May 13, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: New Orleans Saints

#7 Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

New Orleans Saints
Division: NFC South | Last Season Record: 11-5

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: Most of their picks probably should have been focused on defensive players. Cornerback, inside linebacker, and edge rusher are all positions of need. And of course, it never hurts to add depth up front (defensive line).

Drew Brees could use another play maker on offense, and this class has plenty to choose from. Hopefully, the Saints could come away with a starting center as well, and a quarterback to groom behind Brees.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

20. (20) Brandin Cooks*, WR
Experience: Junior | School: Oregon State
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 185 lbs.

Round 2

26. (58) Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Nebraska
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 213 lbs.

Round 4

26. (126) Khairi Fortt*, ILB
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: California
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 242 lbs.

Round 5

27. (167) Vinnie Sunseri*, SS
Experience: Junior | School: Alabama
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 209 lbs.

29. (169) Ronald Powell*, OLB
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Florida
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 237 lbs.

Round 6

26. (202) Tavon Rooks, OT
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Kansas State
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 299 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Ronald Powell*, OLB (Round 5, Pick 29)
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Florida
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 237 lbs.

Analysis: Though they didn't draft a pass rusher until the 5th round, they may have gotten a steal with Ronald Powell. He's fast, athletic, and has a lot of upside. He was considered a potential first round pick before tearing his ACL in a 2012 spring game.

Most Questionable Pick:

Tavon Rooks, OT (Round 6, Pick 26)
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Kansas State
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 299 lbs.

Analysis: Not a fan of this pick. Instead of taking a project offensive tackle who would have likely gone undrafted, the Saints could have taken a chance on a player of a position that they could immediately use.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Brandon Coleman*, WR
Experience: Junior (RS) | School: Rutgers
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 225 lbs.

Analysis: Kelvin Benjamin was drafted in the first round, but Brandon Coleman went undrafted. Ok. But, seriously, Coleman has a big frame, good speed for his size, and has a lot to work with. I believe he can develop into a receiver as good as Marques Colston.

Other Free Agent Signings

Pierre Warren, S, Jacksonville State
Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
Tim Flanders, RB, Sam Houston State
Logan Kilgore, QB, Middle Tennessee State
Micajah Reynolds, DL, Michigan State
Je’Ron Hamm, WR, Louisiana-Monroe
George Uko, DL, Southern California
Spencer Hadley, LB, Brigham Young
Seantavius Jones, WR, Valdosta State
Matt Armstrong, C, Grand Valley State
Brian Dixon, CB, Northwest Missouri State
Brandon McCray, DE, Louisiana-Lafayette
Mike Golic Jr., OL, Notre Dame
Lawrence Virgil, DT, Valdosta State
Kasim Edebali, OLB, Boston College
Chidera Uzo-Diribe, OLB, Colorado
Nic Jacobs, TE, McNeese State

Draft Review:

Analysis: While the Saints were praised for trading up for Brandin Cooks, I didn't love the move. They could have stayed put and drafted Marqise Lee, but decided to give up their third round pick to move up for Cooks, who I though was more of a second round pick. However, he give the Saints a more explosive play maker at the position.

With their second round pick, they chose Stanley Jean-Baptiste. They did need a corner, but this was a reach as well. SJB is a big, fast corner with long arms, but he's raw. If he can develop, then he could be a good corner.

Khairi Fortt flashed at Cal. He's a good athlete, but needs to get stronger and needs to play with more confidence and edge. I liked him as more of a 5th rounder.

I didn't think they needed a safety, but Vinnie Sunseri was a pretty good value pick. If not for a torn ACL suffered in October, he might have been a day two pick. He'll start out as an excellent special teams player.

I loved the Ronald Powell pick. Opinions on the Saints's draft could ultimately depend on what Powell becomes at the next level. On the other hand, I don't think 6th round pick Tavon Rooks sees the field any time soon.

The Verdict: The Saints filled needs, but almost every pick they made was a reach. And it didn't help that they only had 6 picks. Though I like Ronald Powell, I think they should have targeted a pass rusher earlier, and they still have a hole at center.

Overall Grade: C