Self proclaiming himself as "SackGuru" on his Twitter handle, former LSU outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson isn't one to shy away from the pressures that come with being an every down pass rusher. His three-year career with the Tigers featured its share of trials and tribulations that tested the 20-year-old to his very core.
Chaisson missed all but three quarters of what was supposed to be his breakout sophomore season in 2018 due to a torn ACL. In 2019, the script flipped as Chaisson recorded 60 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and forced one fumble for the eventual national championship team.
While those numbers don't scream first-round lock, Chaisson believes his talents on the field were shown on a weekly basis in three separate phases, leaving little doubt in his mind who the best player in the draft is.
"I'm actually the most valuable player in this draft," Chaisson said at NFL combine media day. "When you hire somebody, do you want to hire someone who speaks one language? Or do you want to hire somebody that speaks three languages? I speak three languages. I can pass rush, drop in coverage and cover anybody you want me to cover, and I can play the run. No offensive lineman will ever just move me off the ball and bully me."
At 6-foot-3, 254 pounds, Chaisson's unique blend of speed, agility and length make him the perfect prospect, and the scary part is, there's still more untapped potential for him to achieve. The one question that talent evaluators will come back asking is whether or not he has the requisite size to be an every down pass rusher.
Don't let his extreme speed and agility fool you, Chaisson has some punch and packs a ton of power into his chiseled frame. Against Oklahoma here, you can see him shed the block and essentially just throw the tight end aside for the sack on Jalen Hurts.
But perhaps the greatest quality Chaisson possesses that all elite pass rushers need is a wide variety of moves. Whether it be a spin move, a bull rush, a rip or a swim, Chaisson possesses the requisite tools to attack offensive linemen in a variety of manners.
Take these series of plays against Texas at the start of the year for example. Chaisson displays his variety of moves in this montage including a bull rush as well as multiple rips to knock Longhorn offensive linemen off their balance. In the 45-38 win over Texas, Chaisson applied five pressures and a sack on Sam Ehlinger.
Of course the most polished tool Chaisson possesses is his ability to attack off the edge because of his blazing speed. While he can't convert on the sack here against Clemson, Chaisson is able to force Trevor Lawrence out of the pocket and into a much more difficult throw.
Now Chaisson needs to prove he can consistently apply pressure at the NFL level but there's no denying his talent and there's definitely no denying his herculean potential. Whichever NFL team decides to roll the dice on Chaisson will be getting an intelligent, confident worker that could turn into a perennial Pro-Bowler.
Most Intriguing Destination: Atlanta Falcons (No. 16 overall)
The Falcons recently announced that they would not be retaining Vic Beasley, which leaves an open spot for an elite pass rusher. The Falcons ran with a 5-2 defense towards the end of 2019, a defense predicated on having five down linemen with two inside linebackers.
As a result of the switch, the Falcons won six of their final eight games and the addition of another pass rusher the likes of Chaisson could help in their continued success moving forward. Being selected by the Falcons would also add more LSU flavor to a Falcon linebacker corps that already has former Tiger Deion Jones on the inside.
“I feel like, obviously, Atlanta would be great for me,” Chaisson told media at the combine. “It would do me well.”
"Outside of Chase Young, if I had to bet on the traits of one pass-rusher in this class, it would be K'Lavon Chaisson," Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tweeted back in February. "Production wasn't always there but he can really bend and has burst around the edge.
Writer’s Note: With the NFL Draft just under six weeks from now, concerns surrounding COVID-19 will likely force the league to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks. For Chaisson and the other LSU draft prospects, the early rounds in Las Vegas were primed to be dominated by Tigers. Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops.