It has been two years and four months since the LSU Tigers won the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.
In some ways, it seems like yesterday.
In other cases, it feels like a long time ago.
A lot has happened in the 28 months since. The 2020 offseason saw a massive exodus of talented players and coaches, causing teams to plummet. The Tigers seemed to go from GOATs to underdogs overnight, with the sudden slide leading to a change at the top, with Brian Kelly replacing Ed Orgeron as head coach in November.
But one thing hasn’t changed: we applaud the 2019 team in particular. In fact, the more time passes, the better we’ll learn about the rare talent that’s assembled on the 2019 roster.
We know the 2019 LSU Tigers are special. But time and three NFL draft picks have shown just how absurd the talent of this team can be and further honed its legacy.
Thirty players from the national championship team have been selected by NFL teams over the past three years, including seven first-round picks and eight next-day picks. Eight other players entered the roster as undrafted rookies.
When NFL teams go to mandatory minicamp next month, 38 of the 53 players who played for LSU in the championship game against Clemson will participate. Some may not make the cut when the final roster is cut in September, but for now, the 2019 Tigers have left an indelible mark on the NFL.
“I think we all knew it was a special team and an amazing season, and now it’s playing that way in the NFL and just a few years later it’s proven just how talented it is,” Jim Said Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl and former NFL scout for the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. “NFL draft picks equate to college football wins, and (LSU) teams have high-end talent.”
The numbers are staggering. Twenty-one of the 22 players who started in the national championship game are on the NFL roster. The only exceptions: linebacker Adrian Magee and punter Zach Von Rosenberg, both of whom have attended NFL training camps in previous years. Two of the team’s three specialists – kicker Cade York and long snapper Blake Ferguson – were also selected.
These Tigers aren’t just making their way into the NFL. They are booming. Jobro led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl last season and was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year. Ja’Marr Chase is the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year after Justin Jefferson was voted second for the award a year ago.
Twelve have been given starting jobs, including eight members of LSU’s offense: Cincinnati’s Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase; Denver’s Lloyd Cushenberry; Kansas City’s Clyde-Edwards Heller ; Ed Ingram and Jefferson of Minnesota; Damian Lewis of Seattle; and Marshall Terrace of Carolina.
Three members of LSU’s starting middle school are expected to start for their respective teams this season: Cleveland’s safety Grant Del Pitt; Tennessee cornerback Christian Fulton; and Houston’s Derek Sting profit.
All told, the 2019 team has alumni in 23 of the league’s 32 teams. The Bengals and Browns lead each with four former Tigers.
The 2019 team may not be done yet. The few players who joined the team as reserves in 2019 are still in college and could find their way to an NFL roster in the 2023 draft. Myles Brennan, John Emery Jr., Jaray Jenkins, Trey Palmer and Jay Ward could add to their draft picks for a strong 2022 season.
Nagy said the 2019 team’s quality, depth of high-end talent puts it tied with the 2001 Miami Hurricanes National Champions and the 2009, 2011 and 2015 Alabama State Champions for the most recent college football history. Talented team.
The 2001 Miami team is widely considered the gold standard. The team has an incredible 17 first-round picks that include Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reid and two other potential Hall of Famers, Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. In the end, a total of 38 players were selected for this team, who combined to create a staggering 42 Pro Bowl games.
“It was pretty thin air,” Najib said. “These are the best teams of the last 25 years of college football. But there’s no question that LSU’s teams are on par with some teams in Miami and Alabama.”
Burrow, Chase and their 2019 teammates have a lot of football to play before they get a trip to Guangzhou. But it wouldn’t surprise anyone in Louisiana if they ended up getting there.
2019 LSU Alumni on the NFL Roster
Joe Burrow (Bengals, 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft)
running back (2)
*Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chief, R1-2020)
Ty Davis-Price (49ers, R3-2022)
Wide receiver (5)
*Ja’Marr Chase (Bengal Tigers, R1-2021)
*Justin Jefferson (Vikings, R1-2020)
* Terrace Marshall (Panthers, R2-2021)
Racey McMath (Titan, R6-2021)
Jontre Kirklin (Cardinals, UDFA)
Tory Carter (Titan, UDFA)
tight end (3)
Thaddeus Moss (Bengal Tigers, UDFA)
Jamal Pettigrew (Panthers, UDFA)
Stephen Sullivan (Seahawks, R7-2020)
offensive line (8)
Dare Rosenthal (Falcon, UDFA)
Saadhiq Charles (Commander, R4-2020)
Austin Deculus (Texans, R6-2022)
Chason Hines (Patriots, R6-2022)
*Damian Lewis (Seahawks, R3-2020)
*Ed Ingram (Vikings, R2-2022)
*Lloyd Cushenberry (Broncos, R3-2020)
Badala Traore (Jaguars, UDFA)
Defensive Striker (5)
Rashad Lawrence (Cardinals, R4-2020)
Breiden Fehoko (Charger, UDFA)
Neil Farrell Jr. (Raiders, R4-2022)
Glenn Logan (Browns, UDFA)
Tyler Shelvin (Bengal Tigers, R4-2021)
Andre Anthony (Bucs, R7-2022)
K’Lavon Chaisson (Jaguars, R1-2020)
Damon Clark (Cowboys, R5-2022)
Jacob Phillips (Browns, R3-2020)
*Patrick Quinn (Ravens, R1-2022)
Defensive Back (6)
Jacoby Stevens (Hawks, R6-2021)
Carey Vincent Jr. (Hawks, R7-2021)
* Grant Del Pitt (Browns, R2-2020)
*Christian Fulton (Titans, R2-2020)
*Derrick Stingley (Texans, R1-2022)
Cordale Flott (Giants, R3-2022)
Special team (2)
PK Cade York (Brown, 4-2022)
LS Blake Ferguson (Dolphins, June 2020)
* Expected to debut in 2022.