Updated: May 9, 2021
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
With the 2021 NFL Draft coming so soon this week, we felt it was necessary to throw our hat in the ring as far as Tigers entering the professional arena and where they'll land.
You've seen our profiles on Ja'Marr Chase & Terrace Marshall, but now it's time to profile & predict the course of all our 2021 NFL Draft Tigers:
LSU have Chase, Marshall Jr, Carter, McMath, Shelvin, Stevens & Vincent Jr from the 2019 National Championship-winning squad next to Jabril Cox (transferring from the FCS to the SEC), the linebskcer raising his Draft stock considerably in just a single season at Death Valley.
2020's class will remain in light as a record-breaking, forever fabled mass ascension, however this group's smaller yet "all killer, no filler" unit of 2019 champions could reenact the same levels of NFL readiness & production as their former teammates.
#5 CINCY BENGALS
JA'MARR CHASE (WR)
The Tiger reunion between Ja'Marr, Joe Burrow and Thaddeus Moss could be spoiled by the Bengals opting for bookend OT Penei Sewell to keep Joe upright...but this is a mission Burrow wants completed.
Don't fool yourself over "we have Tee Higgins"....
For the Bengals, Tyler Boyd is the guy, Higgins has been a ghost thus far....and considering the loss of A.J Green (who made a ton of 3rd or 4th down catches last year), Cincy actually do need a pass-catcher.
Of course offensive line is a glaring necessity for Cincy, but 2021 is a deep draft with a vast expanse of OL talents...also remember, we've only seen 1st Round pick Jonah Williams for a single season as he looks to improve from an understandably spotty debut.
One thing to remember: while a great bookend tackle flanking Williams would be big time help, Cincy need guards more than anything.
Plus, what better protection than a receiving colossus who has a telepathic connection with your quarterback, especially a guy who can get open in 3 seconds or less while being able to take a 3 yard pass 70-80 yards from anywhere at any time....
Ja'Marr Chase must reunite alongside Joe Burrow...football fans simply have to see their dynamic duo again...it's a mandatory requirement for this Draft....just give us the Ja'Marr & Joe reunion tour and we'll be fine with whatever else happens.
Chase could end up in the "winning is forbidden" tundra of Detroit or playing with Tua down in Miami if Cincy aren't careful....
Forget spending another 1st round choice on a high profile, big name OL who will have just as much of a chance at "making it" or "busting it" as a 2nd rounder, Cincy must draft the best offensive weapon available this year...a young beast who set records & won championships alongside their franchise quarterback...
The Bengals would next pick at #38, and at least a few of these top O-linemen should still be there on the board: Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech, Jalen Mayfield out of Michigan, Clemson's Jackson Carman, North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz, Northern Iowa's Spencer Brown or Notre Dame's Liam Eichenberg.
By pick #38, Ja'Marr Chase won't be....and neither will WR Terrace Marshall; potentially losing out on both 2019 National Champions would crush Joe whether he'll admit it or not.
I feel the Bengals have no choice but to select Ja'Marr Chase at #5, rekindle their partnership's unbridled chemistry, and proceed to take over the NFL...
#19 WASHINGTON SNYDERS
TERRACE MARSHALL JR (WR)
While a large array of Terrace predictions have gone Baltimore's way, I feel Terrace will be taken off the board 8 picks earlier by Washington's Martin Mayhew:
Other than Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims and Steven Sims Jr, Ron Rivera's Washington Footballers are lacking playmakers on the outside, something which crept up during this past January's Wild Card round, and helped hand a struggling Tampa Bay the slight edge, barely escaping 31-23 (Washington outscoring Tampa 16-13 in the second half).
Featuring in only two appearances with Washington before the Wild Card game, QB Taylor Heinicke still racked up 306 yards on a defense which retired Drew Brees and forced Aaron Rodgers to second guess himself; if Heinicke had been able to throw to a weapon like Terrace Marshall, Washington may have actually beaten Tampa Bay....this last year's dominant Super Bowl champions....imagine that...and it's true...
Such is the importance of the wide receiver in today's NFL, Washington nearly overcame the odds in that playoff game; yet with a dominant aerial threat opposite McLaurin's all-around versatility, the Washington McWashington's passing game could become explosive out of nowhere.
