If you’re a big college football fan, you’re already excited for Monday night’s national championship matchup between the LSU Tigers and Clemson Tigers. But if you are tuning in as a big NFL fan, this could be a quick crash course as you look ahead toward the NFL Draft because there is plenty of talent on both sides of the ball for each team.
Offense: Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. It’s LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. This year’s Heisman winner may wind up being the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft this spring. He improved immensely in his final college season and appears to have everything you need to be a solid quarterback in the NFL. With the sample size we have already, there’s not a whole lot that could change his draft stock in this game unless there’s an injury.
Defense: LSU safety Grant Delpit is the guy NFL scouts will be watching closely for the Tigers on defense. Delpit has the size at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds to play the position at the next level. He is coming into the national title game with eight interceptions over his three years at LSU. Delpit is a junior, but it would be a shock to see him pass up on his first round draft status to spend another year in college.
Underclassman to watch: LSU’s defensive backfield is loaded with NFL talent including freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who graded out as the top corner in the nation according to Pro Football Focus. He is coming into the national championship with six interceptions, 15 passes defended and returned 15 punts for 146 yards. He’s a name you will hear come draft time in a few years.
Offense: Wide receiver Tee Higgins should be the top offensive player drafted from Clemson this spring and is among the best receivers in the draft, expected be a first round pick. Higgins stands at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He has 14 touchdowns with 1,115 yards on 56 total receptions for the Tigers in his junior season.
Defense: Isaiah Simmons is listed as a linebacker, but he lines up all over the place for Clemson’s defense, making him among the most versatile defensive players in this year’s NFL Draft. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and is projected as a mid-first round pick. Simmons has 97 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three interceptions and six passes defended in his junior season.
Underclassman to watch: We’re addicted to quarterbacks when it comes to NFL Draft talk, so Trevor Lawrence has to be the guy to watch out for among players not yet eligible to be drafted. Lawrence won a national championship as a true freshman, and Clemson has yet to lose a game in his two years with the Tigers. It would be interesting to see where he would’ve landed last season and we can wonder the same as we head into this year’s draft.