Saints News: 4.30.08

Here we go...

The first one is a write up on Sedrick Ellis. Really nothing new here, just another article telling us about the relationship between Ellis and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.

Orgeron praised Ellis' skills to anyone within earshot during Senior Bowl week, and that was before Orgeron was on board with the Saints. The new Saints assistant coach recruited Ellis to USC and coached him for two seasons before taking the job in Oxford..."Any time you're able to hire a college coach, every once in a while they're able to bring some insight to other players in their conference or players that they've come across in recruiting," Payton said. "And when it specifically happens to be a player that he's recruited and coached, that's really an additional bonus that happens."

Here's an interesting tidbit for you. Out of all the Saints draft picks in their history, more come from USC than any other school. Sedrick talks about his reuniting with Reggie.

"Reggie and I are pretty cool and really close, and it will be good to be back on a team with someone that I know that can show me around the city and get me acclimated."

Uh Oh!

The other read about Sedrick Ellis comes from our fellow bloggers over at Who Dat Say. They are taking the opinion that Sedrick Ellis was a better pick than Glen Dorsey, not because of talent, but because of talent.

The Saints front office got the best deal available on Saturday. Not only did they trade up in front of the Cincinnati Bengals, who would certainly have drafted Ellis, but in doing so, the Saints only had to give up their third round pick (No. 78) in exchange for a fifth-round selection (No. 164). While Ellis wasn’t ranked quite as high as Dorsey, make no mistake about it: Ellis is an excellent addition to the New Orleans Saints defense, and a legitimate stud.

I have to agree with them on that one. I thought it was a great idea before the draft, and I still think it was.

USA Today did a draft recap of the Saints. The article is here , but I will just quote the whole thing.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

After finishing 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 30th against the pass last season, there was little doubt the Saints would load up on defense in the offseason.

They did what they could in free agency, adding cornerback Randall Gay, defensive end Bobby McCray and linebacker Dan Morgan, while also trading for middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

But the Saints were looking for additional help early in the draft, so it was no big shock when they used their first two picks to add more quality players on the defensive side of the ball.

With the 10th pick in the first round, they targeted the defensive tackles at the top of most draft boards — LSU's Glenn Dorsey, who grew up just 50 miles from New Orleans, and Southern California's Sedrick Ellis.

They proved how serious they were when they tried to climb up to the fifth spot to take Dorsey and, when that mission was aborted, they jumped up three spots and made Ellis the crown jewel of their draft class.

Ellis, an aggressive and versatile athlete who was comfortable playing both the nose and the three-technique at Southern California, should be in the mix to start immediately. Second-round pick Tracy Porter, a cornerback from Indiana — is another defender who should be able to provide immediate help.

Porter gives the Saints depth at cornerback. With Mike McKenzie returning from a torn right ACL and Jason David struggling last season, they knew they had to get more help there. Prior to the draft, the Saints signed Gay and veteran Aaron Glenn to go with holdovers Jason Craft and Usama Young.

The Saints didn't have a pick in either the third or fourth round because of trades; the third-rounder went to the New England Patriots in the draft-day deal that led to the Saints landing Ellis, and the fourth-rounder went to the New York Jets for Vilma.

That didn't stop the Saints from looking for more defense late in the draft, picking North Carolina State defensive tackle DeMario Pressley with the first of their two fifth-round picks.

When you include Vilma, the Saints in effect used their first four draft picks to select defensive players.

Later, they went for Nebraska offensive tackle Carl Nicks with their second fifth-round selection and closed out the draft by taking the top-rated kicker in the draft, Wisconsin's Taylor Mehlhaff.

Some more info on recent UFA signings.  This one is from the Tribune Star in Indiana telling us the Saints signed LB Shonda Faulkner out of Indiana State.


“I’m very, very excited,” Faulkner said in a phone interview from his home in Poukeepskie, N.Y. “I’m not sure of the defense that they run, but I think I can get in there and battle for a position.”

And this one from  the Santa Cruz Sentinal tells us about P Waylon Prather from San Jose State and the similarities between him and current Saints punter Steve Weatherford.

Prather heads out to New Orleans on May 8 to compete in rookie mini camp, which runs through May 11. From now until the final preseason game, Prather will do all he can to unseat veteran Steve Weatherford as the Saints punter. The Saints will only keep one of them.

The two players are practically clones. Weatherford [6-3, 215], out of University of Illinois, joined New Orleans in 2006 after signing a three-year contract as an undrafted free agent.

Both are well-rounded athletes. Weatherford also competed in the heptathlon on the track and field team in college. In high school, Prather played five different positions -- quarterback, tight end, linebacker, punter and kicker -- on the football team. He also competed on the basketball, baseball and golf teams as a senior, when the Sentinel named him Santa Cruz County's Male Athlete of the Year.

Both Weatherford and Prather were kinesiology majors. Prather will graduate May 24.

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