BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2015 NFL Draft is just five weeks away, and the pre-draft process continues to roll on with universities across the country hosting their NFL Pro Days.
LSU's Pro Day was hosted Friday, and The Daily Reveille's Jacob Hamilton (@jhamilton_TDR) was on hand to scout the Cowboys' perspective. LSU Pro Day typically consists of NFL coaches clamoring over LSU's next crop of NFL athletes, and this year was no different. Representatives from all 32 teams were in attendance to watch former LSU athletes show off their talents for the last time before the NFL Draft.
Top Pick(s): OT La'el Collins, CB Jalen Collins, DE Danielle Hunter, LB Kwon Alexander, RB Terrence Magee, RB Kenny Hilliard
Possible Cowboys fits: Left tackle La'el Collins will likely be the first Tiger selected in the NFL draft, but he doesn't represent a need on Dallas' strong offensive line. The Cowboys could use their first two picks filling needs in the secondary and defensive line with cornerback Jalen Collins and defensive end Danielle Hunter, while picking two players with the most upside in the draft.
- Jalen Collins impressed during his junior season with the Tigers, garnering 38 tackles, breaking up 17 passes and picking off one ball. He is a hard-nosed defender who prides himself in his tackling abilities and his physicality at the line of scrimmage. But he also has the speed to run with fast receivers and lateral agility to wrap up speed backs. His 6-1 frame fits the mold of the prototypical NFL cornerback, and he doesn't trade speed for size; Collins ran 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and finished second among cornerbacks in the three-cone drill. Collins didn't participate in drills Friday after undergoing a procedure to repair an incomplete Jones' fracture in his right foot March 19, but he is expected to make a full recovery by minicamps. Although he skipped workouts at Pro Day, his speedy performance at the Combine was enough to push him into the first round.
- Hunter's build and freakish athleticism hint at Pro-Bowl potential, but his lack of production in college is a red flag. He was productive as a run stopper in 2014, collecting 73 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss, but he was almost a non-factor in the passing game with just 1.5 sacks. But Hunter learned to be multidimensional midway through his junior season. He used his towering 6-5 stature and long arms to knock down six passes, proving he can still make an impact on the passing game when he doesn't get into the backfield. The Katy, Texas, native backed up his decision to forego his senior year of college with a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, the fastest among defensive linemen. Although he underperformed in college, he's worth a second round pick based on upside alone.
- With Rolando McClain's status up in the air and Justin Durant donning a Falcons jersey, linebacker Kwon Alexander could be a solid pickup for the Cowboys on day two of the draft. Alexander declared for the draft after a productive junior season, during which he accumulated 90 tackles, including 7.5 behind the line of scrimmage. His build is remarkably similar to Durant's, measuring in at 6-1, 227 pounds. He finds himself out of position at times, but what he lacks in instincts, he makes up for in speed. Alexander was one of the more impressive linebackers at the Combine. He finished second among linebackers with a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash and was in the top 10 in the bench press with 24 repetitions.
Top Performer: Hunter participated in all drills except the 40-yard dash and bench press, and he built upon his impressive showing at the Combine. He recorded marks in the broad jump (10 feet, 10.5 inches) and three-cone drill (6.95 seconds) that eclipsed the top numbers set by defensive lineman at the Combine and stood out in individual drills. Although he played just defensive end at LSU, Hunter participated in linebacker and defensive lineman drills at Pro Day. He showcased his speed and ability to change direction in the linebacker drills, while his powerful upper body and nimble feet shone in the defensive lineman drills.
Who Else Stood Out: Alexander elected to stick with his numbers from the Combine, only participating in the 60-yard shuttle and individual drills Friday. He built upon his impressive Combine numbers with a strong showing in the individual linebacker drills. He showed off his blazing straight-line speed, while also proving he is agile and can change direction fluidly.
What they said:
Jalen Collins on the possibility of going in the first round and his expected role:
"I like that possibility. Knowing that I have the opportunity to be in the first round feels like all the hard work I have been putting in is paying off."
"Honestly, I feel like whatever role they have me in, I'm going to do my best."
Jalen Collins on the Cowboys' interest in him:
"I did meet with [the Cowboys] at the Combine, but I have not talked to them since. That would be exciting to play in Jerry's World. Who wouldn't be excited about playing there?"
Kwon Alexander on what he accomplished during Pro Day:
"I wanted to show my hips and how low I can bend ... I feel like I moved pretty well during the drills. I just came out here and showed everyone what I can do."
"I have been getting a lot of good feedback. I don't know where I am going; nobody knows where they are going. A couple of teams have talked to me. I just feel blessed that they are even coming talk to me."
Kwon Alexander on the type of football player he is:
"I'm fast, aggressive, mean and I just love playing the game. It is fun. I love to have fun … Whoever picks me up is going to love me."
Les Miles on Kwon Alexander:
"He has great speed. If you're after a linebacker that can step out into the flat and run with a wide receiver, you're looking at Kwon Alexander."
Danielle Hunter on his Pro Day experience:
"It was overall a good day. I had the times I needed and showed what I could have showed in my drills with my hips, but they can be a little bit better … Today, the most important thing was the hips in all of the drills."
Danielle Hunter's feelings on being weeks away from being a professional football player:
"It's an exciting feeling. Kids have been working all their lives to come this far. There's a lot that has been accomplished, and there's a lot that is left to be accomplished. I'm just looking forward to bettering myself as a football player and as a person to make sure my dreams come true."
Jacob Hamilton (@jhamilton_TDR) covers LSU sports for The Daily Reveille.