LSU announced on Friday that junior safety Eric Reid will forego his senior season for the 2013 NFL Draft and junior cornerback Tharold Simon will join him, according to several reports. LSU linebacker Kevin Minter announced his decision to go pro on Thursday and several other LSU juniors, like defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, have yet to announce their decision.
Reid has a chance to be the first safety drafted in April, currently ranking as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 free safety prospect and mid-to-late first round pick.
“I've been very fortunate and blessed to have been able to play football at LSU,” Reid said in a release. “It was always my dream to go to LSU and play football.”
A two-year starter in the LSU secondary, Reid finishes his collegiate career with 189 total tackles and six interceptions. He showed his versatility for the Tigers and was used in-the-box as an extra linebacker and in the deep half of the field in coverage. Reid is a violent hitter and has the range to make plays all over the field, but he needs to show better discipline at the NFL level.
“I want to thank Coach [Les] Miles and all of the people that played a role to get me to this point in my life,” Reid added. “This as a very difficult decision because I always wanted to be a Tiger and I love LSU. But, after careful consideration and talking with my family, I feel like this is the right time to make this decision. I will always be a LSU Tiger.”
Simon entered the 2012 season with high expectations as LSU was replacing Morris Claiborne, Ron Brooks and Tyrann Matheiu at cornerback. But he looked overwhelmed in his first year as a starter and showed that, while talented, he still needs seasoning before he's ready to start in the NFL. Simon currently projects as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8-ranked junior cornerback and likely third-round pick.
Listed at 6 feet 3 and 193 pounds, Simon looks the part and has the length to match up well with NFL receivers, but he needs to improve his footwork and discipline to hold up in man coverage. He led the Tigers in interceptions (4) this season, adding 38 tackles and eight pass break-ups. While Simon is raw, his physical tools will be enticing on draft weekend.