The 2021 season was an underwhelming one for the LSU Tigers. The team started at No. 16 in the rankings, but ended up finishing the year under .500 following a loss to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.
After years under Ed Orgeron, the Tigers will enter a new era under Brian Kelly, the longtime Notre Dame coach. And if there is something that can help Kelly succeed in Baton Rouge, it is the talent on the field.
LSU has a total of 31 players selected in the last three editions of the NFL draft, including seven first-rounders. Highlighting that group is star quarterback Joe Burrow, selected No. 1 by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, and two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Justin Jefferson, picked No. 22 by the Minnesota Vikings that same year.
If the Tigers are able to have a bounce-back season, the stock of their 2023 draft prospects is bound to improve. Here are three LSU players with a great chance of being selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
3. Edge Ali Gaye
After playing only four games last year due to injury, Ali Gaye made a good decision by using his extra year of eligibility and returning for a final season with LSU.
Despite limited time on the field in 2021, the talented edge defender finished the year with 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. In 2020, Gaye played and started all 10 games, receiving All-SEC Second Team honors from league coaches and the Associated Press. He also led the team with 9.5 tackles for loss. One of his highlights was an interception against Ole Miss and now Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Corral.
At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Gaye is able to move very smoothly. He is explosive and has the speed necessary to rush the passer. With long arms, he makes it difficult for quarterbacks once he is pressing them behind the line of scrimmage.