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The Draft Doesn’t End After Round 7

After Mr. Irrelevant is selected on Saturday night and the draft is officially over, most TV stations start doing their final wrap ups and fans start discussing how their teams did.

But for the teams themselves, that’s when the madness begins. The entire pool of players who weren’t drafted is up for grabs on a first come first serve basis.

LSU football tweeted, “Congrats @LSUfball UD free agents: Aghayere @Seahawks; Clement @Giants; Faulk @Browns; Ford + Lonergan @ChicagoBears; Shepard + Wing @Eagles.” For those keeping score, that’s (a school record) 9 Tigers chosen in the draft and 7 signed in the hours following the draft.

According to Nola.com, the Saints have singed 12 undrafted free agents as of 10:30 Sunday night, including Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin and Louisiana-Monroe tight end Keavon Milton. Nola.com reports, “According to sources and Twitter feeds of players and coaches, the Saints have agreed to terms with Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin, Michigan offensive lineman Elliott Mealer, Utah cornerback Ryan Lacy, North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick, Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas, Louisiana-Monroe tight end Keavon Milton, Nebraska defensive end Eric Martin, Central Florida linebacker Ray Shipman, West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, Grand Valley State guard Tim Lelito, Idaho State tight end Josh Hill and Georgia Tech cornerback Rod Sweeting.”

Other Louisiana undrafted free agents include Louisiana Lafayette corner back Melvin White to the Carolina Panthers (Reported by NFL.com), Louisiana Tech outside tackle Oscar Johnson to the Tennessee Titans (Reported by NFL.com), Southeastern Louisiana linebacker Devan Walker to the Chargers (Reported by NBCSports.com), Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen to the Patriots (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Lousiana Tech running back/wide reciever Ray Holley to the Baltimore Ravens (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron to the Carolina Panthers (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Lafayette wide receiver Javone Lawson to the Arizona Cardinals (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), Louisiana Tech guard Kevin Saia to the St. Louis Rams (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com), and Louisiana College outside tackle Jeremy Vujnovich (Reported by nepatriotsdraft.com).

Louisiana racks up at NFL Draft

Louisiana represented well at this year’s NFL draft wrapping up day three with a total of 12 players selected to a team. Making up majority of that number is SEC powerhouse LSU, which drafted nine players overall including defensive end Barkevious Mingo and free safety Eric Reid. Mingo was picked sixth by the Cleveland Browns in round one while Reid went to the San Francisco 49ers as the team’s first pick and 18th overall draft pick.

Also from LSU, linebacker Kevin Minter was selected in round two by the Arizona Cardinals as the 45th overall pick. Round three spewed out three more Tigers with the Philadelphia Eagle’s selection of defensive tackle Bennie Logan (67 overall), Cardinal’s selection of cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (69 overall), and the Houston Texans’ pick of defensive end Sam Montgomery (95 overall).

The Seattle Seahawks picked up cornerback Tharold Simon (138 overall) in round five and running back Spencer Ware (194 overall) in round six. Ware stands as the only offensive player from LSU to be called in the draft, making the Tiger defense nearly unmatched.

Although no Tigers were selected in the final round, LSU made history setting a record with nine players drafted this year, the most in the school’s existence.

The Atlanta Falcons selected cornerback Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana in round two as pick 60 overall. From Louisiana Tech, wide receiver Quinton Patton went to the 49ers (128 overall) while the Chicago Bears selected offensive tackle Jordan Mills (163 overall).

Also making a big statement were SEC schools Alabama and Florida with nine players drafted and Georgia with eight. ACC school Florida State leads the pack with 11 players drafted.

Saints NFL Draft Preview

The New Orleans Saints will have the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL draft tomorrow night in New York City.

In many ways, the draft marks the beginning of the new regular season in the NFL, when teams replenish their rosters and focus on offseason preparations.

The Saints, buried under the bounty scandal a year ago, will start the 2013 NFL regular season free of the death grip of commissioner Roger Goodell.

So what are they to do?

Picking pretty much smack dab in the middle of the first round, the Saints, like nearly every team in the league, have a myriad of needs they hope to address via the draft.

One of the holes they’ll probably look to fill is on defense – at pretty much any position.

Luckily for the Saints, there appears to be a plethora of talented defensive players in the draft this year.

Double lucky for the Saints, they’ll look to have linebacker Jonathan Vilma for a whole season after he was suspended for a large portion of last year in relation to the bounty scandal.

Curtis Lofton also contributed a strong season last year with more than 100 total tackles from the linebacker spot.

Multiple draftniks have identified Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones as a potential target for the Saints during the first round on Thursday.

The pick would make sense. Jones would provide the Saints with a pass rushing threat the team lacked last year.

Cameron Jordan led the Saints with eight sacks last year and the aging Will Smith chipped in six.

Jones’s ability to get to the quarterback could prove useful for the Saints, should they choose to go that route.