Standing 6'4, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, as well as specializing in red zone finishing (18 red zone scores out of his 23 total touchdowns) to quote Jake Peetz, Terrace Marshall is "every offense's dream & every defense's nightmare...."
#41 DETROIT LIONS
JABRIL COX (LB)
I feel Cox will return to the Midwest, being grabbed by Detroit, a team who desperately need an athletic, playmaking defender.
Combining such size, skill & range, Jabril could even transition into a safety at the NFL level.
Cox could be a star as a pro, possessing a rare talent package for a linebacker:
Linebackers who can cover are in short supply....
Linebackers who can cover and actually look, hit and tackle like linebackers are even more rare....
Defensive chameleons who can sack quarterbacks, intensely pursue ball-carries with side to side ferocity, and then grab multiple interceptions within a single season are the players who currently define 2021's defensive landscape...
Speed...athleticism....it's a defense's only hope for survival against modern offensive madness.
Of course, he's not perfect:
Jabril will need to work on boosting his aggression in the tackle, sometimes allowing runners to bounce off or run through him last year, though that'll come as Cox continues to climb the football ladder.
But when discussing his coverage abilities, you have to take a bow:
Grabbing 10 overall collegiate INTs and returning half for touchdowns (5...almost 6 INTs returned for scores in 4 seasons...see Arkansas 2020) Cox ticks some serious boxes as a potentially elite professional talent.
#61 BUFFALO BILLS
KARY VINCENT JR (CB/FS)
Possessing SEC Champion track speed and National Championship footballing qualities, Kary Vincent Jr is likely to be a big time sleeper among all the more "high profile" DBs within the 2021 NFL Draft...which could turn out just fine for Vincent Jr.
So many analysts are projecting the Raiders as his next landing spot, although I wonder why the Bills would pass on such an illustrious talent at that juncture...especially in tandem with another elite Tiger standing on one side.
Appreciating the game of another DBU Tiger, perennial Pro Bowler Tre'davious White is lobbying for Vincent Jr...just think how fast Buffalo's defense already is and how quicker they'd be after Kary's arrival....
I don't feel like Vincent's talents are being appropriately recognized or given their proper dues, hell no.....
Grabbing a pick during each season (4 throughout LSU's 2019 title win), Vincent Jr finishes his Tigers career holding 6 total INTs, a National Championship in football and an SEC title to his name through track & field, however it feels as if Vincent Jr's contributions have been treated & interpreted far worse than merely being underrated...they've been mostly forgotten.
Well, it's time to refresh your memory.
Dynamic in full flight, Kary attacks the ball with 18 passes defended and 87 tackles to go with 19 starts out of 39 appearances, however if you're wondering why your team should be drafting Kary Vincent Jr (if you're needing a free safety, nickel, corner or guy who can play all the above) just watch his interception off Jalen Hurts during the CFP semifinal game.....
Check out his mature, authoritative showing throughout the postseason, racking up 9 solo stops, 1 INT, 2 passes defended and 2 forced incompletions from random nickelback blitzes....witness a DB who can perform 3 different secondary roles as if they were seared into his consciousness.
Look for the smartest franchise to select him, look out for a general manager who values overwhelming speed, high football IQ, solid tackling ability and strong character.
Maybe I should be saying San Francisco?
#74 WASHINGTON SNYDERS
JACOBY STEVENS (SS/LB)
Though he has certain limitations in coverage, Jacoby Stevens will prove to be a far better NFL talent than the draft analysts are forecasting.
The 2019 National Champion and LSU's 2020 "#7" will eventually move to outside linebacker at the next level, becoming a line of scrimmage attacking machine adept at blowing up protections, using his length to disrupt passing lanes or brutalizing quarterbacks on the blitz.
Winning the title with LSU during 2019's legendary campaign, Jacoby was named defensive player of the week on three occasions, leading the team in tackles twice and posting 7+ tackles on 11 occasions.
Regardless of what many will say about his soon-to-happen switch from safety to linebacker, Stevens is a versatile defender, capable of steadfast pursuit, goal-line stuffage, turnover creation, and unruly contraband hits (check out his smash on Amari Rodgers....remember, that's Jacoby backing out at the end so he doesn't get a targeting flag).
