Bevy of LSU Players Declaring for NFL Draft a Great Reflection of Les Miles

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Bevy of LSU Players Declaring for NFL Draft a Great Reflection of Les Miles
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LSU head coach Les Miles

In college football, when your program reaches a point when you're constantly having to replace top-tier talent that left for the NFL early, that's when you know you've made it.

LSU head coach Les Miles has clearly made it.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Former LSU WR Jarvis Landry

In what has become one of the rites of the offseason, The Mad Hatter is again facing the challenge of replacing a bevy of talented players who decided to leave Baton Rouge early in favor of the NFL.

Six Tigers have declared their intentions to leave early, including running back Jeremy Hill, wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson. That's on top of senior running back Alfred Blue choosing to pass up the opportunity of requesting another year of eligibility in favor of the NFL draft.  

Just how much production is LSU losing? Cole Cubelic of ESPN and CSS put it into perspective.

These departures are on the heels of last offseason, where LSU had 10 underclassmen declare early (and 11 if you include safety Tyrann Mathieu, who didn't play during the 2012 season).

LSU Early Entries to the NFL Draft - Last Two Seasons
Year Player Position
2014 Jeremy Hill RB
2014 Odell Beckham, Jr. WR
2014 Jarvis Landry WR
2014 Trai Turner OL
2014 Ego Ferguson DL
2014 Anthony Johnson DL
2013 Barkevious Mingo DL
2013 Sam Montgomery DL
2013 Bennie Logan DL
2013 Kevin Minter LB
2013 Eric Reid S
2013 Tharold Simon CB
2013 Chris Faulk OL
2013 Brad Wing P
2013 Spencer Ware RB
2013 Michael Ford RB

This is a rich man's problem.

Yes, it means—as a program—Miles is forced to constantly move inexperienced players into bigger roles, which can lead to inconsistency. 

That's OK.

Yes, it sometimes prevents a team from reaching its ultimate goal of winning championships. But it also creates an elite atmosphere within a program. 

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
LSU head coach Les Miles

LSU went 10-3 this season, and it was largely viewed as a "down season."

Should LSU be concerned about the mass exodus from Baton Rouge?

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A 10-win season being a "down season" is a remarkable compliment to a program. Miles' ability to win at an elite level while routinely sending players to the NFL when they want to go creates a cycle of production that most coaches dream of.

What attracts high school prospects to any given school varies from player to player and from year to year. But the one consistent goal among prospects is the possibility of playing football as a profession. LSU offers the chance to do that, and do it quickly.

That fact was not lost on running back Leonard Fournette, the No. 2-rated 2014 recruit by 247Sports, who headlines an incoming LSU class ranked No. 7 in the nation.

The mass exodus from Baton Rouge isn't a bad thing.

It's healthy. It's beneficial.

It's what elite programs do.


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