Went on the air over in Louisiana with former NFL WR BILLY RYCKMAN for his Tuesday radio show. I walked through a potential SAINTS Draft with him. Here is that Draft.
Round1 Pick11 DEREK BARNETT/DE TENNESSEE 6’3/259 PPR#14
Kinda fun when a serious team need pretty much coincides with a player, or two, who happen to rank near a team’s Pick. BARNETT is the guy who broke REGGIE WHITE’s career sack record with 33. Even though it was a different time, and a different game it should be noted that they both did it in 3 seasons. BARNETT is a high rev motor guy, who plays full tilt. His energy can be contagious. My guess is he will be used at both OLB & DE as a pro. He can play the run despite being a bit light in the pants. He spends a lot of time in opposing backfields as evidenced by his 19 TFL in 2016. He would make a very nice bookend opposite CAM JORDAN.
Round1 Pick32 CAM ROBINSON/OT ALABAMA 6’6/322 PPR#28
Even though I have him ranked at 28, I am thinking there will be a run on QB in the second half of Round 1, which could allow CAM to drop into the SAINTS lap. He is a good OT with the physical tools to be great if properly motivated. CAM & ARMSTEAD would make a very athletic young OT tandem to protect DREW BREES in the latter stages of his career. CAM is even better as a run blocker, IMO. First true freshman ever to start at LT for SABAN. At worst they could hide him inside at OG, and he’d probably go to Pro Bowls as well.
Round2 Pick42 ZAY JONES/WR EAST CAROLINA 6’2/202 PPR#49
Nice player who caught 158 balls as a senior. Would help the team replace the traded Brandin Cooks. Is a tireless worker with a very high FBI. As he showed at the Senior Bowl venue he can win jump balls as well as beat some defenders deep. Very good runner once the ball is in his hands. Can gain extra yards on dump-down throws. Great gene pool with his dad being NFL LB ROBERT JONES and his uncle being QB/JEFF BLAKE. Drafting him should make BREES feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Not the same kind of receiver as COOKS, but could put up some impressive numbers in their offense.
Round3 Pick76 MARLON MACK/RB SOUTH FLORIDA 5’11/213 PPR#77
Nice sized runner who can run between the tackles, but also has enough speed (4.49/40) to get to the corner and turn it upfield. Is also a good receiver. As a junior, her rushed for over 1,000 yards at 6.8ypc., while scoring 15 TD. He also caught 28 passes last season. A very nice replacement for TIM HIGHTOWER who departed via VFA. The last 3 Picks would clearly let BREES know that the team is looking out for their leader at QB. Could make a very nice complimentary player to INGRAM.
Round3 Pick103 JOSHUA DOBBS/QB TENNESSEE 6’3/216 PPR#123
Even though the team just signed CHASE DANIEL as their back-up QB, he’s a career back-up and is now 30+ years old himself. DOBBS would be the their apparent, and likely get at least a couple of years to learn the pro QB slot working with BREES & HC PAYTON every day. A natural leader with a high FBI and some serious physical skills. He should be able to learn a lot from PAYTON relative to play calling and reading a defense over time. DOBBS clearly has aced the interview process and showed very well overall during Senior Bowl week back in January. Thus his stock is ascending as the Draft approaches.
Round6 Pick196 BRIAN ALLEN/CB UTAH 6’3/215 PPR#189
You just don’t find guys this big and athletic playing out on the Corner. In his first full season as a starter in 2016 ALLEN was credited with 4 INT & 10 PD. He also burned up the Combine with a 4.43/40. If the CB thing doesn’t work out he could surely be tried at S. Should also be a solid contributor on Special Teams. ALLEN is a prime example of how deep the 2017 Draft is. Talk about value at the Pick.
Round7 Pick229 RALPH GREEN/DT INDIANA 6’3/317 PPR#229
GREEN had to bide his time at IU, but really came on as a late bloomer, under the new coaching staff in 2016. He’s a long, good athlete who will slug it out every down. He can also shoot the gap to disrupt the pocket up the middle. A high effort player, as well as a cheerleader for his teammates. Some trash talk, but mostly support. His 34 1/2″ long arms allow him to move blockers around. A quick-twitch player, which often befuddles Interior OL at he snap of the ball. Could be quite effective in a rotation system, which the Saints now have enough young bodies to employ.
Mr. Ryckman was quite happy with most of these Picks, and I like the mix, if I do say so myself. Watch closely the Sunday of Draft weekend, because the SAINTS are another team that actually counts on URFA signings to contribute to their roster makeup on a yearly basis.