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Tribal Warfare
04-17-2010, 10:11 PM
LSU churns out NFL players, but they aren’t living up to expectations (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/17/1883770/lsu-churns-out-nfl-players-but.html)
By KENT BABB
Last updated: April 17th, 2010 08:30 PM (PDT)

Word began spreading in the draft hall early in the afternoon. The Chiefs were about to do it again.

It was a Saturday afternoon in April at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. NFL draft day 2009. The Chiefs had the No. 3 overall pick. So many options. A can’t-miss linebacker named Aaron Curry? A franchise offensive tackle, such as Eugene Monroe?

Late in the afternoon, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approached the lectern and made the announcement.

“With the third pick in the 2009 NFL draft,” Goodell said, “the Kansas City Chiefs select Tyson Jackson, defensive end from LSU.”

The crowd gasped. Some booed. Jackson’s name was a surprise, but other things were not. He filled a need on defense, and the college program that produced him was one the Chiefs seemed uniquely comfortable with. For three years in a row, the Chiefs made an LSU player their top draft pick.

Before Jackson, there was defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey at No. 5 overall in 2008. A year earlier, the Chiefs drafted wide receiver Dwayne Bowe at No. 23 overall.

Those players have something else in common: None has lived up to expectations or their draft slots. That trend is known now to the Chiefs’ organization, but perhaps it should’ve seen it coming earlier.

LSU has produced 35 NFL draft picks since 2003, but there are more stories of failure than success. Of those 35 players, nine of whom were first-round picks, only one has been selected for a Pro Bowl: Indianapolis running back Joseph Addai’s appearance as a reserve in 2007. The handful of successes are overshadowed by players such as Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell and Dorsey — who have shown little evidence that, at least in their current situations, they’ll live up to their draft-day hype.

“I don’t think anybody has seen or heard from Glenn Dorsey,” said former NFL coach Jon Gruden, who drafted former LSU receiver Michael Clayton to the Buccaneers in 2004.

LSU is known as one of the last decade’s most successful college programs, winning national championships in 2003 and 2007 and helping elevate hungry and talented players into college superstars. But according to some outside the LSU bubble, NFL teams have learned the hard way that, at least lately, a draft pick who played for the Tigers isn’t a sure thing.

“Word has been out there that the guys aren’t working real hard,” said Chris Landry, a former NFL scout who now works as a consultant for nearly a dozen teams. “It’s been talked among scouting circles for a while. It’s more: Buyer beware.

“It gives (LSU) a bad image. It gives it an attitude of just: ‘What the hell is going on over there?’ ”

• • •

The signs were there. That’s what LSU insiders and observers said. Dorsey paid less attention to conditioning after his junior season. Bowe’s hands weren’t improving. Russell’s work habits were questionable from the start.

“JaMarcus was a bust waiting to happen,” said Landry, who lives in Louisiana. “A lot of people have misevaluated some of these LSU players.”

Landry said the problems started when those players emerged as NFL prospects, and their work habits slipped. He said LSU’s coaches failed to push those players, and as a result, they adopted poor approaches as acceptable.

“The program has slipped from a discipline and work-ethic standpoint,” Landry said. “They’re not nearly as demanding on them.”

LSU coach Les Miles did not respond to an interview request made to the school’s sports information department. It was Miles who took over after Nick Saban moved on in 2004, and on the surface, little seemed to change. The Tigers kept recruiting top athletes, kept winning big games and kept producing NFL prospects.

But as other dominant college teams became factories for NFL superstars — Miami, Southern California and Texas produced a combined 97 draft picks and 19 Pro Bowlers since 2003 — LSU was churning out players who looked the part, passed the combine tests and had futures that looked bright.

But something was different. Of LSU’s 21 players drafted in the first four rounds since ’03, only 12 have started the majority of their games. There are good players to have come out of LSU in the last decade. But none has yet become great.

“It’s disappointing,” one LSU insider said. “Somebody should have made a handful of Pro Bowls right now, and it hasn’t happened.”

The years passed. Again and again, NFL teams kept evaluating LSU players and seeing the one who might break the trend. They put in the time. Did the scouting. Made their grades. Marcus Spears was a can’t-miss. So was LaRon Landry. Dorsey, too. Bowe, Russell, Dorsey and Spears are among those who’ve been criticized for their conditioning habits. Others have been chided for work-ethic concerns. Their talent has spent years getting cold in the shadow of those worries.

“Everybody thought they were good players,” said NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt, a former Cowboys personnel director. “It doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t make sense.”

• • •

Larry Dauterive approached the woman last year. He’d seen her around. Dauterive is the football coach at East St. John High School, 53 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. Tyson Jackson’s mother worked in the school’s cafeteria.

Dauterive saw her shortly before last year’s draft. He smiled and passed along a message.

“You’re not going to have to wipe these tables off anymore,” Dauterive remembered saying.

Of Louisiana’s 4.4 million residents, 19.4 percent live in poverty. That’s the second-highest percentage in the country. Some of those residents are children. Some play football. Coaches know how to motivate Louisiana’s youngsters.

