Louisiana State University, known as LSU popularly, is a powerhouse in the SEC of college football. Regularly a contender for the BCS and strong, well-rounded team, LSU provides at least half a dozen NFL draft picks each offseason.
Odell Beckham Jr. was selected 12th overall by the New York Giants last night. In 2013, no fewer than nine LSU players were drafted, with two in the first round. In 2012, two LSU players went in the top 15 picks.
The Baltimore Ravens possess an affinity for finding talent in many places and many programs. Last night they took an Alabama player in the first round for the first time in franchise history.
Despite the success that LSU has had for years and the cornucopia of NFL-ready talent it has produced, LSU has another unusual distinction - it has never provided the Baltimore Ravens with an NFL draft pick.
That's right, not once in 18 years have the Baltimore Ravens drafted a player from LSU.
I first came across this strange fact because of something off-hand and highly innocuous that I heard once reading a Ravens article one or two years ago. I no longer have the source to it so unfortunately I cant reference it but I still remember what it said. Hopefully I can dig it up at some point.
The context was a discussion with Steve Bisciotti about Bisciotti's preference for Notre Dame players and ACC players in the overarching discussion about Manti Te'o.
In his response, Bisciotti was responding to a question that the interviewer had asked whether Newsome has any schools he hates or favors in his evaluation.
Bisciotti said something to this effect: "Ozzie always tells me 'Steve, you always want ACC and Notre Dame players. But we have to look at all schools.' I told him just once I want to have a 7th round selection that I can make an owner's pick but I'd never do that. One thing I've learned about Ozzie is that except for one particular school Ozzie doesn't play favorites for or against any program."
I remember finding the almost imperceptible comment really, really intriguing at the time, like he had almost revealed something but glossed over it.
I started looking into Ravens draft history to find if there were any standouts. We know the Ravens have drafted many players from Oklahoma, Miami, Alabama, and on and on from every conference at every major program.
With one exception: LSU. The current employer of former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, LSU has never furnished the Ravens' with a single draft pick.
Now, this could be complete coincidence - it almost seems like it must. After all, LSU delivers top talent every single year to the NFL.
Maybe that's all it is. But for a known powerhouse, I find it very interesting that not once have we selected an LSU player.
Despite their pedigree, you'll find something else interesting. Very few stars have emerged from the LSU program in the NFL.
In fact, Patrick Peterson (1.5, 2012) and Alan Faneca (1.26, 1998) might be the only two. The rest have been occasionally good before regressing to mediocrity: Dwayne Bowe, Stevan Ridley, Devery Henderson, and so on.
Others have been flat out busts at their draft slot: Jamarcus Russell (1.1, 2007, an epic bust), LaRon Landry (1.6, 2007, underwhelmed in four teams thus far), Tyson Jackson (1.3, 2009, traded this past offseason), Barkevious Mingo (1.6, 2013, had an immensely pedestrian rookie season for a 6th overall pick) and so on.
Yet, LSU puts together dominant teams in college football. I don't watch much CFB but it sure seems that LSU does well every year. Maybe its coaching - they seem to take pedestrian Quarterbacks and top receivers and make a nice offense work. Les Miles is a respected coach and Cam Cameron had a nice first year there by all accounts.
So, maybe its just a strange coincidence - not impossible certainly, with only 5-10 draft picks a year and 18 seasons of draft history. Maybe there are other notable programs that the Ravens have never drafted from that just haven't been noticed yet.
But maybe there was something deeper in Steve Bisciotti's off-hand comment. It remains very interesting that a school like LSU has never delivered a player to the Baltimore Ravens.