All Black & Gold hands on deck:
The Saints seemingly had just about every member of their coaching and front office staff at LSU Pro Day in Baton Rouge to get eyeballs on the supreme talent on display. Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan ran the linebacker drills, which included Barkevious Mingo. (Click HERE to view a photo gallery from LSU Pro Day.)
When you watch Mingo you can see why most have him projected as a top 15 overall pick in April’s NFL draft. He’s so explosive…and, as one NFL scout told me, “He has game-changing ability at OLB, and some teams will shy away because he’s thought of as strictly a pass rusher.” Mingo has been knocked for his seeming inability to hold up against the run, but he has has a simple answer: “Just watch the tape, they’ll see.” Saints coach Sean Payton was in attendance as well, but kept a very low profile.
Fast Feet: They say speed kills, and cornerback Tharold Simon killed the 40 yard dash at Pro Day, clocking a 4.39. Simon’s going to be a really good player at the next level…his stride is long, and even if he gets beat at the line, he’s so quick, he can close the gap so quickly. Running back Michael Ford also clocked a sub-4.4 40 yard dash with the same time as Simon at 4.39. I would say Ford is a player that helped his draft stock, and then some, at Pro Day. Safety Eric Reid logged an impressive time as well at 4.5 in the 40.
Familiar Face: Tyrann Mathieu was clearly the most intriguing prospect on the field, because of his off-field troubles. One personnel evaluator said this of Mathieu “He just gets it done, he’s a play maker. He has a rare knack for finding the ball, and if he can stay in the right place mentally, he’s going to be a really good player.” Most scouts feel like he’ll go in the 3rd round, but a team might get anxious and pull the trigger in the 2nd round.
Shepard: Wide receiver Russell Shepard might be in line for a position change at the NFL level. After working out at his normal flanker position, Shepard worked out as a defensive back as well. “A few teams think I have a shot to play cornerback and asked me to work out with them, so I’m willing to do what it takes to get there. I thought I did well, I just need some coaching and I’ll get it,” Shepard said after the work out. Sheppard also worked out privately with the Saints, mainly returning kicks and punts after his Pro Day.