Welcome to our newest series over here at Full 10 Yards College Football – This is Supply Lines.
The college football landscape is dominated by certain schools and one of the biggest reasons for that is recruitment from high schools. Success then multiplies this – as a team becomes more successful, more high school players want to attend that college or university and therefore is further entrenched as a powerhouse school.
The NFL loves these schools as it’s like buying a product from a named brand, a market leader, which is obviously more trustworthy that a lesser brand, or indeed, a lesser football programme.
Ozzy Newsome, the ex-General Manager of the Ravens was notorious for picking Alabama players, for example.
This phenomenon has also become more specialized – it’s become a positional now. How Many times have we heard arguments or seen polls on social media asking which school is DBU or Wide receiver U, or similar?
Some schools have simply become the place to be if you’re a highly touted high school player who plays a certain position. It’s obviously with good reason; these schools obviously coach these certain positions well, maximising the top talent and giving them the best preparation for the next step – The NFL. The NFL then drafts players of those positions and it all perpetuates itself further and supply lines are created.
In this new series, I’m going to be looking at those schools and the players who are next off the conveyor belt and how they compare to their predecessors.
First up, Louisiana State University cornerbacks.
LSU really have spoilt us in terms of how many corners they’ve supplied to the NFL in recent times and what’s more, they quality of corner that they’ve supplied at that! LSU really have a strong claim on the title DBU… I’m staying out of it and leaving people to argue amongst themselves about the giving of titles, however I will talk about their corners.
I know, I know… LSU could claim to be linebacker U, or even some other positions too… I’m even taking their safeties out of the equation here, so don’t get getting in my mentions with Jamal Adams and Tyrann Mathieu. LSU is a true factory of talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
If we go back to the legendary draft that occurred in 2011, we have the Arizona Cardinals selecting 5th overall and taking Patrick Peterson, cornerback out of LSU which I feel like is the modern landmark from which LSU’s claim on the DBU title stems.
Pat Pete has been one of the premier corners in the NFL ever since he entered the league but it’s LSU where his legend began.
Starting 13 games as a true freshman, as a 5-star recruit and he just got better and better throughout his time in Baton Rouge, I mean, you don’t get to wear the #7 jersey for LSU unless you’re someone pretty special. The current incumbent, safety Grant Delpit is probably going to be a top 10 pick in the 2020 draft and will be another worthy owner one of the most highly thought of jerseys in the whole of college football.
Anyway, back to corners…
After Peterson, it didn’t take the NFL very long at all to get back to LSU corners. In 2012, the Dallas Cowboys moved up in the draft and then used the 6th overall pick to add, Morris Claiborne to their ranks. I know NFL fans will point to the injuries when talking about Morris Claiborne but he was a superb player for LSU; a Jim Thorpe award winner, as the best defensive back in the country and also a unanimous All-American. Oh, and he disproved the theory that he was only good because he played opposite Patrick Peterson by winning the SEC defensive player of the year in 2011.
Injuries and inconsistencies hampered Claiborne and he’s unfortunately never reached the heights of his college days in the pros.
After Claiborne, LSU sent Tharold Simon and Jalen Collins to the league in 2013 and 2015 respectively, then a pair of corners in 2016, Rashard Robinson and Jalen Mills… I mean, every school doesn’t knock it out of the park every year but that’s still two Superbowl champions in Simon and Mills and every team needs depth, right?
This minor drought didn’t last long either… Tre’Davious White was taken with the 27th overall pick in 2017 by the Bills and is still the most criminally underrated corner in the league. He just does not get talked about amongst the top guys, maybe because he barely gets thrown at anymore… In his rookie year, White registered, 4 picks and 18 pass deflections, in 2018 that dropped to 2 INT’s and 8 PBU’s whilst being targeted on a mere 12.9% of Bills pass plays. I guess that’s the NFL’s way of telling someone that they’re worried about throwing their way… and he’s only going to get better on a Bills defense which doesn’t get enough love.
Next off the production line was Donte Jackson, who recently narrowly missed out being crowned the unofficial fastest player in the NFL by finishing 2nd in the 40 Yards of Gold race by the tiny margin of 0.05 seconds from Marquise Goodwin… Not bad when you consider that Goowin is an actual Olympic sprinter.
Jackson had some ups and downs as a rookie last year but is slated for a bigger role in the Panthers D in 2019. Jackson will be looking to build on his four interceptions as well as his snap count next season.
That brings us up to present day and a certain Andraez Williams… you all might know him better as Greedy.
In the spring, Williams actually fell further than a lot of experts expected but you probably won’t hear the Cleveland Browns complaining. Williams is a long and lean, press-man cover who should form a dynamic pairing with Denzel Ward. I’m looking forward to seeing what Greedy produces this year, I include myself in those who had Williams going much higher than the middle of the second round but perhaps a perceived lack of effort during the last college season, led to that fall.
That may worry Browns fans who still remember Justin Gilbert. Gilbert was drafted much higher, 8th overall but had similar work ethic and concerns about his love and passion for football.
This leaves us looking to the future and to one, Kristian Fulton. It sort of reminds me of the scenario that I mentioned towards the top with Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne. Fulton was the younger of the pairing with Greedy Williams and is now left as the senior player and has to come to the fore like Claiborne did back in 2011. A date to circle early on in the college football season will be week 2, when LSU travel to Austin to play the University of Texas, which could match him up against Collin Johnson… Get comfy for that one because sparks could fly. Fulton is a mirror and match, man coverage guy, the kind that is popular with NFL front offices, especially given his athletic ability. Who knows, maybe if Fulton puts in a classy 2019 season, he will be the Patrick Peterson to Greedy Williams’ Morris Claiborne?
Keep your eyes peeled next week for the next installment of Supply Lines, next week we’ll be on the offensive side of the ball.
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