” Steuber said. “I think he’s a good player and probably Top 15 talent, but going No. 3 overall in the draft, I thought was way too high.”


When Kansas City made its next selection in the third round – 67th overall – and took Purdue defensive tackle Alex Magee some felt that another surprise or shocker could be headed down the pipeline involving LSU.


The Chiefs drafted LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey a year earlier with the fifth overall pick in the draft, and it was no big secret that General Manager Scott Pioli had conversations with Atlanta about trading Dorsey. There was some concern that Dorsey was not a good fit for playing nose guard in the Chiefs’ new scheme, and he had a subpar rookie season with only 50 tackles, one sack, and no quarterback hurries, though he started in all 16 games.

Glenn Dorsey will reunite with his old friend Tyson Jackson

Steuber said that it would have taken the first and third round pick from Atlanta in the ‘09 draft to make the trade happen, but the Falcons felt that the price was too steep so they filled their need by taking Ole Miss defensive tackle Peria Jerry with their 24th overall pick.


Steuber expects the Chiefs to hold onto Dorsey, and it doesn’t happen often but the Kansas City front could have two former college teammates who started on the same line reunited on the professional level.


“I think they’re going to try and make it work now with Tyson and Glenn,” he said. “They’ll put Tyson at one end and now the question becomes do they put Glenn on the outside now that they’re going to a 3-4 because there was some strong doubts as to whether he fits at nose in a 3-4.”


The fact that Kansas City drafted Jackson, who is LSU’s highest drafted player ever on the defensive side of the ball, with its third overall pick in 2009, only a year after taking Dorsey with the fifth overall pick was another surprise to Steuber.


“You’re talking two Top 5 guys in back-to-back years that played on the same defensive front in college, that is kind of unique,” Steuber said. “I don’t ever remember that happening. It’s really interesting because I think Tyson had his most success with Glenn and I guess they are hoping that would happen again.”


Steuber was correct in his assessment on the regularity of a team selecting two guys in back-to-back years that played on the same defensive line in college.


The feat is so uncommon that going back all the way to 1970 – when the NFL and AFL merged – there have been no instances where that has happened. Only twice has a team selected teammates that played together on the defensive line in college in back-to-back first rounds of the draft period.


The Dallas Cowboys selected North Carolina teammates Greg Ellis (8th) and Ebenezer Ekuban (20th) in the first round in 1998 and 1999, respectively. The New Orleans Saints took Jonathan Sullivan (6th) in 2002 and Charles Grant (25th) the following year.


Jackson and Dorsey formed an imposing tandem in the two years they started together at LSU that produced a BCS National Championship in 2007. Pioli hopes that with time his Tiger tandem will help Kansas City’s defense make it back to the top just as it helped LSU make if to the top of the mountain in ’07.


“They had a lot of success together and we think they will give us a much-needed boost to our front, and make us a better team for years to come,” Pioli said.

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