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Friday, May 10, 2013
GTN mailbag: Backups, but also pros

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney answers your questions:

From: Biff (Chicago): Do the recruiting coaches feel any advantage in having someone like Lavar Edwards, who wasn't a starter his senior year, get drafted into the NFL? Does it give them valuable ammunition for getting four- and five-star rated players to know that at LSU you don't have to be a starter to be an NFL player?

James Carpenter
LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards was a fifth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
Gary Laney: You'd better believe LSU will use players like Edwards to sell the program's player development ability.

It's not just Edwards. A season ago, cornerback Ron Brooks was drafted in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills after playing the role of not the nickel, but the dime back in the LSU secondary. He started two games as a rookie for Buffalo after starting just three games in his entire LSU career.

It's a similar story with running backs. With the Tigers' committee approach, no back puts up huge career numbers, but it hasn't stopped a player like Stevan Ridley from becoming a feature back for the New England Patriots, nor did not starting in his final season keep Spencer Ware from from being selected.

That kind of track record can play a factor in LSU's effort to stockpile positions with high-end talent.

From Jared (Tulsa): With LSU offering Brandon Harris, what's the plan at quarterback? Will LSU take two again? I didn't hear very good things about Hayden Rettig in the spring. Could they be looking to replace him?

GL: LSU is also interesting in Mason Rudolph, a talented quarterback from South Carolina, and DeShone Kizer, the dual-threat quarterback from Ohio. It's entirely possible that LSU will take more than one, even if all the current quarterbacks remain on the roster.

Having said that, I don't think it'll happen. If LSU gets a commitment from one of the three quarterbacks, I'd suspect there might be a mutual cooling of interest with the remaining two, given the number of quarterbacks on the roster. It's not like some of the positions mentioned in Biff's question, where stockpiling doesn't hurt you.

Nobody rotates a fresh quarterback into a game every third or fourth play and nobody lines up in three quarterback sets.

From Ryan (Roanoke, Va.): DBU keeps putting out first-round picks. Patrick Peterson. Morris Claiborne. Now, Eric Reid. My question is, who will be the next Tiger DB to go in the first round?

GL: The 2014 draft does not look like one for LSU to continue its first-round run of defensive backs in the NFL draft. If it happens, it'll likely be because of a big year from safety Craig Loston to up his stock.

If I had to guess, I'd say the next LSU DB to go in the first round might be cornerback Jalen Mills, but that won't be until 2015 for the sophomore. Anyone good enough to step into the LSU program and start as a true freshman, as Mills did in 2012, has to be considered a candidate to be a first-round pick by the time he's done with college.