This is the second half of the interview with NFL Draft expert and college football analyst Mike Detillier. In addition to the comprehensive draft guide he produces annually, Mike Detillier is a commentator on WWL 870 AM Sports Talk program and now has an expanded role with ESPN’s SEC and draft coverage.
In this part of the interview, Mike focuses on the new relationship with Coach Ed Orgeron and the New Orleans Saints franchise, where double purple and gold (St. Aug & LSU) running back Leonard Fournette will be picked in the first round, whether the Saints will finally pick an LSU player after a long period of seemingly avoiding Death Valley, and the talent the state of Louisiana is contributing to the 2017 NFL Draft.
MB: Turning up river to the Stately Oaks, it seems Coach O and the Saints have hit it off. Is this an indication that Airline Drive are looking at drafting an LSU player for the first time since Al Woods?
MD: I think they will. I hope it’s Duke Riley-the outside linebacker from LSU in Round 3, if he lasts that long.
No player in this draft class made as big a jump in one year as Riley did. He had a free agent grade in August. Right now, he is a projected late 2nd or early 3rd round pick. Great story and he is a total effort player and I think that part of the game and also in life is overlooked by many.
MB: Running back Leonard Fournette seems to be all over the first round draft board. Where do you see the St. Augustine grad going?
MD: He doesn’t get beyond Carolina with the 8th spot, but there is a lot of buzz about teams targeting the Tennessee Titans pick at #5, if Fournette is on the board and trading up to get him. The Philadelphia Eagles are one of those teams. I know the Jacksonville Jaguars really like him too. They pick ahead of the Titans.
If he falls to Carolina you will hear the enamel come off the teeth of fans of other teams in the NFC South, and especially Saints fans to play him twice a year.
MB: Your philosophy when it comes to the draft is “fill the need” while teams say the pick the best player, but in reality that is not the case.
MD: I agree totally. To jump into your area, you do a lot in the political world and as you well know the worst thing in politics is to be boring. Just ask our president.
People today want to hear what they think and make it entertaining. That’s not what politics should be about, but in reality; .that’s the world we live in. In the sports world they all say it’s the best player, but it’s always the best player at the biggest need spot. It sounds good to the media and fans, but in today’s world you are paid to fill needs of today and also next year.
You really can’t look beyond 2 to 3 years in the NFL when filling needs. That’s why the draft is so important. You have to hit on players that you are paying the NFL version of minimal wage money. When you miss time after time you back yourself in a corner and become desperate and have to reach sometimes.
MB: Your draft guide this year is 210 pages long and weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces. it’s so thorough that it would be more accurate to call it a “Draft Encyclopedia” than a “Draft Guide”. How many hours do you invest in producing this book and can folks still order a copy in advance of the draft?
MD: I take a little time off in the summer, but I spend time every day on the book and compiling information on the book and watching film. I’m a bit of a grinder in that category and so it’s part of what I do every day to evaluate college players coming to the league. Yes, they can order off of SaintsReport.com and MikeDetillier.com.
MB: You are all over the country doing television and radio and you have worked for a lot of folks including ESPN. What’s your deal with the Four Letter network. You and former Miss LSU Jennifer Hale have made the big time.
MD: Well, Jennifer is a very talented reporter and journalist, and she’s terrific in what she does. One of the hardest working people I know.
I have worked for ESPN for years in different spots on both television and radio, but I will do more work covering the SEC , LSU, and keeping an eye out on standouts in the smaller schools in the South.
I work a lot of ESPN stations radio and as that expands I will do some television also. We will work out the details and it won’t curtail anything I do with WWL Radio, or any of the things I do today. We will work around my scheduled stuff. I’m flexible and they are also.
MB: You have spoken about this being the most fruitful year ever in your 30 years covering the NFL for talent coming out of Louisiana. That’s saying something.
MD: Well Mike, it is. I have a list below that shows the players from this state that could be drafted or signed as free agents. I have seen nothing like it in my timeframe from a numbers standpoint
MB: Can you throw out a few names?
MD: Got a pen? I can throw them all out to you.
Leonard Fournette-Halfback LSU St. Augustine HS
Tre’Davious White-Cornerback LSU Green Oaks HS
Cam Robinson-Offensive Tackle Alabama West Monroe HS
Tim Williams-Outside Linebacker Alabama University Lab HS
Duke Riley-Outside Linebacker LSU John Curtis HS
Carlos Henderson-Wide Receiver Louisiana Tech McDonogh 35 HS
Jeremy Cutrer-Cornerback Middle Tennessee Jewel Sumner HS
Kendell Beckwith-Middle Linebacker LSU East Feliciana HS
Davon Godchaux-Defensive Tackle LSU Plaquemines HS
Tanzel Smart- Defensive Tackle Tulane Scottlandville Magnet
Chad Williams-Wide Receiver Grambling Madison Prep HS
Elijah McGuire-Halfback UL-Lafayette Vandebilt Catholic HS
Xavier Woods- Safety Louisiana Tech West Monroe HS
Travin Dural-Wide Receiver LSU Breaux Bridge HS
Trent Taylor-Wide Receiver Louisiana Tech Evangel Christian HS
Josh Boutte-Offensive Guard LSU Westgate HS
Trenton DeCoud-Cornerback Oregon State Lakeshore HS
Dwayne Thomas-Cornerback LSU O.Perry Walker HS
Cethan Carter-Tight End Nebraska Rummel HS
Cameron Tom-Offensive Center Southern Mississippi. Catholic HS
D’Nerius Antoine-Strong Safety Southern Mississippi Westgate HS
Weston Steelhammer- Strong Safety Air Force Calvary Baptist Academy
Lenard Tillery-Halfback Southern (LA.) McKinley HS
Speedy Noil-Wide Receiver Texas A&M Edna Karr HS
Arthur Maulet-Cornerback Memphis Bonnabel HS
B.J. Singleton-Defensive Tackle Houston Destrehan HS
DeSean Smith- Tight End LSU Barbe HS
Otha Peters-Outside Linebacker UL-Lafayette Covington HS
MB: Sure you didn’t leave anyone out?
MD: LSU track star, now turned football wide receiver, Cyril Grayson (Rummel HS), has signed on with the Seattle Seahawks.
MB: Thank again Mike for making time during the busiest week in your year.
MD: No problem Mike, happy to talk.