Category: NFL

Saints have success at finding undrafted free agents

 Chris Nalls / May 12, 2019

New Orleans Saints General manager Mickey Loomis has put together some solids drafts over the past couple of years. Drafting players like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas who have played a big part in why the Saints have such a prolific offense.

Finding dynamic players in the draft is excellent, but the Saints have found success after the draft as well. Pierre Thomas, Junior Galette, and Chris Ivory are all examples of the Saints finding success when signing undrafted free agents. These are the type of players that not only provided great depth on the team but eventually became starters later on in their career.

Coaching is also a big reason for how the Saints find specific types of players that fit their scheme. ” I think more than anything you’re trying to find traits that maybe draw you to a player, and then just importantly, what is the vision you have as a coaching staff for that player,” said Coach Payton.

“When you only have seven rounds, that’s not as many as they used to have. There are a lot of good football players that go undrafted. Each year history tells us that” Payton added.

In 2019 the Saints are aiming for a Super Bowl run, and there is no doubt they should make it. Finding some hidden gem free agents that went undrafted along the way will only help the franchise now and the future.

 

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Head Coach Sean Payton is Impressed by Rookie Center McCoy

Adam Forsythe / May 11, 2019

 

The New Orleans Saints started rookie minicamp on Friday, May 10. With dozens of players attending minicamp trying to earn a spot with the team, the Saints’ second-round selection Erik McCoy quickly stood out. Almost immediately head coach Sean Payton was impressed with the young center.

“He’s been good. He’s smart. He’s a guy that you can see is experienced at his position. He’s playing center, (and) is in good shape. Overall it’s been good.”

McCoy was the team’s first selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Saints traded up in the second round to select the former Texas A&M center. During his time with the Aggies, the 6’4″ center only allowed one sack.

Earlier in the offseason program, former Saints’ center Max Unger elected to retire, leaving the Saints without a starting center. In a rush to fill that hole, the Saints signed former Vikings’ offensive lineman Nick Easton. However, the Saints showed that they weren’t finished in their search for Unger’s successor when the selected McCoy during the draft. McCoy is a solid addition to the interior of one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. 

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Alizé Mack Knows What Kind of Opportunity Lies Ahead for him in the Saints’ Offense

Adam Forsythe / May 11, 2019

In the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints added yet another tight end to their team in Notre Dame’s Alizé Mack. Although the team signed Jared Cook this offseason to become their primary option at the tight end position, Mack still has the opportunity to play a role in one of the most prolific offenses in the league.

One of the reasons why the Saints’ offense is so explosive is because of their future hall-of-fame quarterback, Drew Brees. The team’s seventh-round selection is the latest addition to a long line of offensive playmakers for the star quarterback to throw passes to.  Mack realizes just how special this opportunity is.

“It’s big. It’s big because you know it’s Drew Brees. At the end of the day, there’s pressure just because you look at his stats and you look at how efficient he is. I mean he’s everything you know,” Mack said. “But it helps you though. I think having him as your quarterback it helps everyone on the team because you understand who’s at QB and who’s the leader.”

Mack also knows exactly what it’s going to take to make it onto the team’s final 53-man roster, but he’s definitely up to the challenge.

“For myself it’s just about being consistent and being in tune with all the details, making sure I’m getting the depth in my routes, making sure I’m cutting at the right time and looking at the right time, making sure I’m protecting him when I have to pass block, and just be an all-around player,” Mack stated. “But that just comes day by day just continuing to work, continuing to watch film, continuing to get better, and just be a sponge and continue to learn. I mean I’ve only been here a few days, I’ve got a long way to go.”

The Saints have found plenty of success with multiple tight ends featured in the offense in previous seasons. Mack has the potential to contribute to the team in a similar way in 2019.

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Saints Snag some Late-Round Talent with their Final two Picks

Adam Forsythe / April 28, 2019

Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, the majority of the Saints’ draft capital resided in the later rounds of the draft, so fans knew that the team would need to find excellent value with those later picks. That is exactly what the Saints did.

With the team’s first of two seventh-round picks (No. 231) the Saints selected former Notre Dame tight end Alize Mack. Throughout his three season with the Fighting Irish, Mack hauled in 68 catches for 716 yards and four touchdowns. Mack provides the Saints with a highly athletic tight end with great potential. He will likely need time to develop his skills, but luckily he should have that opportunity as the Saints signed veteran tight end Jared Cook in the offseason to become their starter.

With the Saints’ final pick in the 2019 NFL Draft (No.244) the team picked former Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss. During his time at Idaho, Elliss served as a defensive jack of all trades. He recorded 220 total tackles including 155 solo tackles and 28 tackles for loss. Elliss’ production didn’t end there as he also earned nine sacks. Elliss showed great potential to create turnovers as he intercepted four passes and forced five fumbles during his collegiate career. Elliss could play a unique role for the Saints as his versatilty allows the Saints to be creative with their latest draft pick. Elliss could potentially play a role similar to that of Taysom Hill, but on the defensive side of the ball.

Both Mack and Elliss provide the Saints with quality depth at two of the most important positions. The Saints found tremendous value with their final two picks.

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Saints make their Third Selection in the 2019 NFL Draft

Adam Forsythe / April 27, 2019

After trading up to make their first two selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints stayed put in the sixth round to choose their third player.

With the 177th overall pick, the Saints selected former Rutgers’ safety Saquan Hampton.

During his four years at Rutgers, Hampton displayed great tackling skills as he racked up 167 total tackles including 115 solo tackles and seven tackles for loss, while also recovering a fumble in his senior season. Hampton also recorded four interceptions and 20 pass deflections.

Hampton will likely find a role on special teams for the Saints while also providing safety depth behind Marcus Williams, Vonn Bell, and the team’s fourth-round selection Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

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