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What we learned: DB says Landry tougher to cover than OBJ

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HOOVER, Ala. -- As impressively as Jarvis Landry has played for the Miami Dolphins, the fourth-year wide receiver's NFL career hasn't tracked quite like that of his former LSU teammate, Odell Beckham. But back before either had ever caught a pass in the pros, Beckham's production at LSU didn't really separate him from Landry.

In fact, Tray Matthews faced them both, and believes Landry was the best receiver he's ever faced at the college level.

"I've been playing college football for a long time now. I've been playing so long, I played against Odell (Beckham) and Jarvis Landry when we played LSU at Georgia," Matthews said. "Jarvis Landry seemed like the real deal. Odell really didn't do too much, but I'll say Jarvis Landry (was the best)."

Now at Auburn, Matthews is referring to his freshman year at Georgia in 2013, when the Bulldogs beat the Tigers, 44-41. Landry caught 10 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in that game. Matthews' recollection of Beckham's performance is apparently a bit fuzzy -- he pulled in six grabs for 118 yards -- but Landry is the one who stood out to the former Bulldog. For the year, Beckham (59 catches, 1,152 yards, eight TDs) and Landry (77-1,193-10) had similar production.

Of course, Beckham's star has now risen above Landry and most of the NFL's other top receivers. But for Matthews, personal experience counts for something. And on that night, Landry's impression was the strongest.

Here are five other things we learned Thursday at SEC Media Days:

2. Smith started early. Auburn OL Braden Smith was selected as one of College Football 24/7's most freakish athletes of 2017, and now we know how he got there. Smith said his father set up a weight room in his basement as a child, and he began lifting as a fourth-grader. "He taught me about it, but he never forced me to do it. I could've stopped, but I liked how I was developing and it was fun for me. Like a hobby almost," Smith said. Another of his hobbies? Making easy work of defensive linemen. Smith can play guard or tackle and should be a standout among offensive linemen at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

3. Freeze laments Kelly's draft position. Where would former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly have been drafted had he been allowed to compete at the NFL Scouting Combine? Rebels coach Hugh Freeze can't say for sure, but he believes it would have been higher than the final pick of the 2017 draft.

4. Hurst's winding road. Hayden Hurst's path to becoming one of the top tight end prospects in college football was anything but traditional. He played three years of pro baseball after high school, then joined the South Carolina Gamecocks as a walk-on. Hurst, a Florida native, said the Pittsburgh Pirates paid him the equivalent of what his in-state tuition would have cost, but South Carolina's out-of-state fees forced him to pay out of pocket for a hefty balance. Hurst (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) caught 48 passes for 616 yards last year for the Gamecocks.

5. Malzahn protective of Newton. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn steered himself off-topic Thursday to take a poke at NFL officiating; specifically, where hits to his former QB Cam Newton are concerned.

6. Adams bringing quickness to Packers. Green Bay Packers rookie Montravius Adams of Auburn has imposing size at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, but former Tigers teammate Braden Smith said Adams' quickness is what will serve him best at the NFL level. "I've  gone one-on-one (in) pass rush (drills) with him before, and you wouldn't expect it seeing him out there, but he can give you a little head fake and get by you. He's going to be a solid player for Green Bay, I have no doubt about that," Smith said. Adams was selected in the third round by Green Bay at No. 93 overall.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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