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shadowdrinker 03-22-2005 12:41 PM

Louisiana Prospects..For you local boys
Scouts refer to Florida, Texas, and California as “speed states;� states that traditionally produce a disproportionate number of the nation’s top athletes. Though Louisiana is not often mentioned among these states, the talent that leaves there is consistently among the best in the country. The following is a breakdown of the ten players from Louisiana colleges considered most likely to be drafted into the NFL next month.

As a national title contender each year, it comes as no surprise that LSU will provide the vast majority of NFL talent from Louisiana universities. The first selection will be versatile defensive lineman Marcus Spears. Spears, one of the few mentioned in the short list of six players has learned are being considered with the #1 overall selection, seems to be entering the draft at the perfect time. With the sudden rebound in popularity of the 3-4 defense, teams are looking for defensive lineman capable of playing of rushing the passer, but even more so able to hold up at the point of attack and allow linebackers to stuff the run. While he has been a bit inconsistent over his career, Spears can dominate the line of scrimmage. He certainly did so, at times, during the Senior Bowl, proving himself to be one of the elite players in the contest.

The next player to be selected from LSU will be cornerback Corey Webster. Webster lacks the pure 4.4 speed most teams look for in an early round cornerback, but plays with instincts and burst that lead to many deflections and interceptions. Some feel he’ll eventually be moved inside to free safety and feel he has a shot to enjoy a career similar to that of former San Francisco great Merton Hanks. Webster is expected to be selected in the late first to mid second round.

LSU offers several prospects expected to fly off the board in the middle rounds. Center Ben Wilkerson is the biggest name of the bunch. Considered one of the better centers in the country, Wilkerson suffered a torn patella late last season and this injury clouds his draft status. His surgery went well and all reports have his rehabilitation going nicely, as well, but he has yet to work out for scouts. Wilkerson is at his best in pass protection. He has good lateral quickness and uses his hands nicely. He isn’t an overly bulky center (6-3, 297) and isn’t a road grader in the running game. Obviously medical concerns will dictate his final status, but he is expected to be selected in the 3rd-4th round range.

Cornerback Travis Daniels, linebacker Lionel Turner and quarterback Marcus Randall are others expected to get late round looks from the NFL.

Travis Daniels has seen action at every defensive back position and it is this versatility that attracts the pros. He has seen the majority of his collegiate time at cornerback and played well here, at times, at the Senior Bowl, but like Corey Webster, might lack the deep speed needed to remain here.

Lionel Turner played outside linebacker for the Tigers, but also lacks the pure speed to guarantee remaining at this position for the next level. He has the instincts, size, and physicality to warrant a look at middle linebacker.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the second day LSU prospects is quarterback Marcus Randall. While he lacks the accuracy to remain at quarterback at the next level, Randall, at 6-2, 229, has the size, 4.55-4.60 speed, and agility to make a club as a running back. Some clubs like his as a defensive player, as Randall has shown a willingness towards physicality.

RB Ryan Moats
The highest ranked talents from Louisiana universities are clearly Marcus Spears and Corey Webster, but many might be surprised to discover that Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Moats will almost certainly be the third player an area school selected. Moats, only a junior, exploded this past season, earning conference Offensive Player of the Year Honors with a 1,774 yard, 18 touchdown campaign. Considered by most to be quicker than he is fast, Moats nonetheless ran a 4.46 forty on the traditionally slow Indianapolis Combine track, which begs the question, just how quick is the 5-8, 210 pounder? Teams are concerned about his size and level of competition, but saw him compete against top talent at the East-West Shrine Game and left agreeing that he was among the elite talents playing in that game. Expect Moats to be a 2nd to 3rd round choice.

While Ryan Moats receives plenty of attention (and deservedly so), he isn’t the only Bulldog earning the interest of NFL scouts. Cornerback Jerron Wishom has the NFL measureables at 6-0, 190 and running a 4.50 forty. However, he has struggled with knee injuries and isn’t the player his combination of size and athleticism indicate. He has the body of a physical corner, but plays with a passive, non-aggressive mindset. Wishom has the physical tools to work with however, and if he can clear medical questions, has a shot at the mid 2nd day.

Tulane wide receiver, Roydell Williams isn’t a nationally known name outside the state of Louisiana or Conference USA homes, but his career statistics warrant more national attention than he’s received. That said, he began to earn some notoriety when he was a late substitution at the Senior Bowl. Though he lacks super speed, Williams is a legitimate 6-1, 190 pounder who ran impressive routes and caught the ball nicely in Mobile. Teams will begin considering Williams in the middle rounds, though the depth of the receiver position could drop him lower.

One final prospect to keep in mind from universities within Louisiana is Grambling State outside linebacker Kenneth Pettway. Utilized as both a linebacker and defensive end during his stay at Grambling State (and previously Southern Arkansas). At 6-3, 236 pounds, Pettway lacks the size to remain at defensive end fulltime, but could make the league as a 3rd down pass rush specialist. Pettway has the athleticism to eventually make the full transition to outside linebacker and is especially suited to the 3-4 schemes so many teams are transitioning to this off-season.

baronm 03-22-2005 01:02 PM

Louisiana Prospects..For you local boys
moats is a GOOD running back-he gave auburn fits everytime they played us. He would be an outstanding change of pace back.

webster-maybe later in the draft..but i\'m really scared we will pick him up with a first which IMO is foolishness as he isn\'t all he\'s cracked up to be.

Halo 03-22-2005 02:07 PM

Louisiana Prospects..For you local boys


baronm 03-22-2005 03:35 PM

Louisiana Prospects..For you local boys
I don\'t understand the \"lack of competition\" thing for moats-they played auburn and atleast one more div. 1 school and moats killed auburn\'s defense.

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