LSU Football: 5 Weakest Positions to Worry About
LSU finished with a perfect regular-season record in 2011, which included an SEC Championship and a spot in the BCS title game.
Is it really possible that this year's 2012 team could be even more loaded?
Well yes, it is.
Les Miles' team is stacked with talent from top to bottom this season, and while they lose several big-time players to the NFL such as Morris Claiborne, Michael Brockers and Rueben Randle, they have replacements just waiting in the wings to fill in.
So now we ask, are there any weaknesses that fans should worry about this season?
Let's take a look and break down the five biggest question marks for LSU in 2012.
Bleacher Report style!
Linebacker is probably the one position where LSU was really hit the hardest due to graduation this past year.
Ryan Baker, Stefoin Francois and Karnell Hatcher were all seniors last season and all major contributors to this linebacking unit. Fortunately for the Tigers, they have plenty of talent waiting behind them in addition to an outstanding freshman class filled with talent at the linebacker position.
Kevin Minter has the most experience of the group and will man the middle linebacker spot for the Tigers this season. The early candidates to start at outside linebacker are Tahj Jones and Lamin Barrow, but look for them both to be pushed by the freshmen once they arrive.
This may be considered a weakness right now for LSU, but almost any other team in the country would love to have the guys they have ready to fill in as starters.
When you have a Heisman Trophy candidate returning at cornerback, how in the world could this be a position to worry about?
Well, lining up opposite of Mathieu was All-American Morris Claiborne, who will likely be a top-five selection in Thursday's NFL draft.
The top candidate to replace Claiborne is to-be junior Tharold Simon, who was on the field anytime the Tigers lined Mathieu up as the nickelback last season. Simon is a very good cornerback who should transition to being a full-time starter without any issues.
Fans may be worried about this position right now, but this secondary should be close to, if not as good as last season, which should be scary for other teams to imagine.
Brandon Taylor is another defensive backfield member who will soon be playing on Sundays and one who the Tigers will have to replace this season.
Craig Loston, who was a highly touted prospect out of high school in 2009, is expected to take over the other safety spot opposite of Eric Reid.
Loston has the talent to do so, but his durability has been the biggest question. He suffered another injury this spring, and questions about whether or not this talented safety can stay healthy have been circling around Baton Rouge as of late.
If so, this should go from a potential position of weakness to one of strength for LSU.
Depth is certainly not a problem at the wide receiver position for the LSU Tigers.
But the question is whether this unit will have a star in 2012?
Rueben Randle was one of the most talented wide receivers in the country last season, but no one would know it because Jordan Jefferson was such a poor passing quarterback. Now, with Randle leaving early for the NFL draft, this group will need to find a new leader at the wide receiver position.
Russell Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. are the two early candidates to take on that role, but neither of them have recorded more than 500 receiving yards in a season.
Jarvis Landry, James Wright and Kadron Boone are all other options to take on that No.1 wide receiver role as well.
Chase Clement will take over the starting tight end duties for LSU this season after the loss of Deangelo Peterson to the NFL.
Clement should be able to hold his own as a starter, but the depth behind him is a huge question mark right now.
Senior Tyler Edwards is expected to be Clement's backup at tight end, and he has yet to catch a pass in an LSU uniform. This leaves a major void if Clement goes down with an injury.
This is probably the weakest position to worry about for LSU, but when your starter is a projected NFL draft pick the following year, that's a pretty good sign.