“Hey, you’ve got a chance” to reach the NFL, Dauterive said. “We’ve got some there. You can get there.

“That’s the carrot we dangle in front of them.”

The NFL means an escape. It means riches. It means that if you get there, your mama can stop wiping off tables in a school’s lunchroom. And Dauterive is right: Louisiana does have players there. Per capita, the state has more players in the NFL than any other. The best Louisiana players go to LSU. Its coaches recruit with promises, the same as any other. Championships. Big games. A chance at the NFL and all the things that means.

“The Tigers have put a fence around this state,” Dauterive said.

Many players thrive at LSU. They become All-Americans. They win awards. They are invited to the NFL combine, then for on-site interviews, then to Radio City Music Hall. Some make it. They reach that carrot; reach the goal that motivated them throughout their lives. Poverty is forever behind them.

Then what? Things change. Without the carrot, some are no longer motivated — not in the same way, at least.

John Murray is a sports psychologist based in South Florida. He sees it often: being poor drives a man to do great things; when he is no longer poor, he no longer craves greatness in that deep, visceral way.

“A lot of people do fall victim to that: They think they’ve achieved everything,” Murray said. “You lose your entire purpose when you don’t have something to strive for.”

Glenn Dorsey’s father cleaned the inside of oil drums and came home caked with grime. Dorsey’s contract with the Chiefs guaranteed him $23 million. Jackson’s mother worked in that school cafeteria. Now her son’s deal is worth a guaranteed $31 million.

They’re not the only ones.

“They are getting some fat contracts,” Dauterive said. “Maybe they are taking their foot off the pedal.”

• • •

Yes, there are success stories. Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth is a reliable offensive lineman. Arizona receiver Early Doucet showed potential at the end of last season. Washington safety LaRon Landry has started 47 games in three seasons. The Chiefs remain hopeful that their LSU draft picks can right their wrongs.

There is reason for optimism, and the Chiefs hope Bowe, Dorsey and Jackson can still reach a kind of greatness that once seemed a foregone conclusion. Dorsey took a step forward last year, after coaches harped on conditioning in an effort to undo years of bad habits.

Jackson showed promise in his rookie season, and the Chiefs hope they got in Jackson’s ear early enough that he won’t repeat his predecessors’ mistakes.He’s also playing for an organization that emphasizes conditioning and work ethic. General manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley inherited Bowe and Dorsey, but Jackson was their pick.

For now, all that’s left to do is wait. The Chiefs would not participate in this story, a team spokesman telling The Star that the team’s five LSU players — Bowe, Travis Daniels, Dorsey, Jackson and Rudy Niswanger — each had reasons they preferred to avoid the subject.

For its part, the team is aware of the risks that seem to be involved in drafting an LSU player. It’s unlikely that the Chiefs will turn to LSU for their top pick a fourth consecutive year. The school doesn’t have a likely top-10 prospect, but there will be options later.

The Tigers had a dozen players invited to the scouting combine, the most of any college program. Numbers never were the problem. And for kicks, one draft Web site predicted the Chiefs will select LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell in the second round.

Maybe if the Chiefs continue their tendency of drafting LSU players, perhaps it will be LaFell who overcomes the factors that have held back prospects from the school. Maybe he will be the one scouts have been waiting for.

Then again, some have seen all the evidence they need; they wouldn’t be willing to take the risk.

“It is a concern,” said Chris Landry, the former scout. “You have to acknowledge it, and you have to step away.”

JD10367
04-17-2010, 10:23 PM
Pats got a nice player in Kevin Faulk. That's all that springs to mind.

milkman
04-17-2010, 10:27 PM
I think it's pretty stupid to throw in Dorsey and Jackson in this article.

'Hamas' Jenkins
04-17-2010, 10:30 PM
It's even dumber to suggest that Tyson Jackson showed promise.

Reerun_KC
04-17-2010, 10:31 PM
Its pretty stupid to think anyone out of Lazy State U is going to amount to shit in the NFL.....

LSU players = Fail

CrazyPhuD
04-17-2010, 10:36 PM
That cements it, our first round pick will be from LSU!

Messier
04-17-2010, 10:44 PM
Is Bowe not good? It's funny that everyone says they keep waiting for Bowe to show promise. I thought he already did. No one has had more catches in their first three years as a Chief than Bowe, but we're waiting for him to show us he's not a bust.

Mecca
04-17-2010, 10:51 PM
It's because year 3 is suppose to be when WR's break out and he proceeded to turn in his worst year.

Deberg_1990
04-17-2010, 11:04 PM
Is Bowe not good? It's funny that everyone says they keep waiting for Bowe to show promise. I thought he already did. No one has had more catches in their first three years as a Chief than Bowe, but we're waiting for him to show us he's not a bust.

Whos saying hes a bust??

Hes not bad, but he just hasnt lived up to his full potential...or maybe he has??

Maybe he is what he is??

