Every NFL preseason, 100 or more Louisiana former prep stars dot NFL rosters. About 40 or more come from the greater Metro New Orleans area.
This year’s draft will add to that number on both the local and state levels. Let’s look at the Crescent City draft hopefuls.
WR Ja'Marr Chase (6-1, 208) - LSU
Rummel alum was the 2019 Biletnikoff winner. A certain top 5 pick after his display at LSU Pro Day (4.38 forty, 11′ standing long jump, 41 “vertical), Chase is primed to be an elite NFL receiver.
WR Devonta Smith (6-1, 175) - Alabama
The pride of Amite and Heisman winner is a first round lock. The former three-star prospect in 2017 selected Alabama over LSU, Miami, TCU and Oklahoma State. He set receiving records all-time in the SEC after catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards (new record) and 23 TD’s (new record). Only his slight frame is a concern for the next level.
LB Garret Wallow (6-2, 230) - TCU
At John Curtis, he was a 200 pounder at safety as a three-star prospect in 2017. Wallow led the Horned Frogs in tackles the past two seasons with 125 stops in ’19 and 90 tackles last season. For his TCU career, he totaled 295 tackles, 32.5 for loss and 8.5 sacks. His strengths include quick acceleration and good decision making. Wallow is a projected third or fourth round pick.
DB Brad Stewart (6-0, 200) - Florida
McDonogh #35 Roneagles alum was the Class 4A All State defensive MVP in 2016 when he had 11 interceptions in his senior season. Stewart played in 42 games for Gators, accumulating 124 tackles and three interceptions, including a pick-six vs. LSU in 2018. He’s a potential Day 3 pick.
RB Pooka Williams (5-9, 170) - Kansas
The former Hahnville High School star has blazing speed (4.3) and game-changing talent as an open-field runner. He raced for 3,118 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior at Hahnville. The 2018 Big 12 offensive freshman of the year grabbed headlines with his 252 yards and two TD’s against Oklahoma. Overall, he tallied 1,125 yards tying him with Jayhawk great Gayle Sayers among freshman performers at the school. In his career at Kansas, Williams produced 2,363 yards (5.7 yard average) and 12 TD’s. He brings NFL intrigue as a potential slot receiver and dangerous return threat. He’ll be a high upside third day pick.
OT Malik Clark (6-4, 323) - Kansas
The former Warren Easton standout made 31 starts for the Jayhawks at OT/OG. He picked KU over Tulane, Missouri and Mississippi State. Clark is a likely undrafted free agent.
WR Damonte Coxie (6-3, 197) - Memphis
The East St. John product originally committed to LSU in 2016, but a knee injury in track caused him to take another route. Coxie compiled 185 catches for 2,948 yards and 20 touchdowns to surpass Memphis alums and NFL stars Isaac Bruce and Anthony Miller. He opted out of last season after two games. A third day pick in a deep receiver draft, Coxie could be a steal.
RB Trey Ragas (5-10, 230) - ULL
A true workhorse at Archbishop Shaw with 1,813 yards and 23 TD’s in 2014 and 1,928 yards with 21 TD’s in 2015, he went on to rank third all-time in rushing for the Ragin Cajuns with 3,572 yards on a six yard average plus 38 touchdowns. Even if he doesn’t go on day three, Ragas has the talent to make a team.
OL Donavaughn Campbell (6-6, 353) - LA Tech
The Ponchatoula alum played 15 games at LSU (2016-’19) before finding more opportunities in Ruston. He demonstrated versatility at Tech playing everywhere on the line except center. Described as having violent hands, the possible third day pick fits a power rushing scheme.
RB Israel Tucker (5-8, 200) - LA Tech
The Rummel product capped his college career with 648 yards and four touchdowns last season. He will be looking for a chance was an undrafted free agent.
DE Chris Turner (6-4, 270) - Missouri
As a senior at Hammond High, he earned District MVP honors. The three-star prospect in 2017 played 33 contests at Mizzou and developed well, compiling 56 tackles, 7.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. He’s a late third day choice or free agent who will get a chance to stick as a edge rusher.
WR Racey McMath (6-3, 225) - LSU
The Edna Karr alum gained plenty of attention at LSU’s Pro Day with a 4.34 time in the 40. His mom said McMath “felt like he was racing in my stomach” before she gave birth. The name stuck. McMath bided his time at LSU in a crowded receiver room but has NFL ability. He models his style after NFL star Julio Jones. In his Career at LSU, Racey managed 33 grabs, 522 yards and four TD’s. His Pro Day efforts could see him taken as soon as an early third day pick. Some NFL team will look to see if his combo of size and speed can lead to a better pro career than his college production.