Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams and Tre’Davious White aren’t the only LSU newcomers making a rapid impact in the NFL this preseason.
Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and linebacker Kendell Beckwith were passed over in the draft’s early rounds, but they’ve needed only a few weeks of training camp to break into NFL lineups with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively.
Godchaux, who was taken in the fifth round of April’s NFL draft, appears to have won the starting defensive tackle job for the Miami Dolphins, beating out Jordan Phillips for the spot.
He’s won rave reviews in Dolphins camp.
Davon Godchaux is the most impressive third-day rookie I've seen here in my six years on the beat.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 17, 2017
Based on his production against SEC competition while at LSU, it’s hard to explain why NFL teams undervalued Godchaux.
Last season, he finished fourth on the team with 62 tackles, a rarity for an interior lineman, while playing all 12 games. He also registered 6.5 sacks –second on the team behind pass-rushing star Arden Key – and had two fumble recoveries.
Beckwith, meanwhile, has turned his third-round selection in Tampa Bay into a shot at serious playing time with the Buccaneers.
Like Godchaux, Beckwith demonstrated at LSU that he could handle big-time competition. He was a Butkus Award semifinalist as a junior and finished his senior season with 91 tackles in only 10 games.
Injury – specifically, a torn ACL sustained last November with the Tigers – caused his slide down the draft board.
However, Beckwith’s recovery has progressed far ahead of schedule. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said that he was the team’s most improved player after only four practices.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, Beckwith got the start at strong-side linebacker in place of the injured Davonte Bond, and immediately staked a claim for regular action with a pair of tackles for loss. He finished with four first-half tackles, tied for the team lead before the reserves entered in the later going.
With blue-chip prospects Fournette, the starting running back for the Jaguars, and Adams already lined up for safety duties with the New York Jets, there’s a strong chance that LSU rookies could make a bigger collective impact across the NFL in 2017 than newcomers from any other school.
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