Lloyd Cushenberry III
2018 Vs: Auburn, Georgia, UCF 2019 Vs: Texas, Florida, Auburn, Alabama
Lloyd Cushenberry's influence off the field can't be understated. Voted permanent team captain, voted team MVP of the 19' season (yes, over Joe Burrow), awarded the #18 jersey (an extremely high honor at LSU, and the only OL to receive it, he opted to wear a patch instead of the jersey itself). He is one of those high character lockerroom influences teams will be interested in just for his effect on others. His play on the field, unfortunately, didn't quite match but there is some upside worth looking into. Against the pass, Cushenberry demonstrates very good strength and great anchor when his hands are right and leverage is good, for the latter more consistent than the former. In fact, I was surprised how often he maintained good pad level and leverage because his frame suggests he'd play tackle, not center. His longer arms for the interior suggest he can make the first contact but I didn't see that quite enough. In the run game, Cushenberry was solid at working through traffic to hit the LB. With the right coach (we know he has the right ethic) Cushenberry can develop into a very solid pass protector.
Plenty of concern with the on-field product. The biggest is his awareness and balance. Having Joe Burrow under center and Joe Brady's scheme helped masked a lot of the pressures that otherwise got through. Against better competition his eyes locked onto his assignment and he didn't see the field as well. Blitzes got through easier than I would hope though it's impossible to know who made the line adjustments. When engaged with a better pass rusher, Cushenberry would abandon technique and struggle to make the block. Occasionally this was enough, other times it was not. Was on the ground far more often than I'm comfortable with, lunging just enough to offset his balance and fall if he didn't make proper contact. Punch and grip were rather ineffective as sheds came easy. Very undynamic in the run game be it making any form of move block or block in space, or even just inline blocking and setting up lanes.
Lloyd Cushenberry hits all of the intangibles you look for and because of the success of his program, he should get a look at a day 2 flier. The team drafting him shouldn't start him early and look to rebuild him from the ground up. His frame suggests he can play multiple positions but he only started at Center over the last two years. His leadership on and off the field, reliability (28/28 starts over the past two years, was a spot starter the year before), and natural lower half strength make him a solid prospect. However, he will need to improve at a number of things to become a solid starter and projects to a good pass protector if he manages. Hand usage needs to be developed in pretty much every way, and learning to have a better grip will be difficult without developing holding tendencies. His punch and placement should be easier to develop. He needs to use this in combination with his lower body and pad level and he also has a chance to be a good in-line run blocker, but I don't expect him to become a much better blocker in space or on the move. If your team drafted Cushenberry be patient. Know that he's an upside pick who may struggle early, but has an influence that's extremely positive from inside the locker room.
Isn't a plus athlete. Very average to below-average. It isn’t too surprising given his body type and size, and he plays to where it doesn't affect him too much. Isn't explosive or quick, can't change direction too well and isn't overly flexible. While he didn't play tackle, his size and play style says it's possible he could play any line spot if given time.
Big Play Ability
Movement off L.O.S.
Pull & Block Outside
Adjust in Space
Use of Hands
Was disappointing in this regard as his natural strength and length didn't show up as well as you'd hope. An okay in-line run blocker who could open lanes via length and strength, but wasn't overwhelming by any strength. Lack of athleticism resulted in someone who wasn't good at move or dynamic run blocks either. Reach blocks were not common but was asked to pull block but he was only effective on half of those blocks. Was solid at working up to LBs off of combos.
Better as a pass protector, but still has some weaknesses. His length showed up a lot better here as he was able to keep defenders off of him, while his hand usage came together better and made it harder to shed off of him. While finer points were still missing like area awareness, hand placement, and against faster finesse rushers, he was quite good at setting an anchor and not allowing stronger bullrushes through. He excelled when he stayed in a phonebooth one on one, and the more he had to move around the more he faltered. I'd say he's pretty locked into a man/gap scheme where you don't move him around as much but kept him in the middle.
Ability to Combat Inside Move
Excellent competitor and leader in the LSU locker room. Awarded the #18 jersey which symbolizes leaders on and off the field, though he opted to wear in the form of a patch on his helmet. Vocal locker room presence, and leader on the field. Ideal candidate for a team undergoing a culture change. Highly productive and full-time starter for a championship team.
Points for being a strong leader and being integral to the offense, however, he was missing some critical awareness you want out of your center in terms of being aware of the play around him. May be better suited for guard.