Many coaches in the National Football League agree that you can’t really give a solid grade on a draft class or a player from a particular draft class until three years have passed from the time players are drafted. However, that has not stopped folks from giving grades on the Class of 2012 for each of the 32 NFL teams. So since we are in the Big Easy and we follow the Saints, let’s give our beloved Black and Gold some grades.
Between the club’s move to go back into the first round of the 2011 draft and the sanctions levied on the Saints over the “bounty” punishment, the Saints are strapped when it comes to having draft selections. Last season the Saints had only five draft picks, and this season the team currently has only five picks as well. As it stands right now, the Saints have a pick in the 1st round (15th overall)), 3rd round (75), 4th round (109), 5th round (144) and a 6th round pick which is 183 overall.
So it would be safe to say that the Saints really need to make the most of this draft class. Other powers in the NFC like San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Green Bay, NY Giants and Washington all have several more draft picks each than the Saints currently do. And, of course, the Saints did not get much out of their class of 2012 when it comes to on-field performance.
With their first pick last year the Saints selected DT Akiem Hicks in the third round of the draft. Hicks did not start in any games and Hicks finished the 2012 season with 10 tackles, one pass defended and one forced fumble.
With the team’s second pick in last year’s draft the Saints took WR Nick Toon in the fourth round. Toon was considered a fragile player while at Wisconsin for the Badgers and that title held up in his first season, as he was injured and placed on IR.
The most productive player from the 2012 draft was a fifth round pick in Samford DB Corey White. White appeared in 10 games for the Saints with four starts and made progress throughout the season.
White by far, had the most impressive season of any Saints draft pick as he recorded 31 total tackles (25 solo,) defended three passes, and had one interception. White is most definitely in the Saints’ defensive plans moving forward after making a name for himself in 2012.
Offensive guard Andrew Tiller was taken in the sixth round out of Syracuse, while the Saints final pick of the 12 draft was OT Marcel Jones. Tiller and Jones were both also placed on Injured Reserve last season.
All five of last year’s picks are still on the Saints roster but the production on-field was not much of an impact from the five players the Saints took a year ago.