If you had conducted a poll of LSU fans last week and asked who was the player the Tigers could least afford to lose to injury at this point of the season, Cordale Flott might have won.
The second-year junior wasn't considered a base starter at the beginning of the season, but was lining up as the all-important nickel defensive back when the LSU defense uses an extra player in the secondary (which is the majority of time).
But then star cornerbacks Derek Stingley and Elias Ricks both went down with injuries, playing together in only three games this season. Safeties Jay Ward and Major Burns have also missed time, and neither is expected back soon.
LSU is also without edge rusher Andre Anthony and defensive end Ali Gaye, and wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (ankle), who are all out for the season.
"It does make it tough but next man up," head coach Ed Orgeron said per LSU Country. "Somebody's gotta rise up to the occasion, we've lost several players especially starters on defense. We've got some young guys who will have to step up."
Flott went from nickel, where freshman Sage Ryan has stepped in, to regular starter at outside cornerback opposite sophomore Dwight McGlothern.
“Cordale is a starter for us,” Orgeron said. “He's a tremendous player. You look at the slot position in the SEC, especially in the SEC West, you have to cover some of the best receivers in the country, guys that are potential first round draft choice, potential Heisman Trophy winners so that is a huge position for us."
However, Flott isn't practicing this week after suffering an injury against Ole Miss. Orgeron hasn't disclosed any details other than "Hopefully, he's available next week."
Lorenz Leinweber and Jeremiah Bogan profiled Flott for NFL Draft Bible and both of their evaluations are included:
Jersey: No. 25
Draft eligible: 2022
Hometown: Saraland, Alabama
High School: Saraland
Saw a lot of playing time in every game as a true freshman in 2019 despite being one of the lowest rated recruits brought in from LSU’s 2019 recruiting class. A low 3-star recruit from the state of Alabama, chose to leave home and go play for LSU even though he had an Alabama offer. Played both sides of the ball in high school as a wide receiver and a defensive back where he led his team to a 6A state title game appearance where his team fell short. Comes from an athletic family that currently has three other FBS level football players besides him. His brother Wydale Flott is a defensive back at Southern Miss, cousin Bobby Flott plays cornerback at South Alabama and his cousin Velus Jones plays wide receiver at Tennessee.
Leinweber: Versatile defensive back who has lined up in the nickel, on the outside and even as a deep safety. Flott is a light-footed mover with easy change of direction in space and man coverage. He possesses a quick first step to drive downhill. His aggressive play style and length allow him to get his hands inside on smaller wideouts and stall them at the line. Flott is not afraid to establish contact with receivers. He comes downhill aggressively, sidestepping blockers in the run game and on screens.
Bogan: Slender built frame with long limbs, Flott understands how to use his length to his advantage. Likes to play physical in coverage by getting his hands on receivers before they can get into their route. Provided LSU with versatility in 2020 by starting at the nickel position, allowing them to use it as a base package. Shows a solid knack for being an underneath zone dropper at the nickel. Better when playing routes on a lateral plane where he can show good short area quickness. Competitive toughness is off the charts, wants to play physical in all aspects of his game despite his lack of bulk. Reads blocks well in run support as a nickel, showing excellent football intelligence of knowing when to insert himself in the run game. Willing and efficient tackler that is willing to throw his body into tackles with no fear.
Leinweber: Severely lacking size, Flott is limited going up against bigger receivers as they are able to push off and outmuscle him. He fails to take on blocks and struggles to tackle reliably. Flott loses his footing when whiffing with his punch in press. His aggressive nature causes him to get flagged. He tends to arrive early to the catch point, getting penalized. Football intelligence is questionable as offenses pick him successfully. Flott does not communicate, blowing coverages on switch releases.
Bogan: Lack of bulk shows up in his poor play strength when needing to defeat blocks consistently and getting pushed off with ease at the top of routes. Lacks explosiveness out of his hips to accelerate when he has turn to turn and run, causing him to be a liability on vertical routes. Can get too caught up in trying to lean on receivers in coverage to be physical causing his feet to stop or receivers to use his force against him and throw him by. Eye discipline is questionable, takes peeks at the quarterback in man coverage and will lose his receiver.
Leinweber: Extremely skinny nickel cornerback who plays aggressively. Flott is light-footed in space. His small build severely limits him in run support and when guarding physical receivers. He does not play with the mental alertness required to succeed as a full-time nickel. Flott projects as a developmental defensive back who will stick on the bottom of a roster if he can contribute on special teams and will be relegated to the practice squad if not. He possesses the athleticism to develop into a nickel starter if a team is committed to developing him long-term.
Bogan: Tough as nails competitor who makes up for his lack of build with a bulldog mentality to be aggressive in all aspects of the game. Loves to fit in the run game and make tackles around the line of scrimmage. Good short area quickness to play as an underneath defender who can drive routes from the nickel position. Majority of his snaps in 2020 were from the nickel which exposed some hip stiffness and lack of overall explosiveness. Overall, he just has a natural feel for the game when he can watch the quarterback or read the offensive lineman as keys. Needs to add more muscle and improve his play strength if he is going to hold up at the next level whether that be on the outside or at the nickel.
Current value/potential value
Flott has been one of the biggest bright spots for the Tigers, during an otherwise dreadful season thus far. Against Mississippi State in Week 4, he played maybe the best game of his career, notching six tackles and forcing two first-quarter turnovers in the victory. His forced fumble was recovered by linebacker Damone Clark and returned 35 yards, and his interception halted a drive at the LSU 25. Against Auburn, he had six tackles and broke up a pass followed by three tackles. Overall, Flott has played in 31 career games, with 17 starts, and been credited with 89 tackles and 11 passes defended. If he plays, Alabama will obviously test him. If he doesn't it may be open season on the depleted LSU secondary.
All this week and next, BamaCentral will profile numerous LSU players as the Crimson Tide prepares to host the Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 6. Also check out NFL Draft Bible for more evaluations.
If you had conducted a poll of LSU fans last week and asked who was the player the Tigers could least afford to lose to injury at this point of the season, Cordale Flott might have won. Subscribe for full article
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