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Steve Geller

"WWL First News" Sports Anchor
Weekdays 5am-10am

"Sports Talk" Producer
Weekdays 4pm-8pm

Twitter: @stevegellerWWL
Email: steve@wwl.com


Steve: Rookie receiver Mike Thomas looks legit at Saints OTA

With Brandin Cooks out of today's Saints organized team activities, rookie receiver Mike Thomas got a ton of reps in the offense. First off, Cooks was at least working out on the side and looked sharp in the run/cut/catch drills he did on his own. I doubt there is anything seriously wrong with him.

I went into this OTA with a ton of interest in Thomas. I had to see what made the team draft him with the 47th overall pick in the NFL draft instead of going with another defensive player. After one practice with no pads, I still can't say, but the kid does look legit. The 6-ft-3, 212 pound wide out from Ohio State is a physical specimen. His muscles have muscles, so I don't imagine many DBs will be able to out-physical him. Thomas got to run with the ones quite a bit and caught a handful passes from Drew Brees.

"He's a legend in my household," said Thomas of Brees. "A lot of respect for him. The way he plays the gam,e and then the way he handles himself off the field, in the locker room. He's a great leader, someone that I can go to that will always have my back."

Sure sounds like building good chemistry with Brees isn't going to be an issue for Thomas. He is very confident in his game and loves the challenge of every practice.

"Going against those vets and great defense with a lot of guys that I watched before I even got here. Just competing against them and then asking them what they saw and how I can can better is the ultimate. I love it."
The Saints next off season workouts are next week - with open access to the media Thursday. Who Dat Nation, be the first to know the latest on the Black & Gold. Get WWL Saints alerts directly to your phone. Click here

Photo via USA Today
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Steve: Tigers and Gators and Possums, oh my!

The SEC tournament rolls on today with the LSU Tigers still in it after a heart pounding 5-4 comeback victory in a win-or-go-home opening contest against Tennessee.



LSU has now advanced to the double-elimination round and 1st up for the Bayou Bengals is #4 seed Florida. The Tigers just took 2-of-3 from the Gators to end the regular season, but by no means does it mean this is a foregone "W."

Florida was the top team in the nation before losing their last series of the regular season in Baton Rouge. The Gator's pitching staff is stocked full of future MLB talent and tonight's starter could be the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Florida's A.J. Puk threw 58 1/3 innings this season and earned a 2.93 ERA while striking out 83 and walking 29.



The 6-ft-6, 205 lb. lefty only threw 3 innings against LSU this past weekend because he exited the game due to a stomach illness.

The Tigers will have their own future MLBer on the mound tonight. Alex Lange might have suffered a bit of a sophomore slump but still struck out 96 batters while walking 42 in 91 2/3 innings of work with a 3.63 earned run average. He has looked really sharp of late so a pitching duel between him and Puk is highly anticipated.

WWL is your home for LSU and we'll have tonight's contest starting at 7:30pm with the LSU Sports Network's pre-game show that will lead into 1st pitch in Hoover, Alabama at 8pm. If LSU wins, they will move into tomorrow's winners' bracket. Meanwhile, a loss for the Tigers means they would also play tomorrow but it would be an elimination game.
Photo via LSUSports.net
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Steve: Pelicans could land a #1 overall pick in NBA Draft lottery

The NBA's draft lottery is tonight at 7pm and hopefully the Pelicans' ping-pong balls fall into place to net the team a top 3 selection. The birds were bad at 30-52 this past season, but its not a true indicator of the team. A ridiculous amount of injuries to starters, back-ups, and the back-up back-ups makes it impossible to know what they can do.

The odds say we should expect a 6th or 7th overall pick for the Pels, but there is a chance team owner Tom Benson could land himself another #1 overall selection.

Pick Probability
1 6.3%
2 7.1%
3 8.1%
6 43.9%
7 30.4%
8 4%
9 .1%

The Pelicans also own two second round draft picks which are the 39th and 40th overall selections.
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Steve: Saints rookie using hand yoga to increase size

Saints rookie minicamp is in full swing and organized team activities are shortly to follow. When OTAs kick off, I CANNOT wait to see wide receiver Michael Thomas from Thee Ohio State University in practice. The 2nd round pick is a 6-ft-3, 212 lb. pass catching target for Drew Brees. Thomas hauled in 9 touchdowns in each of his last 2 years of college and finished with a total of 113 receptions for 1,602 yards.

Thomas's hands are his livelihood at WR and the man makes sure he is taking care of those money makers. He actually does hand yoga which is allowing him to mold his mitts:


When asked more about the hand yoga during the locker room portion of rookie mini-camp, Thomas said, "That's kind of like my secret. I don't want to give it all away; but it works. Once I'm in the hall of fame I'll write a book about it maybe."

Ok so we aren't going to get a rundown of his total routine, but what's been the big payoff, the end results?

"At the receiver position, you always want to use your hands," he explained. "You want to be violent with your hands and ultimately you want to catch the ball with your hands. So, the more strength you have in your hands and the bigger the frame you have with your hands; the measurements… I feel like the more successful you could be."

That's a smart, confident kid and I think he brings a new kind of swagger to the team that you have to like. We'll see if he is willing to share though because Brees likes to spread the wealth in the passing attack. OTA's for the Black & Gold begin on May 24th.
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Steve: Can Benson add Kentucky Derby winner to his resume?

This first weekend in May has good reason for us to be a little extra excited this year. First off, the weather looks like it's going to be gorgeous. I personally can't wait to fire up the BBQ to celebrate the most important woman in each of our lives - MOM!

