After trading up to get DE MARCUS DAVENPORT last year, as well as a couple of other moves, the team was left with a paltry 5 Picks, with only one of them in the Top 100 selections. So let’s get right to their roster additions.
Round 2, Pick 48
ERIK McCOY OC/G TEXAS A&M
6’4/303 4.89/40 PP#31
Sometimes things go right for prospects heading into the Draft, and McCOY was one of those lucky ones. Certainly, his good fortune and impressive workouts resulted from more than just luck. The 3-year starter, and Team Captain, for the AGGIES was impressive in everything he did during the pre-Draft process. He attended the Senior Bowl and stood out all week. He went to the Combine and demonstrated elite athleticism, and word is, that he aced the interview process, as well.
Luckily for the SAINTS, their starting OC, MAX UNGER, advised them early of his decision to retire from the pro game. McCOY should have a great shot to win that starting spot. If someone beats him out, then he could get a shot at OG, or as a Rookie Interior OL backup. However, it is only a matter of time before this young man wins a starting job for the SAINTS. He is the complete package for a long career in the League.
Round 4, Pick 105
CHAUNCEY GARDNER-JOHNSON DB FLORIDA
5’11/210 4.45/40 PP#47
This young man is another natural athlete, and a good football player. He has incredible ball skills, and was an INT machine for the GATORS. He has also done yeoman’s work on Special Teams coverage units. He is also willing to stick his nose into a pile to help stop opponent’s running attacks. His 2018 stats: 71 T’s, 9 TFL, 3 S’s, 2 PBU’s, 2 QBH’s, and 4 INT’s, including 2 that resulted in a Pick-6. He filled multiple roles as a GATOR and excelled at each job. In today’s pass happy NFL, with teams using more and more DB’s, on more and more downs, his versatility will earn him lots of playing time whether he is designated as a starter or not. He had a couple of off-field concerns, but I never felt that he was an instigator in any incidents. He should fit well into their defensive schemes. He was a Top 100 prospect in my book. Very good value here for them.
Round 6, Pick 177
SAQUAN HAMPTON S RUTGERS
6’1/206 4.43/40 PP#171
HAMPTON was nagged by injuries throughout his college career. When you look at most of his measurables, you can see that when healthy, he plays at a lot higher level than his Round 6 draft spot. I say that he will make a solid sub-package S, and shine on Special Teams for the SAINTS. His 2018 stats paint a clear picture of what he is capable of, not to mention that 40-time; 65 T’s, 3 TFL, 13 PBU’s, and 3 INT’s. He is an impact defender, with a nose for the ball. He may never be a starter in the NFL, but he can become a solid contributor.
Round 7, Pick 231
ALIZE MACK TE NOTRE DAME
6’4/249 4.70/40 PP#218
On paper, this guy is a prototype NFL TE. If you put together a highlight reel, you might be tempted to grab him early in Round 4, but his college productivity is mediocre, at best. Then again, NOTRE DAME has produced a lot of NFL TE’s, most of whom were far from finished products coming out of South Bend. He has a lot of raw tools, but will need to develop further as a player to stick in the NFL. Improving his blocking will be job one for his coaches. He has good sized hands, (9 3/8″), and long arms, (33 3/4″). He caught 36 balls for 360 yards and 3 TD’s, in 2018. I am skeptical of his immediate impact for the SAINTS, but he is potentially their inline-TE of the future. He will do well to watch the play of VFA JARED COOK, the top TE on the SAINTS depth chart during this coming season.
Round 7, Pick 201
KADEN ELLISS LB IDAHO
6’2/238 4.75/40 PP# NR
This was a surprise selection, even for Round 7. I have never watched him play, but the SAINTS scouts unearthed him. He has excellent genes, with his father LUTHER having been a stout DT, mostly with the LIONS. Credit where credit is due, GBN teammate Larry Parker was on top of this rising prospect and recommended Colin put him on the sites prospect rankings pre-Draft. They were ahead of me on Elliss. He will have to earn his keep with his Special Teams play, and some coaches will have some work to do molding this lump of clay into a pro football player.
I am on board with the SAINTS draft effort, considering that they only had 2 Picks in the front half of the Draft. Another key to this Draft will be how dominant DAVENPORT is in his second pro season. He showed flashes last season, and needs to step up even more in 2018. I think both McCOY and GARDNER-JOHNSON will help the team immediately. Traditionally, this team has panned some gold nuggets, while mining the URFA ranks. I like, at least, a half-dozen of their signings to have a solid shot to make their 2019 roster, and help the depth chart.