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|Football draft kills down time|
It's the end of June and with the College World Series winding down, things are slower than a Brett Favre decision.
So to pass the time until Lane Kiffin says something else dumb, I'm going to hold a different kind of football draft. Who would be the first 20 LSU players taken if every single player who donned the purple and gold were available after their senior year?
I told you I was bored football-less.
Of course I do have the advantage of knowing what these players did after college.
My first pick would be Bert Jones, who threw 28 touchdown passes over 17 career starts, but is known more for two games than anything else.
Jones played for Charlie McClendon, who liked to pass the ball about as much as Nick Saban likes to talk into a microphone at halftime of a football game.
Despite that, Jones finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1972.
Jones will always be remembered for his last-second touchdown pass to Brad Davis to beat Ole Miss. Also, his amazing effort against Notre Dame in Tiger Stadium in 1971 when the Tigers shocked the Irish 28-8, teaming up with cousin Andy Hamilton on three touchdown passes.
Jones went on to a brilliant career in Baltimore, where his leadership was a big reason for the Colts' success.
A cannon of an arm didn't hurt either. Jones' favorite target in Baltimore was Louisiana Tech's Roger Carr.
Speaking of Cannon, my second pick would be Billy Cannon, whose final year at LSU was in 1959. Cannon led LSU to an AP national title as a junior and won the Heisman as senior.
Cannon will be forever known for his thrilling 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night.
As big as Cannon was (OK, at 6-foot-1 it would not be as big now) he was just as fast. He was the third-fastest person in the country as a senior, finishing behind Abilene Christian's Bobby Morrow and Charlie Tidwell of Kansas in the 100-yard dash.
Cannon played running back for the Houston Oilers and tight end for Oakland in the pros.
Cannon is one of 20 players who played the entire 10 years of the American Football League's existence.
My third pick would be Johnny Robinson, who played at the same time as Cannon.
Ferriday native Max Fugler, who played along with Cannon and Robinson on the 1958 national championship team, told me last year that Robinson was the best athlete on the team.
"He was a super athlete," Fugler said. "A lot of people don't realize he was an all-State basketball player and was drafted as a catcher by the Cincinnati Reds. He spent nine years with the Kansas City Chiefs, but tennis was his strongest suit. His dad was the tennis coach and Johnny would leave practice and go beat the No. 1 player from the other team."
Robinson also won a Super Bowl ring with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Five times the interception leader on the Chiefs, Robinson redefined the role of the safety in professional football. A member of the All-time All-AFL Team and another of only twenty players who were in the American Football League for its entire ten-year existence, Robinson was a member of a team that won eight division titles, three league championships and Super Bowl IV. The Chiefs were an amazing 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception.
My next pick would be Tommy Casanova, who finished up in 1971. Casanova actually pulled a Bo Jackson by playing offense and defense. He was so much fun to watch on punt returns. Casanova was an All-Pro with the Cincinnati Bengals at safety.
My fifth pick would be Dalton Hilliard, who finished up in 1985.
Hilliard was the lesser known running back, but by the time he finished, no one remembered how great Garry James was supposed to be.
I remember LSU coaches being down on their defense during summer drills, not understanding that hardly anybody could stop Hilliard, who had a great career with the New Orleans Saints. They soon found out it wasn't just their own defense having trouble stopping this guy. My knees still hurt watching clips of this shifty guy stop and go on a dime.
My fifth pick is Alan Faneca, who finished up at LSU in 1997. Faneca has been called one of the best offensive linemen in the game the past few years and also has a Super Bowl ring via the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Another rather unsung running back is my No. 6 pick. Joseph Addai has proven to be a valuable running back in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, also earning a Super Bowl ring.
Addai was the third running back selected by the Colts in the first round since 1994, when they selected Marshall Faulk with the second overall pick in 1994 and Edgerrin James fourth overall in 1999. During the 2006 season, Addai led all rookie running backs in rushing yards with 1,081. He also became the first NFL running back to exceed 1,000 rushing yards without starting a regular-season game.
My No. 7 pick is center Kevin Mawae, who finished up in 1993.
Mawae, a second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, is one of the top centers of recent times, having been selected to the Pro Bowl on six consecutive occasions (1999-2004). His unbroken streak of 177 games came to an end in October 2005 with a serious triceps injury to his left arm, and he missed the rest of the season.
Anthony McFarland of Winnsboro comes in as my No. 8 selection. How can you look over some guy named Booger?
McFarland was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. He also played for the Indianapolis Colt and won two Super Bowl rings in his career — one with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII and another with the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Another guy with a Super Bowl ring - from the first ever played, comes in at No. 9.
Jim Taylor, who was an All-American at LSU in 1957, was a running back for the Green Bay Packers from 1958-66, and for the New Orleans Saints in their first season of 1967.
Taylor was selected in the second round of the 1958 NFL Draft, the 15th overall pick. He was a member of four NFL championship teams (1961, 1962, 1965, and 1966).
In the Packers 16-7 championship win over the New York Giants in 1962, Taylor set a championship record with 31 carries (for 85 yards) and scored Green Bay's only touchdown of the game. In January 1967, Taylor and the Packers played in Super Bowl I, in which they easily defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Taylor was the top rusher of the game with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown (with his score being the first rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history).
My No. 10 pick is Y.A Tittle. In his most prolific college season, Tittle passed for 780 yards, leading the Fighting Tigers to a 9-1 record and a No. 8 ranking in the final AP poll. LSU then tied Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
In a famous game against Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on November 1, 1947 (do you sense a pattern?), Tittle broke through the middle of the Rebel line and appeared to be on his way to a possible winning touchdown for LSU. Ole Miss tacklers, however, crushed Tittle's belt on his football pants while he was crashing through the line. As Tittle ran down the field, he continued to grab at his pants because of the broken belt. He was unsuccessful in his efforts, however, and when his pants fell to his knees, the Rebel defense caught up to him and tackled him short of the goal line. Ole Miss eventually won the game 20-18.
Tittle was the first and one of only seven quarterbacks in NFL history to have achieved consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons.
The final 10 picks will be included in a future column.