LSU advertises itself as “NFLSU” for a reason, and that’s why ESPN ranked the Tigers’ program at No. 1 for producing the most star-studded, 22-man starting lineup in the NFL right now.
A panel of ESPN analysts covering the college and professional level got together to vote. The goal? To “choose a roster that is best suited to win the Super Bowl in the 2020 season,” according to staff writer Mike Triplett.
LSU ran away with the distinction, earning six first-place votes out of nine panelists. The deciding factor, in large part, was Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
“This exercise would have been much more difficult just 14 months ago, when the quarterback position was the only missing piece for LSU, Alabama and Ohio State,” Triplett said. “But now that Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Dwayne Haskins have entered the NFL, it's no contest.”
LSU is also known by many as “DBU” for their ability to recruit, develop and produce defensive backs into the NFL. It should come as no surprise that defensive back is listed as their position of strength.
“No big deal -- just three guys who were named first-team All-Pro in 2019 (Adams, Mathieu and White),” Triplett added. “Plus Peterson, who has been named first-team All-Pro three times.”
While every position appears locked and loaded, ESPN chose tight end and interior offensive line as the two missing pieces. However, Raiders rookie TE Foster Moreau posted a solid campaign in Oakland, recording 21 receptions for 174 yards and five touchdowns.
“OK, so no team is perfect,” Triplett said. “But maybe these positions will become loaded as well if rookie center Cushenberry, rookie guard Damien Lewis and rookie TEs Thaddeus Moss and Stephen Sullivan break out.”
After looking through what LSU’s roster would look like top to bottom, I came to one conclusion: it’s an embarrassment of riches. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at receiver, and guys like Andrew Whitworth, Trai Turner and La’El Collins up front, Joe Burrow could have a field day. Plus, Clyde Edwards-Helaire might be the most dangerous flex in the league.
In fact, former LSU wideout Jarvis Landry [2011-13] provided his thoughts to ESPN on why so many Tigers make it big at the next level.
"It translates [to the NFL],” he said. “Mostly every guy you have seen come from LSU has had the opportunity to play right away or within their first two years and make an impact. We just added more swagger and more guys who are ready to play and know how to play the game at a high level [by tying the record with 14 players selected in a seven-round draft]."
The margin was slim, but Alabama checked in behind LSU at No. 2, while Ohio State found themselves behind the Tide at No. 3.
See below for LSU’s full 22-man starting lineup:
QB Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
RB Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars)
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
WR Jarvis Landry (Browns)
TE Foster Moreau (Las Vegas Raiders)
Flex Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)
OT Andrew Whitworth (Los Angeles Rams)
G Trai Turner (Los Angeles Chargers)
C Lloyd Cushenberry (Denver Broncos)
G Ethan Pocic (Seattle Seahawks)
OT La'el Collins (Dallas Cowboys)
Edge Danielle Hunter (Minnesota Vikings)
DT Michael Brockers (Rams)
DT Davon Godchaux (Miami Dolphins)
Edge K'Lavon Chaisson (Jaguars)
LB Deion Jones (Atlanta Falcons)
LB Devin White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Flex Kwon Alexander (49ers)
CB Tre'Davious White (Buffalo Bills)
CB Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)
S Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)
S Jamal Adams (New York Jets)