Hello Who Dat Nation!!! Let’s take a final look at the new players wandering their way onto the next Saints practice field. But first, I must apologize for my absence. I travelled abroad to Japan, forgot my phone in customs, and picked it up a week later. Then, after returning home, I apparently had a flooded car to deal with, followed by a scheduled hernia surgery. Good times!!
So anyhoo, interesting picks were discussed last time, and now even more interesting undrafted waywarders to examine. We already talked about Erik McCoy (very excited), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (regular excited), and now UDFA RB Devine Ozigbo (ridiculously optimistic excitement, but please don’t you get too excited yet) has outed my Darnell Holland already. Such is the off season.
The Saints are hoping to strike Pierre Thomas gold from a walk on, and their best bet is with Ozigbo. He’s a 6ft 233 pound bruiser with an amazing name. He’s certainly got the measures and talent to challenge the world behind Kamara. He can catch, he can run. The only question is can he adapt to the big leagues and master the playbook? Oh and an even bigger question: CAN HE PASS PROTECT?!?! I’ve seen no evidence of Murray being a solid pass protector, not that he couldn’t be for us. No one could take out a rusher as beautifully as Mark Ingram could.
But let’s take a look at the rest of the pack. The rest of the drafted guys are all long shots. Some more than the UDFAs. Saquon Hampton was the second safety drafted after Gardner-Johnson. He is screaming practice squad and is definitely a long shot, mostly because for the first time in as long as I can remember, we have amazing safety depth.. It would be impressive if he made it ever to our starting lineup, but I’m willing to bet he will excite us in the preseason at least. Then we move on to our two our backend boys, starting with Alizè (I probably accented that wrong) Mack, a TE out of Notre Dame. The last time we got a pick from Notre Dame, it was a 2004 late round linebacker named Courtney Watson. He wasn’t awesome. Mack is a guy you want to be awesome, but his ceiling is hard to peg. Is it really possible that this is a diamond in the rough that fell due to young bad behavior and academics? If Mack becomes a stud, I would change Jeff Ireland’s title to Scouting God. We round out the picks with Kaden Elliss. He’s an ILB out of Idaho. Idaho. Idaho, peeps. He’s awesome like a warm Clementine orange on a hot summer day: mildly tasty and largely disappointing in the heat. That’s Elliss in training camp. I have a lot more hope for our UDFA world.
How do we even judge these walk ons? These are mostly a moxie group that had “metrics” issues, character issues, or simply didn’t look scrappy enough to make the final cut. Some are veterans looking for a home, some are lost football souls hoping to have a purpose again. I’m not gonna go through all of them, because, Christ, cmon, will we care in September?? But let’s take a look at who else besides Devine Ozigbo looks like rough potential.
Maybe the most obvious candidate to make the grade is former 1st round pick DT Sylvester Williams. He’s got experience, just never lived up to the hype. But has he been decent? Steadily showing improvement? Yes. And that’s why maybe with the right coaching, a salary no greater than $6 mil, and a rotational role, Williams could thrive a little with the Saints. We could use some depth with Rankins’ injury recovery and Onyemata’s lingering pot bust.
Also on the DL is veteran Geneo Grissom. Honestly, I don’t know what has gone on in his career up to now other than what looks like disappointment. He’s not an official draft bust yet, but he hasn’t progressed like he should have by now. Part of the reason might be because he switched to a DE position after college where he played mostly linebacker. He seems like too much of an investment project at this point, especially considering the Saints are his third team in three years.
The last man with potential upside for the Saints is Ulrick John OL. Yes he’s been on 6 teams in 5 years. Yes he’s been on mainly practice squads. Yes he is coming off of IR for a torn tendon in his foot. But! He is versatile on the line and all we’re looking for is depth on the line. Last season ended with paper tigers guarding Drew. We can’t risk that again.
The Saints were struggling to get up to 90 men for the off season roster, and the remainder of the guys that made the cut are just there to give competition. There’s some receivers, a long snapper, a fullback, a DB, a center, etc, but other than trying to push our top players, I don’t see any of them making the cut.
Next I’ll start going into depth at each position group in order to get ready for training camp in July. I’m already starting to get pumped for next season. Are you?? Til next time, WHO DAT!?!
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