The local sports scene is still buzzing about the Saints 2016 draft class. Any real answers to roster questions will begin to shake out in West Virginia during training camp. We'll see if the Black & Gold can get tougher up front on both sides of the ball. Opposing QBs looked way to comfortable last year, and there were too many times we all winched at the sight of Drew Brees getting hit, and hard.

Team owner Tom Benson will get to look over his rookie class next weekend in Metairie during rookie mini-camp, but this Saturday he's in Louisville to watch two of his horses racing for a shot at earning the 142nd Kentucky Derby crown.

Benson and his wife Gayle are hoping either the #4 horse "Mo Tom" or the #12 "Tom's Better" can finish the 1 ¼ mile track at Churchill Downs faster than the other 18.

We talked to Fairgrounds morning odds maker Mike Dilliberto and he thinks Mo Tom, who is 20-1 to win, has a shot but is a big question mark.

"This horse was the 2-1 favorite in the Louisiana Derby. So most people thought he had the best shot to win," said Dilliberto. "But the way the race unfolded he ended up having no shot because he got stopped, not once but twice, coming through the stretch, dead cold and still ended up finishing 4th in the race. And the race before that it was a similar occurrence. Mo Tom looks like he has a lot of talent; he's been training great, but his last 2 starts he hasn't had a chance to show what he can actually do."

Meanwhile, Tom's Better odds are 30-1, while undefeated Nyquist is the 3-1 favorite and Exaggerator is the second choice at 8-1 odds.

The "Run for the Roses" is always a must watch event and usually has some local flavor in it. 3 time derby winner Calvin Borel, who was born in St. Martin Parish, just retired from a 33 year career as a jockey.

Photo via USA Today
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Saints select RB in 7th round

The Saints closed out the 2016 NFL draft by selecting running back Daniel Lasco in the 7th round. The 6ft, 209 pounder out of Cal. Injuries kept Lasco out of five games in 2015 but the previous year, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,115 yards and 12 touchdowns. Lasco also had 33 receptions for 356 yards with two touchdowns that season. He could be a great fit in the Saints offense.  

Scouting Report>>> 
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Saints move up to round 4 to add a DT

The Saints made another trade in the NFL Draft to jump into the 4th round to select Canadian defensive tackle David Onyemata.  The 6 ft 4, 300 pound athlete comes to New Orleans from the University of Manitoba Bisons. 

READ MORE: T-Bob: Saints take big risk for bigger talent with Onyemata

Here’s what NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said about the newest Saint,  "He's got a big-time body... (but) he has no idea what he's doing yet, but he's got size and he's got movement skills.  He's very raw, but he's got an ability to turn into something.  A few years ago, Akiem Hicks from Canada was in this game and became a third-round pick.  I'm not saying (Onyemata) is a third-round pick, but he's got talent and movement skills, and some team is going to want to develop that."

Q&A with DT David Onyemata 


The Saints reportedly gave up their 5th round pick this year and their 2017 5th round pick to move up to select David Onyemata.
 
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Saints pick WR Thomas in 2nd round

 

The Saints have selected Ohio State’s receiver Michael Thomas with their 2nd round selection.  The 6ft2, 212 pound wide receiver has displayed an impressive combination of size and speed totaling 56 receptions for 781 yards and nine touchdowns last year. 

 

 

CBS Sports call Thomas a “more refined version of Rueben Randle.”  Drew Brees should love his new target’s detailed route running as well. ​

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Steve: You're on the clock - make the Saints #12 draft pick!

We are 2 weeks away from the NFL draft and a blockbuster trade has gone down. Hollywood high drama already for the LA Rams who send 2 first-round picks, 2 second-round selections and 2 third-round picks to the Tennessee Titans for the 1st overall pick and a 4th and 6th rounder. Kaboom! Blow up every mock draft ever conceived for 2016.

To make such a bold move, we should expect the Rams to be going after who they hope can be their star at quarterback. Here’s how things could now go…

1: LA Rams - QB Carson Wentz

2: Cleveland Browns - S Jalen Ramsey

3: San Diego Chargers - DE Joey Bosa

4: Dallas Cowboys - QB Jared Goff

5: Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Laremy Tunsil

6: Baltimore Ravens - DT DeForest Buckner

7: San Francisco 49ers - OLB Myles Jack

8: Philadelphia Eagles - RB Ezekiel Elliott

9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Shaq Lawson

10: New York Giants - OT Ronnie Stanley

11: Chicgao Bears - DT A'Shawn Robinson

Now, let’s put you in the Saints war room as you are on the clock with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft and this is your big board:

CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Florida

DE Emmanuel Ogbah – Oklahoma State

DT Sheldon Rankins – Louisville

OLB Leonard Floyd – Georgia

DT Vernon Butler - Louisiana Tech

DE Jonathan Bullard – Florida

OLB Darron Lee – Ohio State

WR Laquon Treadwell – Ole Miss

Who would you select? Tell us in the comments on the post below!

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Steve: Already missing Hokie on Saints game day

Saints gamedays will never be the same. I don't know what I will do without hearing Hokie on Sundays anymore. The way he would describe a player or something that happened on the field can never be replicated. 

I love that I got a chance to know him even better the last 2 years we spent in West Virginia for training camp.  Watching practices with a former player/scout is great, but hearing his stories away from the field were even better. 

My sincere condolences to his family. Hokie will be greatly missed. 
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