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2020 NFL Draft Profile: LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry

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Cushenberry is a plug and play starter from day 1 in the NFL and I believe will have a very long and productive NFL career. Denver could do a lot worse in the 2nd round.

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Lloyd Cushenberry was a two year starter for the LSU Tigers, started in 28 games over the last two years, and was an integral piece of the the offensive line that helped protect future #1 overall pick Joe Burrow on their way to an undefeated title run as one of the best teams in college football history.

Cushenberry is the ultimate teammate. In 2019, he won the honor at the beginning of the season to wear the jersey #18, which is an honor LSU bestows on one player each year that exemplifies being a selfless teammate and a model LSU Tiger. Cushenberry is the first offensive lineman to win that award at LSU.

In addition, he continued his decorated year with an first-team All-SEC nod and LSU’s offensive line was awarded the best offensive line in college football, the Joe Moore award.

I had a chance to watch and talk with Cushenberry while down at the Senior Bowl and came away extremely impressed. I thought he looked like the best lineman down there for most of the practices. His 1on1 battles with Javon Kinlaw in the trenches were a treat.

I asked Cushenberry what his responsibilities were in Joe Brady’s offense that lit the league on fire last year, and he said all the protections up front start with him, and he has taken on that responsibility since his sophomore year. This past year, he said he worked well with Joe Burrow as Joe would make last minute checks or adjustments if he saw something, but Cushenberry was the leader on that offensive line and the primary communicator for setting protections.

This is big, because it not only shows his intelligence and maturity, but it also bodes well for a quick transition at the next level.

Lloyd Cushenberry

Center | LSU | Junior

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 312 pounds | 40-time: 5.27 seconds

Arm Length: 34 1/8” | Hands: 10 3/8”

Film Room

Scouting Report

  • Great size for a center
  • Arm length is ridiculous at 34+ inches
  • Really strong and quick hands. Has a nice quick punch to get into defenders right after the snap
  • Moves ok but not the most athletic guy, ran primarily zone last at LSU, but says he’s comfortable in any scheme
  • Great football IQ, handled all the protections and line calls at LSU
  • Works well on an island in pass blocking as a center. This was really on display at the Senior Bowl. He looks like a guard out there at times pass blocking.
  • Isn’t the most powerful guy.
  • Sometimes struggles initially against bull rushes but does a nice job reseting feet and hands to recover.
  • Good recognition of twists/stunts. Passes them off nicely
  • Can improve on creating push at the POA

What analysts are saying about Lloyd Cushenberry

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein

Starting-caliber center with big hands, long arms and good core strength to match power on power when needed. Cushenberry isn’t rigid or stiff, but he does have some limitations with lateral quickness, which show up against athletic edge rushers and with potential run game limitations in space. He’s extremely difficult to bull-rush and is rarely beaten to the punch in his pass sets. LSU was frequently tasked with five-man protections in its passing scheme, which put Cushenberry on more of an island than he will see as a pro, so scouts should account for that. He’s a do-your-job prospect with the strength to handle an odd-front nose and could be a long-time starter.

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs

Lloyd Cushenberry projects as an NFL starter. Cushenberry possesses tremendous body control, hip mobility, short area quickness and pairs it with a high level of football intelligence. There are currently lapses in his hand placement and footwork at first contact — but once he’s ironed out there he figures to be an effective starter in just about any offensive system in the league. He meets functional strength thresholds and effectively counters upfield attacks from A-gap defenders.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah

Cushenberry has ideal size, length and athleticism for the center position. He is quick to shoot his hands and dance with defenders in pass protection. He redirects very smoothly and plays with excellent awareness. He will give some ground versus power rushers before eventually settling down. He has the ability to reach/cutoff or create some movement on defenders over his nose in the run game. He’s very good at adjusting when he works up to the second level. Overall, Cushenberry needs to add some play strength, but he has all of the necessary tools to be a quality starting center very early in his NFL career.

The Athletic’s Dan Brugler (has Cushenberry ranked as his #1 center)

A two-year starter at LSU, Cushenberry lined up at center in offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s offense, earning team MVP honors in 2019. He became the first offensive lineman to be awarded LSU’s coveted No. 18 jersey (only wore it in practice), which is presented to a player with high character and “does all the right things.” Cushenberry anchors well in pass protection with his low hips and physical hands, quickly regaining his balance to redirect vs. counters. Although he doesn’t consistently bully in the run game, he stays connected to his man with quickness and tenacity on the move. Overall, Cushenberry needs to tweak some technical shortcomings, but he is an ironman with the lower body agility, natural power and dependable intangibles to be a starting NFL center.

Pro Football Focus

Cushenberry’s struggles with quicks this past season are a concern, but center is the position where that comes into play the least. His ability to stone any sort of bull-rush attempts into the backfield will still be coveted in the NFL.

Does Cushenberry make sense for the Broncos

The Broncos don’t currently have a starting center and Cushenberry is either the #1 or #2 ranked center in this draft, depending on who you read, so he absolutely makes sense for Denver. The issue will be what pick he goes. #15 is way too high, and even later in the first feels a little rich, but I don’t think he’ll be there at #46.

Maybe Denver gets lucky and he’s sitting there for the taking at #46. If that’s the case, I would run to the pod....er....conference call and hand in this pick. I would also be in favor of Denver coming up a few slots from #46 to secure him as well.

Cushenberry is a plug and play starter from day 1 in the NFL and I believe will have a very long and productive NFL career. Denver could do a lot worse in the 2nd round.

Poll

Do you like Lloyd Cushenberry in the 2nd round?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Yes
    (458 votes)
  • 22%
    Yes, but I wouldn’t trade up for him
    (146 votes)
  • 6%
    No
    (40 votes)
644 votes total Vote Now