Countdown to camp: Rush to the draft

GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

When defensive tackle Michael Brockers went No. 14 overall in the NFL draft to the St. Louis Rams, the natural question for LSU fans became, "Can our defensive line be as good without him?"

ESPN's Mel Kiper put some of those fears to rest within a day when he came out with his first Big Board for the 2013 draft and LSU defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo were two of his top five picks

So, yes, LSU's defensive line will be fine (especially when you add highly-regarded NFL prospect Bennie Logan at defensive tackle). Bring your worries back at the end of this season, after Montgomery and Mingo take their talents to the NFL.

Defensive end

Key returners: Sam Montgomery (6-4, 245, Jr.), Barkevious Mingo (6-5, 240, Jr.), Lavar Edwards (6-5, 264, Sr.).

Key Loss: Kendrick Adams (started ahead of Mingo).

Others returning: Chancey Aghayere (6-4, 279, Sr.), Jordan Allen (6-6, 252, So.), Justin Maclin (6-4, 241, So.), Jermauria Rasco (6-3, 255, So.).

Newcomer: Danielle Hunter (6-3, 235, Fr.).

Strengths: Montgomery and Mingo are high-end talents and bring ferocious pass rushes which combined for 17.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss. Mingo had a team-high 15 TFLs despite getting credited with just four starts (the bigger Adams was usually a starter and Mingo a pass rush specialist). Playing together, they will likely be the most disruptive pair of ends in the country.

Weaknesses: The main reason Mingo didn't start was when you put him on the field with Montgomery, the Tigers get awfully small at the position. Veterans Edwards and Aghayere can give the Tigers size at the position if needed, but when its two "small" ends are also two of the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft, LSU may choose to live with being a tad light at the position.