LSU pro day boosts several prospects


At least five LSU players have been selected in each of the past five drafts, and 2011 should be no different. We project six Tigers to come off the board this year, including likely top-10 pick CB Patrick Peterson, and all six showed off for NFL scouts at LSU's pro day on Monday.

Here's what we take away from their performances.

CB Patrick Peterson (grade: 97)

Peterson played it safe and did not participate in any timed events, and that's the right call because he had nothing to prove after running the 40-yard dash in the low-4.3-second range at the NFL combine. He dropped a pass during position-specific drills, but teams should not be concerned about his ability to play the ball after watching his film. Peterson has solidified himself as a top-10 pick.

DT Drake Nevis (grade: 75)

Nevis turned in two sub-5.00 times in the 40, a considerable improvement over his times at the combine. He's also 4 pounds heavier than he was in Indianapolis, and while he'll never be a space-eater, adding good weight that does not affect his initial burst and power is a plus. Nevis is still a bit undersized at 298 pounds, but he's shown enough to convince teams he will be a good value in the third round.

MLB Kelvin Sheppard (grade: 70)

Sheppard did not run the 40 at the combine and turned in times in the mid-4.7 and low-4.8 range, and he also had a disappointing showing in the three-cone drill. That drill is designed to test change-of-direction skills, and his subpar time raises concerns about Sheppard's ability to play on the outside.

However, he had a strong workout for an inside linebacker prospect and should fit nicely there at the next level. Sheppard has above-average top-end speed for an inside linebacker, especially considering his 250-pound frame, and although he must improve his ability to shed blocks, he does have the upper-body strength to get better in that area (22 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press). Overall, Sheppard has done enough to get himself onto the fringe of the third round.

OT Joe Barksdale (grade: 63)

Barksdale's arms somehow measured 35 inches on campus after measuring 36 at the combine, but either way he has the long arms that teams look for on offensive tackles. However, he was still slower than eight seconds in the three-cone drill, which does nothing to ease concerns about his ability to redirect quickly against pass-rushers. Barksdale remains projected for the middle rounds.

WR Terrence Toliver (grade: 58)

Toliver ran the 40 in the 4.65 range, but he tweaked his hamstring during the run after showing enough speed for his size (6-foot-4, 211 pounds) with a 4.52 at the combine. More importantly, Toliver flashes the blend of size and speed to stretch the field on film. Toliver showed some toughness by wrapping his leg up and catching the ball well during position-specific drills. He could prove to be a steal in the middle rounds.

RB Stevan Ridley (grade: 56)

Ridley didn't run the 40-yard dash (low 4.7s) as quickly as he did at the combine (4.65), but that won't hurt him much. The times are close considering he added 5 pounds since the combine, and Ridley projects as a powerful short-yardage back anyway.

He also put up 21 reps on the bench, and although upper-body strength isn't one of the top considerations when evaluating a running back, Ridley's ability to deliver a strong punch combines with his size to give him the tools to become an effective pass-blocker.