The LSU Tigers welcome back one of the best groups of receivers in the SEC in 2013, but they will need to maximize their potential if the team truly wants to succeed on offense.
Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. comprise an outside receiver tandem as good as any in the nation, but you would not necessarily know it from the numbers. The Tigers finished 92nd in the country in passing in 2012, with only 12 scores through the air.
While some of that can be attributed to LSU's run-heavy attack or quarterback Zach Mettenberger's inconsistency, much of it must be put on the wideouts.
Landy and Beckham are certainly not the only players in the conversation, but they are the leaders of the Tigers receiving corps.
The two veterans complement each other nicely. Landry is extremely physical at 6'1", 195 pounds. He can be counted on to outmuscle defensive backs in the air and is always a reliable downfield blocker.
Beckham, on the other hand, is the fastest receiver on the squad. While he is not quite as big as Landry, he makes up for it with great pure speed and lethal moves in the open field.
Both are capable of making outstanding plays on the outside. Landry proved that with his acrobatic one-handed catch against Arkansas.
However, both have made an unfortunate habit of dropping easy balls as well.
The importance of the Tigers passing game was perhaps most evident in their 14-6 loss to Florida in 2012. There is a direct correlation between Mettenberger's ability to complete throws and the success of the LSU offense.
Against Florida, Mettenberger was only 11 of 25 on his passes for 158 yards.
However, not all of the blame can be put on the quarterback. Landry dropped a couple of passes that he should have caught, and the team as a whole made a habit of letting the ball slip through their hands in the second half.
Beckham did beat his man deep down the sideline at one point late in the third quarter, but he was stripped at the end of the play by safety Matt Elam and lost the ball for his team.
The two receivers can also too often be seen running sloppy routes or coasting out of their breaks instead of running through deeper passes from their quarterback.
Landry and Beckham will be helped by seniors Kadron Boone and James Wright, who both were useful weapons in 2012.
Considering the high turnover rates for the Tigers at running back, not to mention the indefinite suspension of Jeremy Hill, LSU's receivers will be even more important to the team's success in 2013.
Mettenberger has the potential to become a top-tier quarterback in the SEC. He has a cannon for an arm and throws quite well on the move.
Nonetheless, his ceiling will remain relatively low if his receivers do not maximize on their own sky-high potential.
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