Washington vs. LSU: Keith Price Needs Great Game to Raise 2013 Draft Stock

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies rushes against the San Diego State Aztecs on September 1, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

If Washington quarterback Keith Price has any hopes of being a first-round selection in next year's NFL draft, he'll need to prove his worth against the LSU Tigers Saturday night.

As a junior, Price could elect to come back to Washington for his senior year, but that likely will depend on what his stock will look like at the end of the year. Entering the 2012 season, Price is on a lot of draftniks' radar as a potential first-rounder depending on how this season goes. Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller ranked Price No. 29 on his preseason big board.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Mel Kiper shared his thoughts on Price's draft value, pointing out that he'll need to show that he can make up for his height in proving his worth against the other top junior quarterbacks in the country.

If you are below 6-2 you've got to beat the odds, bottom line. So for Price, we'll see. But he's in that mix with Logan Thomas (of Virginia Tech) and Tyler Bray at Tennessee and A.J. McCarron at Alabama, Casey Pachall at TCU and Tahj Boyd at Clemson, Aaron Murray at Georgia --- there are a lot of quarterbacks in that class of juniors that are going to have a chance to show what they have for the NFL.

After a good-but-not-great performance against San Diego State in the first week, Price really will need to wow scouts against LSU.

LSU boasts one of the best defenses in the country. Despite losing former Heisman finalist (and potential 2013 candidate) Tyrann Mathieu, this is a defense that boasts a ton of NFL-caliber players on this side of the ball—including three first-rounders, according to Todd McShay's early 2013 mock draft.

Washington enters the game as a 24-point underdog (h/t Bovada.lv), so to ask Price to lead the Huskies to victory while keeping them in the game against the odds would be quite the victory for Price and an accomplishment that would see his name shoot up early draft boards.

A poor performance against the Tigers may ruin any chances Price has of being drafted this season and will put even more pressure on him to perform throughout the year if he has a bad game against an elite defense.

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