LSU needs elite offensive linemen to be title contenders again

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Davon Godchaux, Cam Robinson

Davon Godchaux (left) is a projected mid-round draft pick while Cam Robinson (right) could be a first-rounder (File Photo: Terrill Weil).

There is some truth to it.

The question is, why is LSU sending so many outstanding players to the NFL again? Didn’t the Tigers win just seven regular season games in 2016?

The partial answer is because former coach Les Miles refused to update the antiquated LSU offense.

But, then interim head coach Ed Orgeron supplied the real answer the week after a 10-0 loss to Alabama.

A reporter asked, do you need to improve your recruiting on the offensive line?

“Yes,” said Orgeron. “We need to have first round picks blocking their first round picks.”

LSU has not had a first round pick on the offensive line since guard Alan Faneca went to Pittsburgh with the 26th pick in the first round in 1998.

Faneca was a Super Bowl champion, a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro. He will likely have a bust in Canton one day soon.

So, 20 NFL drafts have passed since LSU had a first rounder on the offensive line.

Contrast that with Alabama.

Since 2008, Nick Saban’s second season on campus, Alabama has produced five first round picks on the offensive line.

In 2008, it was offensive tackle Andre Smith to Cincinnati. Offensive tackle James Carpenter was selected in the 2011 first round by Miami. In 2013, guard Chance Warmack went to Tennessee and tackle DJ Fluker to San Diego as the 10th and 11th overall picks in the draft.

One year ago, center Ryan Kelly was the 18th pick in the draft by Indianapolis.

This month, offensive tackle Cam Robinson, who prepped at West Monroe, will likely be another first round pick.

This spring, LSU players are expressing their excitement about the offense being installed by new coordinator Matt Canada. It will be interesting to see if Canada’s numerous motions and shifts can cause confusion for opposing defenses.

But, without outstanding players up front, causing havoc can only go so far. The Tigers must close the gap with Alabama up front. That is a process, and it takes time.

In the 2017 draft, three Tigers -safety Jamal Adams, running back Leonard Fournette and defensive back Tre’Davious White – could be first round picks.

All three will likely all be successful pros.

That would be no surprise. LSU has had a run of great players recently in the NFL.

Wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry as well as defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are all among the best at their positions in the league.

Playmakers at skill positions certainly matter, and the 40 yard dash times make headlines in April, as draft speculation reaches epidemic levels, but Orgeron knows what wins games in November.

When LSU has another first round pick or two on the offensive line, my guess is the win total of the Bayou Bengals will be sufficiently impacted.

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Ed Daniels

Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/WGSO 990am

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter at Channel 6. 1983 saw him promoted to Weekend Sports Anchor. He eventually joined WGNO TV as a freelancer in 1991, becoming a full time in employee in January of 1993. The sports director at WGNO TV since 1992, Ed…

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