By the end of the annual NFL scouting combine, which gets going in earnest on Saturday, eyes will have seen 13 players with LSU ties at some point.
But the names of players with early-round grades will be dissected the most in stories around the country and by the NFL teams themselves.
That includes Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery.
Earlier this week, the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, one of the country’s premiere draft analysts, spoke on a conference call about this year’s combine participants. And in so doing, spoke about several of LSU’s prospects as well as what he thinks about several players whom the Saints might draft.
Here’s what he had to say about some of these players.
On Barkevious Mingo:
“I have him at the end of the first round. Lot of people have him in the top 10; I have him at the end of the first round. So he's a guy that could sit also from what you're talking about.”
“He's 230 pounds. He's got a little stiffness to him. He obviously runs very fast. When the ball goes away from him, he's fantastic. He's a run and chase linebacker. He's got upside as a pass‑rusher.”
“There is nothing about the kid I don't like. I just don't see a top 10 guy today. To me I'd feel much more comfortable with him as a developmental 3‑4 outside linebacker, somebody that would go somewhere between 25 and 40. I know everybody's got him in the Top 10, but I just don't see it right now.”
On Sam Montgomery:
“I feel like Sam Montgomery brings it every snap more than Mingo does. He's not as quick, he's not as gifted, but he's very physical and tough.”
“I like him a lot. I think he's a potential late 1 to early 2. He's a 4‑3 base end. “
On Kevin Minter:
“He's a better player than I thought when I put the tape on. I think there are three potential first‑round, inside linebackers, and he's one of them. Some people have him higher than [Manti] Te'o.
“Most people have [Alec] Ogletree first. If he's an inside guy, Ogletree, followed by Te'o, followed by Minter. And some people have Minter ahead of Te'o.”
On P.J. Lonergan:
“The center is a pretty good little player. He's scrappy. He'll be in somebody's camp. No doubt about that.”
On Tyrann Mathieu:
“My gut tells me he's a better football player than he is an athlete. He's small. I'm not sure he's going to run real well. So I think teams are going to look at him as kind of a nickel and a kick returner.
“I don't think he's going to run better than the 4.5 or 4.55. If he does, that will help him. So most teams that I've talked to have him more in the fourth round because they don't think he's very big and he's not going to run very fast, and he's had off‑the‑field issues.
"That could change with a good time, but he's an intriguing guy.”
As for the Saints, the switch to the 3-4 base defense and Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator could be buoyed by what Mayock believes is one of the deepest drafts in years. There are players who could be available who could eventually be standout players, including Oregon’s Dion Jordan.
Mayock believes Brodrick Bunkley, whom the Saints picked up in free agency prior to 2012 will fit in nicely at the nose tackle position in the new base. He also believes Cam Jordan is a fit for one of the defensive end positions.
But he suspects a 3-4 outside linebacker is where the Saints will go.
On Oregon’s Dion Jordan:
“I kind of like Dion Jordan who I think is two years away from being an Aldon Smith‑type player. He's only about 240 pounds, but he's 6'7". He's got frightening athletic skills, and he's a year away. He would be a situational pass‑rusher year one, and if he puts 20 pounds on, I think he's going to be a perennial All-Pro. I really like the kid.
“But, again, that's a little bit of a risk‑reward. You're betting on this kid two years from now.”
On BYU’s Ziggy Ansah:
“He was a guy that was so long, so athletic, so gifted. I just think he's so raw sometime it's can't come out. I don't think there is anybody one in the NFL that doesn't think he's going to be a good player. But the question is when? Is it this year, next year or three years from now?”
“I'm willing to bet on the kid. I think he's going to go earlier than later. When you get these kinds of guys, and [Jason Pierre-Paul], he's way more raw than JPP was a couple years ago. People want to use that comparison, but he's not there yet. But I think he's going to become a good player.”