The Saints may also opt to go after a defensive lineman in the first round.

Picking in the middle of the first round, they may not be able to get their hands on Utah behemoth Star Lotulelei or Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, but the Saints may have a shot at bringing LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo.

Mingo may see time at linebacker in the pros, but certainly would give the Saints athleticism and speed off the edge.

Here’s an interesting thought: Let’s say the Saints aren’t able to snag Jones, and Mingo’s been taken as well. What COULD be interesting is that the Saints might opt to fortify their secondary.  This would prove useful in a division that features big armed and capable passers like  Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman.

What if they go after someone like Florida safety Matt Elam?  He’s an active and tenacious player who’s projected to go in the later part of the first round.

The Saints would then have to wait until the third round to pick again.  They would still do well to get a pass rusher, and Sam Montgomery, the OTHER LSU defensive end, might still be available.

Montgomery at one point was projected as a first rounder along with Mingo.  His draft stock plummeted in the eyes of draft analysts in recent weeks after he admitted taking plays “off” at LSU and an underwhelming NFL Combine performance.

Still, there’s no denying Montgomery’s ability and if the Saints have the opportunity to snatch him in the third round, where many draft experts say he’ll go,, they’d be wise to do so.

If this were to happen, the Saints’ first two picks in 2013 would add a young and aggressive secondary player in Elam who can study under Roman Harper, and a first round talent in Montgomery, helping breath life in their derelict pass rush.

Of course, the one certainty about the NFL draft is that there will always be surprise and intrigue when the draft finally arrives.

The Saints may end up taking Jones’s Georgia teammate Alec Ogletree in the first round and South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger in the third round. You just never know.

One thing that can be assumed with relative confidence is that the Saints will look to focus on defense in this draft.

Mad Hatter Magic

 

Photo Courtesy of Bouche's Snapshot

Photo Courtesy of Chessa Bouche

LSU coach Les Miles leads his Tigers into Death Valley, eats grass on occasion, takes part in the “LSU Football Harlem Shake” video, and now the Mad Hatter has done it again. Coach Miles will take part in the NFL Network’s draft coverage that begins this Thursday night.

LSU’s Les Miles, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Standford’s David Shaw, and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly will all participate in the 2013 NFL Draft coverage.

According to draft producer Charlie Yook, Miles, Shaw, and Kelly are expected to be with the coverage team during the draft and Sumlin will work pre-draft coverage.

Apparently, Coach Miles left a lasting impression from his appearance last year as an NFL draft analyst, and the NFL Network wants him back. Coach Miles is known for his sense of humor, of course off of the gridiron, and he should provide great entertainment value to the network.

One of Coach Miles former Bengals, Barkevious Mingo, is projected to go early on in the first round. LSU has a total of 11 NFL prospects this year so Coach Miles should have plenty of things to say.

Together again…

Reid-lacyPhoto Courtesy of ESPNgo.com

Being a Northern Louisiana native, I get a lot of criticism from Cajuns here in Baton Rouge. Over and over again I have been called a “Yankee” or a “Texan”. I will never embrace either of the nicknames but I will do my best to learn more about this red stick land and the football culture that I am surrounded by.

So when I heard about Dutchtown High School having two former players entering the 2013 NFL Draft I had to do some investigating.

First, I googled Dutchtown high to find that it is located in Geismar, which is right outside of South Baton Rouge.

Second, Dutchtown high has close to 2,000 students from eighth grade to twelfth grade.

Third, Dutchtown high has never won a football state championship.

So how does a high school such as Dutchtown, which is not a powerhouse football program, produce two outstanding football stars?

Well when you have players such as Eddie Lacy and Eric Reid in your program, it seems simple.

Eddie Lacy, a former Alabama running back, and Eric Reid, a former LSU safety, are the first two players to be drafted from the Geismer School. And both players decided to forgo their senior season and be available for the 2013 NFL Draft.

More to come on their upcoming journeys to the NFL… stay tuned.

Happy Birthday, Big Willie!

William RoafForty-three years ago today, William Layton Roaf was born in the southeastern Arkansas city of Pine Bluff.  The first offensive lineman taken in the 1993 NFL Draft at eighth overall by the New Orleans Saints out of Louisiana Tech, he would go on to earn 11 Pro Bowl selections during his illustrious 13 year professional career. In 2012, he was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Willie is also a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (2007), the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame (2008), the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (2009) as well as having been named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for both the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Despite all of his football accolades, one can make the argument that Willie is not even the most successful member of his immediate family.  After all, he’s the son of Cliff Roaf, a dentist, and Andree Layton Roaf, who holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court.  Furthermore, one of his sisters is a graduate of Georgetown University, while another is an Ivy League educated Episcopal minister who studied both at Harvard and Princeton.

