Draft Watch: Saints have been money in the later rounds in the past
by Kristian Garic,posted Apr 23 2012 10:18AM
I hope the Saints aren't short on patience this week. They'll have to watch the draft unfold before their very eyes, not having a pick in the first two rounds this year. I wouldn't totally rule out a trade up, but getting all the way into round 1 would be extremely costly for the Saints. The Black and Gold don't really have the ammunition to jump back into round 1; You can't leverage a future number 1 next year, simply because right now the Saints don't have a second-round pick next year.
New Orleans finally goes on the clock with the 89th selection in round three on Friday. NFL draft expert Mike Detillier says the Saints will still have an opportunity to get a player that can help them, especially on the defensive side of the football. ''Certainly at defensive tackle...Watch for a guy like Josh Chapman,'' Detillier said.
Chapman’s stock has dropped a bit because of recent knee surgeries. However, Detillier says Chapman is fully healthy and the Saints have a history of doing the right amount of homework on injured players. "I really believe in the top three rounds you have to pick the best players on the board," said Detillier.
Under the guidance of General Manager Mickey Loomis, the Saints have been extremely good at picking late in the draft. In fact, you could argue that the late-round picks have contributed more than the teams’ first round picks. Just look at some of the guys they've picked after rounds 1 and 2. Without question their best picks in those later rounds have been Tight End Jimmy Graham (3rd round,) Jahari Evans (4th round,) Carl Nicks (5th round,) Marques Colston (7th round,) and Jermon Bushrod (4th round.) "They've done a really good job, of being able to find people that fit what they do," explained Detillier.
Sean Payton won't be there for this year's selection process, but I'm certain the strategy will stay the same. Payton has often said, "You have to have a vision for a player before you bring him to your program." That's what makes the Saints so successful in picking players. They know exactly what they want and how the player could fit in on their team. Loomis and the Saints have also had tremendous success in bringing in undrafted free agents with the likes of Running backs Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas, and Safety Isa Abdul Kadoos.
Where might the Saints go with the first pick? With the help of NFL analyst Mike Detillier I've put together a list of possible targets for the Saints in the 2012 draft. "Outside of quarterback and running back, there are number of areas the Saints could go with…wide receiver, tight end, defensive lineman, and even linebacker," Detillier said.
Laderius Green (tight end UL-Lafayette:) "He's a flex tight end, a big wide receiver, a guy that can get down field and make some plays after the catch. He's sneaky fast," said Detillier. But why would the Saints draft a tight end with Pro-Bowler Jimmy Graham on the roster? Well, because the Saints aren't real sure how David Thomas will recover from last season's lingering concussion issues. Detillier feels that Green would be an excellent compliment to Graham in the Saints offense "If a guy like Green is still around in round 3, you have to think seriously about picking him." The game of the NFL has changed to more seam-oriented attack on offense. More and more teams are going to try and get big playmakers at the tight end position to take advantage of the open middle of the field with the rule changes.
Josh Chapman (defensive tackle, Alabama:) “He's a bit undersized at 6 feet and 315 pounds, but he can plug the inside running game and he's very disruptive in the middle," explained Detillier. Chapman is coming off knee surgery and some teams are concerned about his conditioning level and control over his weight. "I am a big fan of Chapman, and despite not putting up huge numbers, don't underestimate what value he brings to the table as a run-stuffer and someone that can tie up multiple blockers inside" Detillier added.
Josh Norman (cornerback, Coastal Carolina:) Norman is 6 feet and 198 pounds. "He has excellent size and long frame and a big wingspan to knock down potential completions. He's a very athletic cover man" Detillier said of Norman. The knock on Norman is that he's an average open field tackler. Josh kind of fits the style of player the Saints have picked at his position in the past. One thing you want in a defensive back is confidence and Norman has plenty of it. "He has a real healthy dose of swagger to him,” according to Detillier.
Brian Quick (wide receiver, Appalachian State:) Quick has a basketball background, and only played one year of high school football before going to Appalachian State. He's another player that is a good fit for the Saints and really is what they look for at wide out. He's 6 feet 3 inches and 220 pounds. "Quick is one of the most underrated players in this draft class. He is very physical and is a very athletic big man," Detillier said. Quick has all the characteristics the Saints like in their wide outs…Great hand eye coordination, excellent body control, and he's willing to go over the middle. Does that sound familiar? Quick’s description sounds a lot like Marques Colston.
Other position areas the Saints could target could be along the offensive line and at safety late in the draft in rounds 6 or 7. Just because the Saints don't pick in the first two rounds, don't think for a minute they will be feeling sorry for themselves. New Orleans has been outstanding at picking in the later stages. I expect that to continue this weekend.