Who will be first LSU player taken in 2018 NFL Draft?

SEC Country reporter Alex Hickey will answer your LSU Tigers sports queries each weekday in our LSU Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryLSU@bigahickey or by email to Alex at  alex.hickey@coxinc.com.

Question of the Day: Thursday, Feb. 22

Mel Kiper Jr.’s second mock draft was released Wednesday, and lo and behold — Kiper finally saw the light. After neglecting to list any LSU players in his initial first-round mock, ESPN’s appointed expert now has two Tigers going in Round 1.

Kiper has running back Derrius Guice going 20th to the Detroit Lions and cornerback Donte Jackson going 31st to the New England Patriots.

All of that is a prelude to today’s question.

Which LSU player will be the first off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft?

We posed this question to a draft expert with a little more familiarity with LSU’s prospects — Louisiana-based Mike Detillier.

At the moment, that player looks to be Guice. Like most draftniks, Detillier sees Guice as the second-best running back in the class behind Penn State superstar Saquon Barkley.

“There will be a pretty good gap between Barkley and Derrius,” Detillier said. “The flip of that is Derrius’ toughness. He was never fully healthy this year, but he gave you everything he’s got. He’s a one-jump, one-cut runner. Catches the ball well. He’s built for the NFL.”

Detillier sees Guice going somewhere in the 20s.

“I look at Detroit [20th]. Pittsburgh [29th] comes to mind,” he said. “If he falls late, a team like the Patriots [31st]. Dion Lewis is good, but Derrius is another level — and you’re flanked by the greatest of all time. There’s a lot of different ways he could go.”

But little over a week from now, there might be a new top Tiger in the eyes of NFL general managers.

Detillier said edge rusher Arden Key will be the most heavily scrutinized non-quarterback at the NFL combine. Key had a disappointing junior season that was set up by an unexplained leave of absence during the spring semester.

“The NFL knows about his issues. He’s got to come clean about that. They know the answers to any questions they give him,” Detillier said. “You have to be forward about it. It’s not the first time a player has had issues off the field. A year ago at this time, people would have put him in their top-3 overall.”

Key won’t get back to that level at this point, but he does have a chance to dramatically improve a stock that has fallen.

“Pass rushers are gold in the NFL,” Detillier said. “Every team would like to have one.”

The annual scouting combine takes place in Indianapolis next week.

To see prior answers to our Question of the Day,  we have you covered.

The post Who will be first LSU player taken in 2018 NFL Draft? appeared first on SEC Country.

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