On Monday, the NFL will reportedly go through a mock NFL draft of its own to practice the virtual experience that all 32 teams are sure to feel come Thursday night. It's a weekend that sports fans have looked forward to for the better part of a month as it's the first sporting event that will be televised in quite some time.
Less than a week from the draft, LSU is considered to be one of the few schools with double digit draft selections next week. On Friday, Sports Illustrated national writer Kevin Hanson released his seven round mock draft with 13 former Tigers hearing their names called.
Here's a breakdown of each pick and the fit of each player with the team he's mocked to go to.
Joe Burrow (No. 1 overall, Cincinnati Bengals)
The Bengals have maxed out their allotted three hour conference call time with Burrow every week. It would be one of the bigger draft night shocks if Cincinnati didn't take the Heisman winning hometown kid from Athens, Ohio.
Given the unusual circumstances, this year’s draft may be less predictable than usual, but the Burrow-to-Cincinnati selection is as close as it gets to a sure thing. The 23-year-old Heisman-winning quarterback throws with pinpoint accuracy, maneuvers well within the pocket and uses his mobility to extend or make plays. Despite facing seven top-10 opponents en route to an unbeaten season, Burrow was remarkably consistent from start to finish yet he played his best during the biggest moments.
Burrow said in an interview on "Off the Bench" Tuesday that he understands that any situation he's drafted to will take a lot of work to make that organization a consistent winner. That's a challenge he will embrace.
"Whatever team I go to is going to be a challenge at the beginning and I'm going to have to persevere through it. Without OTA's this year, you're going to have less time with your team so there's going to be ups and downs but you've gotta battle through it."
K'Lavon Chaisson (No. 16 overall, Atlanta Falcons)
Chaisson fits the Falcons need to a tee as Atlanta is searching for an elite pass rusher it's desperately missed since its Super Bowl run three years ago. While at LSU, Chaisson recorded 92 tackles, 19 tackles for loses and 9.5 sacks.
Even though the Falcons have signed Dante Fowler, the team finished with the second fewest sacks (28) in 2019 and last year’s team leader (Vic Beasley, eight) is now in Tennessee. While Chaisson missed nearly all of 2018 with a torn ACL, the 20-year-old has elite burst off the edge and came on late—4.5 sacks in final four games—to lead LSU in sacks, tackles for loss and QB hurries in 2019.
He still has yet to turn 21 and his burst off the edge coupled with his superior moves at the line of scrimmage makes him a pro bowl caliber talent.
Kristian Fulton (No. 19 overall, Oakland Raiders)
Fulton is a recent riser to go in the first round and the Raiders are one of the teams that have expressed interest in the two year starting cornerback for the Tigers. Ohio State's Jeff Okudah is the runaway top cornerback selection but Fulton isn't far behind.
With the team’s two first-round picks, the Raiders have addressed their two biggest post-free agency needs (wide receiver and cornerback). Fulton is a patient and physical corner with decent size. While he may not have elite long speed, he checked the box with a 4.46 in the 40 at the combine and he's quick, fluid and sticky in coverage.
At 6-foot-0, 197 pounds he has the size and sublime technique to be a longtime starter at the NFL level.
Justin Jefferson (No. 21 overall, Philadelphia Eagles)
Jefferson is the prototypical modern NFL receiver. He's long, has deceptive speed and is as precise a route runner in this draft class, which is saying something. Many draft analysts have pegged this the deepest, most talented receiver class in many years.
Philadelphia’s top three receivers (entering 2019)—Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor—missed 24 games combined games last year. Agholor is now a Raider, Jeffery’s future in Philly is uncertain and second-rounder J.J. Arcega-Whiteside underwhelmed as a rookie. Jefferson has outstanding ball skills, ran a faster-than-expected 40-yard dash (4.43) and is coming off a prolific season (111/1,540/18) for the national champions.
The Eagles have long been the projected favorite to land the stud receiver out of LSU, but should he fall to No. 24, the Saints would make a lot of sense as well.
Patrick Queen (No. 24 overall, New Orleans Saints)
New Orleans has never drafted an LSU player in the first round and if that is ever to change, it would be this year. As many as six LSU players could be first round selections and Queen fills a need at linebacker that would be a great fit for New Orleans.
