Three Thoughts: An NFL Draft full of surprises from an LSU perspective

  1. A (pleasant) Surprise

So there’s a non-zero percent probability that Danny Etling will one day be groomed as the heir apparent to five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Like Jimmy Garoppolo, the last Brady protégé, Etling is both handsome and from the Midwest.

The ESPN broadcast crew was so surprised when the New England Patriots selected the LSU quarterback with the first pick of the seventh round that one suggested the plan may be for Etling to follow in Julian Edelman’s footsteps as a college quarterback turned slot receiver.

Teammates may have called him “Vanilla Vick” back in Terre Haute, but playing receiver seems like a bit of a stretch.

New England apparently came away from LSU’s Pro Day impressed with Etling, but most figured they were interested in signing him as an undrafted free agent. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said that an NFL offensive coordinator at the same event told him Etling looked like a draft-able prospect.

“I did a double take,” Mayock said during the broadcast. “First time anybody had said it.”

Will Etling be the next Jimmy G or, even more improbably, the next Brady? Odds remain slim, but he joins a quarterback room with a 40-year-old Brady and 32-year old journeyman backup Brian Hoyer.

Now all he must do to stay in the good graces of Bill Belichick is follow the Patriot mantra: do your job.

  1. A (unpleasant) Surprise

Two LSU underclassmen who declared early for the NFL Draft went unselected and a third had to wait until the latter stages of the seventh round before getting the call. A player once projected as a top-five pick fell into the third round. Another projected first-rounder slid into the latter stages of round two.

Still, in the opinion of this writer, none of the LSU results were as surprising as the fact that running back Darrel Williams went undrafted.

Williams was never a full-time lead back at LSU, but NFL teams often place value on not having as much wear and tear at a position with a short shelf life.

His expertise in pass protection and versatility as a power back who can catch the ball and improved time in the 40-yard dash at LSU Pro Day figured to get him drafted, but 256 picks came and went with Williams hearing his name called.

“That’s a bet!! I love it!!” Williams tweeted after the conclusion of the seventh round.

Instead Williams signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He’ll join a crowded backfield behind reigning NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt that includes a fellow Tiger in Spencer Ware and Louisiana native Charcandrick West.

It may be an uphill battle to make the active roster, but Kansas City coach Andy Reid does like running backs who can block, so Williams has a shot.

  1. A Prediction

Derrius Guice has always run angry. LSU coach Ed Orgeron has repeatedly compared the way Guice plays running back to the way Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp played defensive tackle. Scouts and draftniks have referred to him as “a bowling ball of butcher knives” on tape.

The Baton Rouge native only figures to run angrier after sliding into the latter stages of the second round amid swirling rumors that seemed to contribute to him being the seventh running back selected.

There were reports that TMZ was sitting on a bombshell story about Guice that could embarrass both him and the team that drafted him. Another report claimed he had an “incident” during a pre-draft meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles. Both reports have since been shot down.

“Nobody wants to hear their name be slandered like that,” Guice said in an interview with Washington Post reporter Kimberley Martin.

The greatest beneficiaries of Guice’s slide will be the Redskins, who get a highly-motivated first-round talent at the No. 59 overall pick.

So here’s a prediction: Guice will post a couple of monster seasons in the nation’s capital and may even lead all NFL rookies in rushing this season. Longevity is a concern because of his violent running style, but for now, he’ll bring physicality and attitude to an offense desperately needing an infusion of both.

PLAYERS DRAFTED

  1. CB Donte Jackson | Carolina Panthers | 2nd Round (No. 55 overall)
  2. RB Derrius Guice | Washington Redskins | 2nd Round (No. 59)
  3. WR DJ Chark | Jacksonville Jaguars | 2nd Round (No. 61 overall)
  4. OLB Arden Key | Oakland Raiders | 3rd Round (No. 87 overall)
  5. WR Russell Gage | Atlanta Falcons | 6th Round (No. 194 overall)
  6. QB Danny Etling | New England Patriots | 7th Round (No. 219 overall)
  7.  C/G Will Clapp | New Orleans Saints | 7th Round (No. 245 overall)*

*Homecoming: Clapp, a New Orleans native, is the first LSU player to be drafted by the Saints since New Orleans selected Al Woods in 2010.

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

  1. OL KJ Malone (Houston Texans)
  2. DL Greg Gilmore (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  3. DL Frank Herron (New England Patriots)
  4. CB Kevin Toliver (Chicago Bears)
  5. RB Darrel Williams (Kansas City Chiefs)
  6. OL Toby Weathersby (Philadelphia Eagles)
  7. DL Christian LaCouture (Baltimore Ravens)
  8. FB J.D. Moore (Kansas City Chiefs)
  9. LB Corey Thompson (Buffalo Bills)
  10. BKB player Brian Bridgewater (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
About James Moran 1377 Articles
James Moran was Editor of Tiger Rag from August 2018 to October 2019. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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