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LSU DE Barkevious Mingo vs. Ole Miss
No team in recent memory has had as many early entrants to the NFL draft as the 2012 LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals had 10 juniors declare for the 2013 draft. Former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu also declared for the draft. Mathieu would have been a junior on the 2012 team had he not been kicked off the team for drug use.
LSU has as much talent on their roster as any team in the country. They routinely lose juniors early to the draft and simply reload and keep on playing at a high level. However, even the Tigers will have issues replacing 10 juniors.
LSU will lose Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and Chris Faulk on the offensive side of the ball. Faulk is their best offensive linemen but missed all but the season opener in 2012 after suffering a knee injury.
The Tigers struggled on offense for much of the season, but their offensive line was solidified when they inserted freshman Vadal Alexander at right tackle and Josh Dworaczyk at left tackle. With Faulk's departure and Dworaczyk's graduation, there is a big hole at left tackle.
Tiger fans should expect Alexander and redshirt freshman Jerald Hawkins to fight it out for the starting spot at left tackle.
Ware and Ford fell out of favor at running back as the season wore on and it became clear that freshman Jeremy Hill was the best ball-carrier on the team. Neither Ford nor Ware are a big loss as the Tigers have a lot of depth at the position.
The early entrants on the offensive side of the ball will only affect the Tigers' depth. That is not the case on the defense.
With Barkevious Mingo, Bennie Logan and Sam Montgomery leaving LSU early, that means the entire starting defensive line from 2012 will have to be replaced.
Mingo and Montgomery formed one of the best defensive end duos in the nation. Logan and senior Josh Downs were the starting defensive tackles in LSU's 4-3 scheme.
All four will be in the NFL in 2013. It does not matter how well you recruit, no team can lose all four starters on the defensive line and not suffer a deleterious effect. Montgomery had two seniors behind him on the depth chart so the Tigers are losing their top three players at right defensive end.
The Tigers are also losing middle linebacker Kevin Minter, safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tharold Simon to the draft.
Reid and Minter were both All-SEC performers in 2012. Minter's 130 tackles and 15 tackles for loss led the Tigers. Simon had 45 tackles and led LSU with four interceptions.
LSU is losing more talent on defense than any team in the country. This is important because Les Miles has built LSU into a national powerhouse by playing elite defense and limiting mistakes on offense.
The 2013 version of the Tigers will not have the talent on defense to be elite. They will have to rely on an inconsistent offense to carry them.
The Aggies' 2013 football schedule features eight home games. Their toughest road games will be at LSU and at Ole Miss. With these monumental personnel losses on defense, the Tigers will struggle to keep the Aggie offense in check.
LSU's losses to the NFL draft increase the odds of the Aggies winning the SEC title. No team can recover from the loss of 10 juniors without it negatively affecting the program. The Tigers' early defections into the NFL draft improve the odds of A&M playing in Atlanta for the SEC title in 2013.