A.J. Klein signed a three-deal with the Bills in free agency and four of the team’s top remaining linebackers—Demario Davis, Kiko Alonso, Alex Anzalone and Craig Robertson—are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next offseason. One of the youngest prospects in the draft (he turns 21 in August), Queen played his best football down the stretch of LSU’s title run. While he’s a bit undersized, Queen is a three-down linebacker with outstanding speed that excels in coverage.
In addition to his excellent coverage skills, Queen is a sideline to sideline, athletic, tackling machine. He makes plays in the backfield and has great instincts that would fit seamlessly next to Demario Davis.
Grant Delpit (No. 34 overall, Seattle Seahawks)
Delpit was once viewed as a first round lock but after some inconsistent tackling and an ankle injury, his draft stock has taken a hit. With no pro day this year, Delpit recently sent workout videos to interested teams including a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds.
His athleticism is an area of strength but so is his knack for making timely plays. Seattle is an intriguing landing spot for Delpit as he would step in and learn from one of the great defensive minds in the game in Pete Carroll.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (No. 49 overall, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Edwards-Helaire is a universal fit, meaning there isn’t an offense in the NFL that couldn’t use his blend of power and quickness at the running back position. He rushed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019 while adding an additional 453 yards receiving.
His ability to run between the tackles, block in the pass game and also make plays through the air makes him a swiss army knife talent that the Steelers would covet next to James Conner.
Lloyd Cushenberry (No. 52 overall, Los Angeles Rams)
As a two-year starter for the Tigers, Cushenberry was the leader behind an offensive line that quarterback Joe Burrow called multiple times in 2019 "the most improved bunch of guys I've ever been around."
Cushenberry earned the prestigious No. 18 jersey for the 2019 season for his exemplary leadership skills. On the field, while not the quickest, he’s extremely difficult to move and should be reliable starter on the inside, whether it be at guard or center.
Damien Lewis (No. 70 overall, Miami Dolphins)
A two year starter with the Tigers at guard, Lewis will provide depth to any team that drafts him in his rookie season. He excels in the run block game in particular and helped lead the o-line to a Joe Moore Award in 2019.
Miami will likely draft a quarterback with one of its three first round picks and will need to protect him. While Lewis isn’t the quickest, he is a starting caliber player even if it doesn’t come in his first season.
Saahdiq Charles (No. 116 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars)
CBSSports.com draft insider Pete Prisco thinks Charles is one of 20 draft prospects that scouts might be undervaluing. The question mark that comes with Charles doesn’t come on the field but off.
He was suspended for six games in 2019 for violating team rules and he’ll be someone that if he can put those concerns to rest, will outperform his draft selection.
“When watching the LSU offense, this is a player who kept popping off the tape to me. He is a smaller left tackle, but he has gained some weight and is said to be up to 310 pounds. He is athletic and tough and plays to the whistle.”
Thaddeus Moss (No. 143 overall, Atlanta Falcons)
Moss caught 47 passes for 570 yards—both school records—and four scores, two of which came in the national title game victory over Clemson. He had a knack for stepping up in big games as he also caught a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl and made some timely catches against Alabama.
While not the greatest athlete, he’ll be able to come in and contribute because of his superb hands and willingness to block in run situations. If selected by Atlanta, Moss would reunite with teammate K’Lavon Chaisson in the NFC South.
Rashard Lawrence (No. 154 overall, Miami Dolphins)
Lawrence is one of those guys you just want in your locker room. He never takes a play off, is quick off the ball and possesses excellent hand placement skills at the line of scrimmage.
He likely is a rotational defensive lineman for most teams in the NFL and will excel in that role because that's just what he does. In Miami, he’d reunite with teammate Damien Lewis in this mock draft.
Jacob Phillips (No. 180 overall, Cincinnati Bengals)
Phillips has mostly been a day three mocked prospect but that feels a little low. Over the last two seasons, he’s been a tackling machine, racking up 200 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
While he isn’t known for his playmaking ability, he’s a strong, physical linebacker that should make an impact at the next level. Giving Joe Burrow a familiar face or two wouldn’t hurt in Cincinnati’s transition to building a consistent winner either.