The Saints drafted Willie with a pick acquired via trade from the Detroit Lions in exchange for fan favorite and Dome Patrol member Pat Swilling.  During his nine seasons in New Orleans, Willie was only afforded the opportunity to start in two playoff games.  However, one of those was the franchise’s first-ever playoff victory- a 31-28 NFL Wild Card win in 2000 over the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.

Willie finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, earning All-Pro honors in three of the four years he spent there (2002-2005).  He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest athletes ever to play at Louisiana Tech and one of the most decorated Saints of all-time.  Happy 43rd, Big Willie!

 

Jordan Jefferson Returns to Louisiana

Photo by: Sportsnola.com

Former LSU starting quarterback will be back under center in New Orleans. The only difference is this time it will be for the Pittsburgh Power (0-3) of the Arena Football League.

Jefferson started all three games for the Power so far this year. He will take the field against the New Orleans Voodoo (1-2) this Friday night at 7:30pm at the New Orleans Arena. The last time Jefferson played in New Orleans was the 21-0 loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship game.

Through three games this season, Jefferson completed 49 of his 92 passes (53.3%) for 506 yards and 8 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. He is the league’s second leading rusher with 96 yards on 15 attempts with 1 touchdown. Jefferson is responsible for 4 fumbles, 2 of which were recovered by the opposing team.

Jefferson started 32 games at quarterback for LSU. He went 24-8 as a starter including 2-2 in bowl games.

He left a sour taste in the mouths of many LSU fans after a less then stellar performance at the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Jefferson was always subject to criticism from tiger fans, as he was booed off the field on many occasions.

It will be interesting to see if the Voodoo fans have a reaction when he takes the field on Friday night.

The game will be the last event in the New Orleans arena before it undergoes renovation for the New Orleans Pelicans. The Voodoo will play the rest of their season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

There is no “D” in Ruston

Courtesy: Louisiana Tech University

Courtesy: Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech concluded its spring season this past Saturday with the annual T-Day Spring Game, in which La Tech (first-team offense, second-team defense) defeated the Bulldog squad (second-team offense, first-team defense) 38-27. A total of 65 points were scored by the two intrasquad teams as they amassed an impressive 791 yards of total offense.
That’s a good sign for success in the fall, right? Unfortunately, Tech fans have grown accustom to watching promise morph into dejection as potent offenses seem to always be yoked with the albatross of an inconsistent and lackluster defense year after year.
“We’ve never had a problem putting points on the board as long as I can remember,” says 1999 Tech graduate and former cheerleader David Mooney. “What’s frustrating is that we let so many winnable games slip through our fingers by failing to get that one crucial defensive stop we desperately need.”
Last season Tech outscored every other FBS school averaging a whopping 51.5 points per game. Although senior quarterback Colby Cameron is gone, the Bulldogs do return sophomore running back Kenneth Dixon, who led the nation in scoring with a 16.8 average in 13 games last season. To the lament of players, alumni and fans alike, neither he nor any of his teammates got to compete in a postseason 14th game.
Tech enters its 2013 campaign with a new head coach (Skip Holtz), a fresh start in its inaugural season as a member of Conference-USA, and a chip on its shoulder for having missed out on a bowl game last season. And despite fielding yet another seemingly strong offense, those who follow the program will tell you that any future success hinges on the ability of the Bulldog defense to hunker down and hold that line.

Students Allowed to Attend Spring Practice for Second Year.

Photo by: LSUSports.net

For the second year in a row, the final practice before the National L Club spring football game will be open for LSU students.

According to LSUSports.net, students will watch the team run drills from 4 to 6pm at the football practice facility on Skip Bertman drive. After the practice,  the players and coaches will sign autographs and take pictures. Students must have a valid student ID in order to attend.

Last year, the 400 students that attended experienced what it was like being on the football team. As the team set up for their meet and greet session, coach miles called all of the spectators into a huddle. He then let a few lucky students take part in drills such as a passing contest, catching punts, and an obstacle course.

Click here for pictures from the 2012 student appreciation day.

This is one of the few chances for students to see how the football program works outside of Tiger Stadium.

Saints running back takes visit to New York

New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory could be looking at a 2013 season with the New York Jets. Ivory, who remains the only unsigned restricted free agent on the Saints team, visited the Jets facility on Friday.

The 6-foot-2, 220 pound running back saw an outstanding 2010 season, leading the Saints in rushing with 716 yards. Overall, Ivory has rushed for 1,307 yards and only has 256 career carries but has been limited due to multiple injuries.

Now fourth behind Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles on the depth chart, Ivory is not a definite pick for the New York squad. The Jets don’t intend to give up their second-round pick for Ivory but would be willing to give up a late-round pick, according to a report from ESPN. The Saints could decide to keep Ivory and trade Thomas instead.

If the Jets do acquire the physically gifted 25-year-old, he would be an excellent compliment to running back Bilal Powell and Mike Goodson who make up the team’s current backfield. Last month the Jets lost power back Shonn Greene to the Tennessee Titans, and Ivory could be just the player to fill the void.