The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns finished an up-and-down season with a disappointing loss to Houston in the Independence Bowl. One of the more impressive units for Louisiana was their defense, which is evident when looking at their list of potential NFL Draft prospects. Here are the Louisiana scouting reports for each player who could be selected.
Louisiana 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Andre Jones, LB
Strengths: Explosive pass-rushing college defender who has been productive over the past three seasons. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Explosive and shows plenty of athleticism in his game. Instinctive and plays assignment football.
Quickly diagnoses plays, easily changes direction, and moves well laterally. Strong for his size, stands up blockers to allow teammates to make plays on the ball, and doesn’t give up on the action. Disciplined with coverage assignments and can flip his hips, drop off the line, and cover running backs in the short field.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t get much depth on pass drops. Doesn’t really play to his 40-time or show a closing burst.
Overall: Jones has been a terrific defender for Louisiana over the past three seasons and has watched his draft stock take off as of late. He projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker and will be a situational pass rusher on Sundays who is also used on special teams.
Want more information on Jones? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Andre Jones, LB, Louisiana | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Bralen Trahan, S
Strengths: Productive three-year starter with poor speed. Breaks down well, quickly diagnoses plays, and flows laterally. Cuts off corners from running backs, gives effort against the run, and takes proper angles to plays. Aggressive and wraps up tackling. Displays decent range on the field, has a burst to the ball out of his plant, and keeps the action in front of him. Displays good route recognition in zone.
Weaknesses: Lacks flat-out, next-level speed. Must play facing the action. Not a stout safety.
Overall: Trahan is a heady defensive back who overachieves and has the ability to make a roster as a fourth safety.
Carlos Rubio, OL
Strengths: Talented offensive lineman who has flown under the radar the past three seasons. Starts with excellent knee bend and pad level, fires off the snap into blocks, and displays strength. Stays square, fights with his hands, and anchors at the point.
Displays solid footwork off the edge, steers defenders from their angles of attack, and shows the ability to adjust. Makes excellent use of angles in pass protection. Turns opponents from the line as a run blocker.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent throughout his college career. Lacks size and may not have much growth potential.
Overall: Rubio has impressed me in spots the past three seasons, as he’s fundamentally sound and plays above his head. He lacks the strength to be a power-gap blocker, but Rubio has an upside and should be given practice-squad consideration this season.
Chris Smith, RB
Strengths: Explosive ball carrier with home-run-hitting speed. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and hits the hole with authority. Displays vision, quickly finds the running lanes, and has an immediate burst. Consistently runs north/south and gets a head of steam going, then falls forward when tackled.
Doesn’t go down without a fight and plays big football. Possesses outstanding short-area quickness as well as footwork and makes defenders miss. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who adjusts to the throw and makes the reception in stride.
Weaknesses: Tends to gather himself cutting back against the grain. Not a big-bodied back or short-yardage ball carrier. Watched his rushing numbers fall off significantly last season.
Overall: Smith was considered a potential late-round prospect by NFL scouts entering the season, yet he failed to meet expectations. He possesses the speed and skill to be a situational runner and has enough ability to surprise in camp this summer.
Eric Garror, CB
Strengths: Well-rounded cornerback with return potential. Quick pedaling in reverse, smooth flipping his hips, and keeps receivers in front of him. Displays a burst to the ball out of his plant and effectively times pass defenses. Fires upfield and gives effort defending the run or stopping screen passes. Solid punt returner.
Weaknesses: Must be more consistent with his backpedal. Side-shuffles downfield, which hurts his ability to drive the ball.
Overall: Garror was a consistent cornerback at Louisiana over the past three seasons and has enough ability to be used in dime packages, but he must produce as a punt returner this summer.
Michael Jefferson, WR
Strengths: Developing receiver with plenty of upside. Fights with his hands to separate from defenders, tracks the pass in the air, extends, and snatches the ball away from his frame. Comes back to the quarterback in the middle of the field to make himself an available target, displays outstanding eye/hand coordination, and makes the difficult over-the-shoulder receptions downfield.
Keeps the play in bounds after the catch, has deceptive speed, and works to pick up as much yardage as possible. Makes the difficult catch in contorted positions and displays outstanding focus. Effective downfield blocker.
Weaknesses: Shows inconsistency in his game. Marginally productive until last season. Doesn’t have an expanded route tree.
Overall: Jefferson was flying under the radar coming into the season, but he showed a lot of next-level skill in 2022 and had a terrific campaign. He possesses NFL measurables and comes with upside, and if he continues to develop, Jefferson is a legitimate pro receiver.
Want more information on Jefferson? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Michael Jefferson, WR, Louisiana | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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