It’s not the nine games LSU junior Saahdiq Charles started at offensive left tackle last season that kept from being drafted higher than he was on Saturday when he was taken No. 108 overall in the fourth round by the Washington Redskins on the last day of the NFL draft.
It’s the six games he missed because of a suspension handed to him by LSU coach Ed Orgeron.
Charles didn’t play against Georgia Southern, Texas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas game.
At the NFL combine, Charles addressed the issue with Yahoo Sports.
“It was just a mistake,” said Charles, who declared for the draft a year early. “It’s not a part of my life anymore, whatever I went through that led to the suspensions. It was selfish and a stupid mistake, honestly. I moved forward from it.”
Orgeron called Charles “a good young man who like us all had some character flaws he had to straighten up in his life.”
“Hopefully, he has learned his lessons,” Orgeron said. “I think he should have stayed (for his senior season), and he’d probably been a first or second round pick next year. He made the decision. There’s been a lot of people calling me about him.
“Hopefully he can prove to the NFL that he can go out there and do the right thing on a consistent basis. If he does that, he’ll have a great career.”
Last year in LSU’s 15-0 run to the national championship, Charles played 653 offensive snaps with his best football in the postseason. He graded out at 87 percent in a CFP semifinal win over Oklahoma after achieving a season-best grade of 92 percent (the best among all LSU linemen) in a victory over Georgia in the SEC championship game.
The 6-4, 295-pound former Jackson (Miss.) Madison-Ridgeland Academy standout finished his LSU career playing 2,102 snaps in 32 games with 28 starts (26 at left tackle, one each at right tackle and right guard).
Charles made an immediate impact in his first year with the Tigers in 2017, starting nine games as a true freshman. He helped pave the way for LSU running backs going over the 1,000-yard mark all three seasons (Derrius Guice 2017, Nick Brossette 2018, Clyde Edwards-Helaire 2019) he was on the offensive line from 2017-19.