Draft season is quickly approaching, and it should be an eventful first night for several LSU stars.
Three Tigers players — Jayden Daniels, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. — are all widely projected to go in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. Daniels and Nabers are seen as top 10 picks, with the former going as high as No. 2 depending on the mock draft.
ESPN’s Jordan Reid recently updated his big board of the top 50 prospects in the draft, and it featured some slight changes for former LSU players.
Daniels leads the way, sitting at No. 5 overall and the third-best quarterback per Reid.
Every year, there’s a quarterback who makes a surprise ascension after a breakout season. That’s Daniels this time around. He finished first in the FBS in Total QBR (95.6) and passing yards per attempt (11.7). An exceptional vertical passer, Daniels has a great feel for layering the ball, completing 67% of passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. Daniels is also an instinctive runner who can turn quick scrambles into explosive plays. The next step for him is learning to drive the ball in the intermediate areas and showcasing more consistent ball placement over the middle.
Nabers isn’t far behind, sitting at No. 6 and the second-best receiver behind top overall prospect Marvin Harrison Jr.
Explosive is the best word to describe Nabers’ game. The LSU offense involved him on quick screens, jet sweeps and reverses, as he’s a dynamic and competitive playmaker who can turn short passes into long gains. Nabers led the country in receiving yards per game at 120.7 and forced 27 missed tackles on receptions (sixth), proving that he’s a well-rounded route runner who can put stress on defenses at any moment because of his ability to create extra opportunities. He has some shades of Bears receiver DJ Moore to his game.
There’s a bit of a drop-off between Nabers and Thomas, but Reid still views Thomas as a potential first-rounder and ranked him at No. 29.
A traditional X receiver, Thomas is a big target who just hit career-highs in catches (68) and receiving yards (1,177) while leading the FBS in touchdown receptions (17). With threatening vertical speed, he uses his long strides to accelerate past defenders. And thanks to excellent hands and good ball-tracking skills, he’s also great in contested situations. Thomas is an ascending talent who has a lot of upside as a complementary No. 2 option in the NFL.
Only time will tell how things play out, but the Tigers have the chance to have three offensive players selected in the first round of the draft for the first time since 2020.
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