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LSU's Revamped Cornerback Room Has Chance to be Immediately Successful

Tigers still need to build for future but have done nice job rebuilding cornerback position that lost top four options

One by one, over a several week span, LSU had to watch as its most talented room was emptied. Whether it was to the draft or through the transfer portal, the Tigers lost its top four cornerbacks from a season ago and sent the group into a complete rebuild mode.

Fast forward just a few weeks later and all of the sudden, LSU has a veteran group of potential starters who can bridge the gap between the next group of talented defensive backs to enter the program. The Tigers have added four new defensive backs to the secondary, including safety Joe Foucha and cornerbacks Mekhi Garner, Greg Brooks and most recently Jarrick Bernard-Converse.

Foucha brings a lot of playmaking ability to a safety group that is very deep as spring ball approaches but the real component of this secondary that's seen exponential growth is the cornerback room.

Starting with the most recent addition of Bernard-Converse, perhaps there's no greater addition from a need perspective than adding the 6-foot-1 senior out of Oklahoma State. He's a guy you can immediately plug in as an outside corner and be comfortable with putting him on an opposing team's best receiver. 

Keep in mind he's coming from the Big 12, where passing offenses run rampant across the conference, and Bernard-Converse has been stellar for the last few seasons as a true No. 1 cornerback. The SEC is a different beast but the level of production and experience he's had will translate to what will be his only season in Baton Rouge. 

As for Garner, the former ULL cornerback is very much built in a similar mold as a tall, physical outside corner who can step onto an SEC field and stand out as an outside cornerback. A starter for the Rajun Cajuns each of the last two seasons, Garner totaled 58 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 15 passes defended and three interceptions.

One note that Pro Football Focus has on Garner is his ability to stay in control when in coverage, something that's not easy for a 6-foot-2 cornerback. He also hasn't allowed a catch in 10 of his games in the last two seasons but did say how he stacks up athletically with SEC receivers will be interesting to follow.

As for Brooks, he's a bit on the smaller side for a corner and served as a nickel while at Arkansas so making the transition to LSU shouldn't be too different. Typically having a speedier corner in the middle of the field is perfect to cover other slot receivers and tight ends, which is primarily the role Brooks excelled in with the Razorbacks.

"A ballhawk who has earned a reputation as one of the most versatile defensive backs in the SEC. We're excited to have [Greg Brooks] back in The Boot," Kelly said in a social media post.

What the addition of these three veterans does is give LSU experience and instant impact potential to a secondary decimated with departures. The question then becomes what the depth looks like behind them with young players like Raydarious Jones, Demarius McGhee and Laterrance Welch having very little or no playing time. 

For a team coming off the injury problems the 2021 season presented, the depth is the biggest fear for this group heading into 2022 which is why adding another corner with the seven remaining spots feels like an area to address. But there's no doubt that this cornerback room is in a stable spot for the immediate future and must now work on building long term depth.