KCrockaholic
04-17-2010, 11:19 PM
Ohio State is typically the best school for turning out NFL players. Along with Mecca's team...

Mecca
04-17-2010, 11:28 PM
Ohio State and SC have the most drafted players since I think it's 2000, somewhere in that time frame.

You could easily write an article about how Texas players have failed to live up to potential, usually I chalk it up on the players and not the school because most of the leagues stars are spread throughout a ton of colleges, even small ones.

Messier
04-17-2010, 11:35 PM
Whos saying hes a bust??

Hes not bad, but he just hasnt lived up to his full potential...or maybe he has??

Maybe he is what he is??

I heard Babb say on the radio the other day he's about ready to give up on Bowe. Really? I think he's been as good if not better than advertised. I think he needs to find a better work ethic soon or he might get progressively worse, but he's a good NFL starting receiver.

Mecca
04-17-2010, 11:40 PM
I heard that he said he was ready to give up on him as a #1 WR.

Gravedigger
04-18-2010, 12:12 AM
Just reading the title of this post I already knew what I'd be thinking at the end of it, "No shit Babb? LSU has produces dissapointments lately?"

easymobee
04-18-2010, 01:26 AM
Im sure its not on purpose, but it is rather strange that KC has used 1st rounders on LSU players, 3 years running. Im not sure if they even have a player projected into the 1st this year, but im gonna go out on a limb and predict KC uses a 2nd rounder on a LSU player this year.

InChiefsHell
04-18-2010, 07:56 AM
I agree tacitly with some of this article, but putting JaFatAss in the same sentence as Dorsey or Bowe, as if the levels of fail are equal, is a bit much.

Yes, Dorsey has struggled, but work ethic wise he's in good hands. Bowe got his ass kicked by Haley last season. Hopefully he'll come back and rock the house. Jackson...first year D lineman struggle.

I'm a little disappointed, but I'm not ready to declare them all busts. Bowe has no more room though. Whatever we get out of him this year is what it is.

notorious
04-18-2010, 07:59 AM
they aren’t living up to expectations


This.

Fairplay
04-18-2010, 08:08 AM
Its easy to get an A+ for hindsight.

Plus you can act like you're smart.

boogblaster
04-18-2010, 08:15 AM
Bowe made Ja-faider .. Bowe should have a better year with Weis at the helm .. Both DLmen should improve too .. guess it's a crap-shoot .. we'll see .....

notorious
04-18-2010, 08:16 AM
Its easy to get an A+ for hindsight.

Plus you can act like you're smart.

I agree.


It is strange that players from a particular school never seem to live up to their billing.



Is it possible that Les Miles and his staff actually coach-up their players? He did wonders at OSU with some good and not-so-great talent.

TEX
04-18-2010, 10:04 AM
Bowe will probably pan out - he has shown signs that he can be very good. I don't think he will ever be a true game-changer # 1 WR - but he can be a very good # 2WR.

Jackson was a reach, because of need, and will probably contribute though not at a top 5 level. This one is on the Chiefs, not the player, for selecting him so high.

Dorsey is a BUST and some of us said it on draft day. Playing the 3-4 won't help his cause.The Chiefs need to cut ties with him while they can still get "something" for him. (I will admit that I am biased against him because I did not like the pick on draft day. Saying,"I told ya so" does NOT make me feel better because the Chiefs lose...)

notorious
04-18-2010, 10:09 AM
Dorsey is a BUST

Sims was a bust.


Dorsey is a decent player.

milkman
04-18-2010, 10:12 AM
Bowe will probably pan out - he has shown signs that he can be very good. I don't think he will ever be a true game-changer # 1 WR - but he can be a very good # 2WR.

Jackson was a reach, because of need, and will probably contribute though not at a top 5 level. This one is on the Chiefs, not the player, for selecting him so high.

Dorsey is a BUST and some of us said it on draft day. Playing the 3-4 won't help his cause.The Chiefs need to cut ties with him while they can still get "something" for him. (I will admit that I am biased against him because I did not like the pick on draft day. Saying,"I told ya so" does NOT make me feel better because the Chiefs lose...)

The problem with saying "I told ya so" in this case is that the fact that he was, far and away, our best D-Lineman in a position that he really isn't suited for tells us that you didn't tell us a damn thing, and to suggest that you did is moronic.

The Bad Guy
04-18-2010, 10:28 AM
Well at least we know Chris Landry is the person who is tied to the "Pioli safe pick" tweet by Kent Babb.

WilliamTheIrish
04-18-2010, 10:53 AM
My response......."yeah, so what?"

LMAO

KCChiefsFan88
04-18-2010, 11:35 AM
I actually brought up this topic in a thread from October:

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=6144916&postcount=20

Dorsey and Jackson should both be benched and humiliated in public. They are content to collect their fat contracts and that's it.

Something about LSU players must not translate into NFL players with work ethics or NFL players who give a shit.

Dorsey, Jackson, JaMarcus, Craig "Buster" Davis in San Diego... you can even throw Bowe in there although he's had his productive moments at least.