With a little more than a week before the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, teams are still awaiting the decisions of a few big names.
That includes LSU edge K’Lavon Chaisson, whose draft stock will largely depend on his post-season medical evaluations.
Dane Brugler, NFL draft analyst for The Athletic, recently listed Chaisson as the No. 26 player in his latest big board. Brugler points to Chaisson’s “impressive” edge speed and first-step power.
However, Chaisson’s past injury issues will be heavily scrutinized, a top analyst tells Fanspeak.
“Scouts like his overall athleticism and ability to force the action upfield, but injuries are a major issue and could hurt his draft stock a full round, if not more,” Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network Draft Analyst and Insider, told Fanspeak in an email interview.
“I’m told K’Lavon is heavily leaning towards entering the draft, as are many LSU underclassmen.”
Chaisson (6-4, 250) has 6.5 sacks this season, including two in LSU’s win over Oklahoma.
Not to be overlooked in LSU’s win over Oklahoma was the play of Tigers edge K’Lavon Chaisson.
Simply put, he not only blew up a talented Sooner offensive line, Chaisson blew up Twitter as well.
A snapshot from the Twitterverse includes:
Dude had only 4.5 sacks this year? Good gracious. He is a destroyer of men.
— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) December 28, 2019
Packers need to trade up and get this young Stud from LSU #18 OLB K’Lavon Chaisson!!!
— Russ Boram (@BoramRuss) December 28, 2019
I wouldn’t mind the lions trading back if they don’t get chase young and picking up k’lavon chaisson
— ladiesman217 (@cubanopalmtree) December 28, 2019
I want K’Lavon Chaisson in a Ravens uniform next year
— 𝕁𝕒𝕜𝕖 🎒 (@HoIIywoodBrown) December 28, 2019
Chaisson finished the game with 6 tackles and 2 sacks en route to winning defensive MVP honors.
In terms of his draft stock, Chaisson has good size (6-foot-4, 250) and is an athletic marvel with an explosive first step. So why does Chaisson only have 6.5 sacks for the season? One word: Injuries.
Chaisson’s extensive injury history will have a major impact on his draft standing, regardless of when the redshirt sophomore enters the draft.
He finished his freshman season with 27 tackles, 2 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss in 12 games, which landed him on the SEC’s All-Freshman team. It also started the hype machine for Chaisson, but that ended quickly, as he suffered a torn ACL in the season-opener vs. Miami.
So, Chaisson took a medical redshirt year and came back for the 2019 season, with some predicting that he would break LSU’s single-season sack record.
Instead, injuries once again slowed him down. He suffered an injury during fall camp that kept him out of practices until the season opener against Georgia Southern. Chaisson started the next game against Texas, registering his first sack of the season before an ankle injury kept him out of the next two games.
He returned Oct. 5 to play against Jordan Love and Utah State, but only had 1 solo tackle. In fact, Chaisson had four games in which he recorded four or fewer tackles, including:
However, the proverbial light seemed to turn on for Chaisson after the Arkansas game. All but two of his sacks this season have come in the final three games, including one sack against the vaunted Georgia offensive line that features two potential first-round picks at offensive tackle.
For the season, Chaisson has 58 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 6 QB hits and 2 pass breakups.
Thus far, Chaisson’s rankings has been all over the place in various mock drafts, with some predicting he’ll go late in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft to a fifth-round grade by other publications. He was ranked as the 13th-best player in the College Football Playoff by Pro Football Focus.
“Chaisson has high-level reps that make you think he could be special someday. He won the edge in the SEC championship game against future top-10 pick Andrew Thomas — a feat we almost never saw this season. His game-to-game consistency leaves a lot to be desired. He could stand to add some strength to his frame, and he could return to school.”
Big fan of K’Lavon Chaisson.
Love seeing his leadership. He’s a freak athlete. https://t.co/wa0AkT4el4
— Rob Proffitt (@BreakinDownFilm) December 30, 2019