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April 28, 2013

Three Tigers selected on final day of NFL draft

The final four rounds of the NFL draft were rather quiet for former LSU football players Saturday.

Cornerback Tharold Simon was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round. Minutes later, the Tennessee Titans selected defensive end Lavar Edwards. Seattle then picked running back Spencer Ware in the sixth round.

What was more notable Saturday was the list of non-drafted Tigers players, including three who had remaining eligibility - punter Brad Wing, offensive tackle Chris Faulk and running back Michael Ford. Seniors Russell Shepard and P.J. Lonergan were not chosen.

Those players will have the chance to sign a free agent contract with the team of their choice. Minutes after the conclusion of the draft, Shepard tweeted that he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia also signed Wing.

Simon admitted that he was somewhat concerned about his draft status after being arrested in his hometown of Eunice on Thursday night.

"I was worried (arrest) might prevent me from getting drafted," said Simon on a conference call with the Seattle media. "I'm a humble guy. I'm embarrassed by what happened. I have about 30 witnesses who saw that I did nothing wrong.

"I talked to the people at Seattle about it. It was my fault. But, it was a small incident. I have seen people get in way lot more trouble and still get drafted. Now my focus is to go up to Seattle, compete and play football."

Simon fits the mold of the Seahawks starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, both of whom are tall and physical. The 6-foot-3 Simon is well aware of the physical similarity with Sherman and Browner.

"I know how they play here," Simon said. "They like tall, physical corners. I am going to show them that I fit in. I know they like me a lot."

Ware may have a difficult time making the Seahawks' 53-man roster. Seattle has two returning tailbacks - Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin - and drafted Texas A&M's Christine Michael. Ware's best chance to make the roster would be to beat out fullback Michael Robinson.

Edwards was somewhat surprised that he was chosen by Tennessee. According to Edwards, he had limited conversations with people from the Titans organization.

"I talked with (Titans) a little bit at the Senior Bowl, but I talked more with other teams," Edwards said. "I don't know too much about the Titans. They drafted me, so I'm pretty sure I can play with them."

Edwards spent most of his LSU career playing behind Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery. Mingo was picked in the first round by the Cleveland Browns, while Montgomery was chosen in the third round by the Houston Texans. Now, Edwards gets out from under their shadow.

"I wasn't looking for recognition," Edwards said. "Whenever I got out there, I just played as hard as I could. I wanted to show I was as good if not better than those two. I take a lot of pride in my snaps. I knew they were going to be limited, so I tried to make plays when I had the opportunity to make them."

A total of 63 players from the Southeastern Conference were chosen by NFL teams in three days. Edwards believes the SEC has prepared him for the NFL.

"Every week, it doesn't matter if it's Alabama or Vanderbilt, you are in for good competition in the SEC," Edwards said. If you play great competition, you can become a better player. My speed, as well as my overall athleticism, is my top asset. I think I can fit in any system."

LSU had nine players drafted - the highest number in school history. The Tigers had eight players selected in 1948. Ware was the only offensive player chosen. The six defensive players picked in the first three rounds was a first for any school.


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