The LSU Tigers lost a number of talented players to the NFL in April yet several highly rated next level prospects are set to take the field in Baton Rouge next month. They’ve got some firepower on defense but the pickins’ are slim from the scoring side of the ball.
Senior Terrance Toliver is a nice sized possession wide out for the next level. A tall target, Tolliver gets vertical over defenders to grab the ball, easily adjusts to the errant throw and effectively makes the over the shoulder reception downfield. Toliver uses his frame to shield away opponents and shows strength running after the catch. He does not consistently snatch the pass cleanly and does a lot of double catching or unnecessarily lets the pass get inside him. Toliver also shows marginal quickness in his game and really lacks the deep speed. He’s a potential number three at the next level.
Tackle Joseph Barksdale was a prospect we liked off the ’08 film yet a player that took a step backwards in our eye last season. He’s a well built lineman that gets movement run blocking, bends his knees and keeps his feet moving throughout the action. Stout at the point, he jolts opponents with terrific hand punch. Barksdale lacks footwork sliding out to protect the edge and is on the ground way too much. He also seems to fall asleep and does not show great awareness. He has an upside but it must quickly be met if Barksdale hopes to be anything other than a late round pick.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is well thought of by many, and for good reasons. Very athletic, he’s quick flipping his hips transitioning to run with opponents, is physical and bumps with receivers throughout the route. Peterson has a nice break to the throw and good hands for the interception. Aggressive, he defeats blocks to get up the field and make plays against screen passes or the run. That said, the junior lacks great instincts and seems to get lost on the field at times. He does too much trailing in coverage and was beaten by top competition last year. Peterson is a big time prospect but in order for him to be a big time player in the NFL he must start doing the little things well. Sources have told us the plan now is for Peterson to enter the draft after the 2010 season.
Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard is a senior prospect we like. He displays terrific sideline to sideline range, scrapes well laterally and is fluid moving in reverse. Sheppard breaks down well, holds his ground against blocks and shows a good head for the ball. He’s really not forceful up the field on the blitz and does get caught up in the wash at times but has starting potential in the NFL.
Lazarius Levingston is an underrated lineman who’ll be downgraded because of marginal size (6’ 3.5”/280lbs). Despite that Levingston is very impressive on film. Athletic, he can drop off the line then play in space on zone blitzes. Fluid, he displays solid speed in every direction and works his hands to get off blocks. Levingston is easily controlled at the point by single blocker but can play in a variety of one-gap systems.
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