LSU's defense wasn't loaded with seniors this year, likely a reason they struggled in multiple SEC games this year and seemed unpolished and inconsistent. However, even after losing Morris Claiborne to the draft and Tyrann Mathieu to suspension/removal from the team, the secondary wasn't viewed as potentially having a big let down, with safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tharold Simon returning.
After a very good, but not speculator year, safety Reid declared for the 2013 Draft a few days ago. And now, despite not playing up to the high standards many evaluators, including our own, expected, cornerback Tharold Simon has decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.
As said previously, Simon didn't live up to the lofty (even 1st round) expectations many expected this year. He was even included in the now infamous "LSU Trainer's Office Lack of Self-Discipline and Motivation" sign earlier this year.
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Here's what our SEC evaluator, Alex Brown, had to say about Tharold Simon
Posing a very long and lean 6’3 frame, Simon too often gives up separation at the route break due to his long pedal strides. Unable to keep his feet underneath his base throughout the stem, as well as being overly eager to flip his hips to turn and run, Simon will give up short and intermediate completions to savvy route runners.
Simon focuses his attention so much on making a play on the ball that he fails to maintain ideal technique. Most concerning to me is how ineffective he is when asked to press at the line of scrimmage; lacking the strength and hand placement to reroute his opponent, Simon loses off the line and is forced into recovery mode.
An unfinished product needing to improve in the footwork and technique departments, expect Simon, a likely 3rd or 4th round prospect, should have returned to LSU for his final year of eligibility.
As myself and Alex can agree, Simon didn't make the wise football-based decision in declaring for the 2013 NFL Draft. Whether it was because he intended to declare all-along, he got positive feedback from NFL teams, feels he's ready for the NFL, or possibly negative/less important reasons, he's made his choice: he's going pro. And he'll hope to join the likes of Morris Claiborne in the NFL soon, despite likely not equaling that 1st round draft choice expectation.