Recording 102 solo stops from 190 career tackles (leading LSU's defense last year with 63), stuffing ball-carriers or quarterbacks for 21.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks (including 3 in 2019 vs Arkansas), 4 interceptions (3 during 2019 alone), 15 passes defended, 4 fumble recoveries and 1 forced fumble, it geauxs without saying:
If utilized correctly, Jacoby Stevens can become the complete NFL defender.
#137 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
TYLER SHELVIN (DT)
Many are discounting the rugged brilliance of Tyler Shelvin....
Many forget he's still an interior decorator....designing the line of scrimmage with the blood of offensive linemen....
But the talent has never been a question when it comes to Shelvin...everyone witnessed the outrageous footwork, the philistine drive and immovable strength.....here was a straight up old school nose tackle actually effecting the pass rush time and time again, creating alleys for sacks / hits from K'Lavon Chaisson, Breiden Fehoko, Jacoby Stevens and Patrick Queen among others.
Throughout 2019, Shelvin entered the backfield on 39 occasions, disrupted protections 26 times, and attracted double or triple teams during 83% of his snaps.
So....what's the problem?
His wayward discipline and unpredictable weight gains.
Weighing in at 350 lbs when stepping on the Pro Day scale, Shelvin is back down to his normal range before the tumultuous 2020 off-season... ..however:
Will Big T's work ethic respond to the challenges set before him?
Can he keep the weight off, push through the barriers, or keep his head together against the outside noise and potential criticism?
Tampa Bay's 2020 defensive line were fantastic....the shiny Super Bowl rings on their fingers shimmer in the sunlight or reflect off the moon as proof.
Still, there's one area the Bucs need to improve along their roster:
Defensive tackle......and there's a few Buccaneer-Tigers already in Tampa who would be more than happy to welcome Big T home.
#145 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
RACEY MCMATH (WR)
McMath stands as one of the most underrated wide receivers of the Draft class, not for his statistical output at Louisiana State, mostly for his obvious skyscraping aerial attributes, his "Pacey Racey" burst, in addition to his Grade A caliber character.
Racey will fall in the Draft because of unfamilairity, though whoever takes the 2019 champion Tiger will be stealing a high potential, low risk wide out who just barely missed out on explosive numbers through nagging injury (2020) and when behind only the three best WRs in CFB, Ja'Marr, Justin & Terrace (the year prior).
If he heads to a team with an average quarterback and receiving corps, he'll be a double digit touchdown WR soon enough.
#149 CINCY BENGALS
ZACH VON ROSENBERG (PUNTER)
It's time for Cincy to start moving the wheels concerning a new punter, given the fact 35 year old one time Pro Bowler Kevin Huber has been with the team since being drafted in the 5th round as well.
They'll be grabbing one of the most overly athletic punters in history if they grab ZVR, not to mention putting Joe, Ja'Marr, Thad and ZVR all on the same roster would absolutely blow my mind.
Check out our piece on ZVR, totally illustrating why we know he is the best punter of the 2021 NFL Draft.
I could also see him head to New York (both franchises) although I feel becoming Huber's understudy for a season or two & meeting back up with Joe, Thad & Ja'Marr would be the perfect Draft for ZVR.
#177 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
TORY CARTER (FB/HB/TE)
Tory feels, looks and sounds like a Belichick draft pick waiting to happen.
Not only would Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels find ways to utilize the heavy metal, hard-charging thunder of Carter with precision and innovative thrust, Tory would be a perfect new wrinkle for the Patriots' new offensive identity under Cam Newton.
Remember, versatile fullbacks who can block, run or catch are extremely valuable in a Newton offensive scheme (Mike Tolbert ahemmm).
Metallica, Red Bull and a whole lotta smashing geauxing on.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Lonn Phillips Sullivan Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: CHRIS "UNO" GRAVES JR, ZANDER MILTON 2022 SAFETY FOR KENNER, GREAT YOUNG MEN! ALSO, DARYL SEARCY, KREED STUBBS & RONNIE MCNEAL.
I ROOT FOR THEM HARDCORE!