LSU's defense was one of the most talented in college football in 2012, but unfortunately for the Tigers (and fortunately for NFL teams) they'll be looking to replace two of their stand out players, as LB Kevin Minter (via Joe Schad) and S Eric Reid (via Neil Stratton) both made their decisions to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Minter has been somewhat of an unsung hero for LSU's defense, not always making the highlight plays that other linebackers have this season, but there is no question that he was the heart of the Tigers' defense unit. Reid is widely regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the draft, and both he and Minter have the potential to be first round selections.
Alex Brown had this to say about Kevin Minter prior to the LSU's match-up against Clemson this week:
"Filling hard downhill and initiating contact with the blocker by firing his sudden, powerful hands to snap his opponent backward at the point of attack, Minter works off blockers with outstanding hand usage and shouldering technique. What enables Minter to be so productive and impactful at Mike linebacker is how quickly he reads, reacts, and steps to flow. Rarely ever taking a misstep in his run/pass read, Minter locates and tracks the football exceptionally well for an inside backer. Moreover, Minter isn’t just a hard hitting, 2-down run thumper; timing up back-to-back stunts for a sack and tackle for loss, and opening his hips to the sideline and running down throws to the perimeter, Minter showcased 3rd down ability versus the pass as a coverage defender and stunting linebacker. This game-changing backer could very well be an early declarer for the 2013 draft and top round draft choice."
And the same for Eric Reid:
"An impressive player off the hoof with great size, speed, strength and explosiveness, Eric Reid certainly looks the part of an elite player. Standing at or above 6’2 and stacked with 210+ pounds of muscle, Reid can be an intimidating force over the middle of the field, dishing out crushing hits and breaking up throws at the catch point. Physicality and tools aside, however, Reid hasn’t played up to his potential in 2012, allowing big plays in coverage due to poor drive angles to the throw and missed tackles after the catch. Reid, like Mingo, has first round talent and a clear upside, but may be better served returning for another season at LSU. "