Saints Rookie Free Agents Analysis

Sorry guys. I missed this one and was at Jazzfest all day. It's Mike Detillier analyzing our undrafted free agent signings on Houma Today's website. This was a very informative article. I highly suggest reading the whole thing. Check it out here .

He starts off by telling us to remember this...

In the world of the NFL there are more undrafted free agents in the league than first-round draft choices. Now, many of those players are back-ups, special team performers and role performers, but they are important pieces of the puzzle on every NFL team.

This is who he told us to watch out for this off-season.

Last week Hebert called and asked me what free agents I thought could make the 2008 Saints roster.

In taking a close look at the undrafted free agents three players stuck out for me.

Iowa State wide receiver Todd Blythe has been a very productive player at the collegiate level. Blythe, the son of former major league baseball catcher Jim Blythe, excelled as a wide receiver at the prep level catching 150 passes for 2,222 yards and 26 touchdowns during his high school career. After being redshirted in 2003, Blythe won a starting job at wide receiver and was a 4-year starter for the Cyclones.

Last season Todd caught 52 passes for 779 yards and five touchdowns. He ended up as the Cyclones’ all-time career leader with 176 passes for 3,096 yards and 31 touchdown receptions.

That is very good production coming from a team not noted for being able to pass the football effectively.

Blythe lacks great downfield speed and super quickness off the line, but he has great size, he runs very sharp routes and he knows how to use his big body and huge wingspan to snap passes from a defender. Yes, there are faster receivers with better open-field moves, but Blythe has a real shot to play in the NFL because he is such a good route runner, he knows how to work himself open, and he is a huge target for a quarterback to find in the red zone.

The next player to keep a close watch on is Boston College middle linebacker Jolonn Dunbar.

Dunbar was a SuperPrep Magazine All-American running back in high school rushing for 5,136 yards and 55 touchdowns during his prep career.

After signing with Boston College the 6-0 ¼, 230-pounder was switched over to inside linebacker and for the past two seasons he has been a very productive football player and a superb team leader for the Golden Eagles.

Over the past two seasons Dunbar has recorded 182 tackles, 11 ½ tackles for losses and he returned two fumbles for touchdowns as a junior against the University of Maryland.

While Dunbar lacks great size and lateral range, the young man is 100 percent football player and someone who is rarely out of position to make a play.

What always jumped out about Dunbar to me was his ability to use his arms and hands to get off blockers and he is a very alert player out on the field.

Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, who the Atlanta Falcons selected with the third overall selection in Round 1 last weekend, described Dunbar as “one of the smartest and toughest guys there is at Boston College. Jolann is a true leader and someone everyone on the team looks up to.”

My ninth rated inside linebacker for the 2008 draft went undrafted because he didn’t fit the computer numbers, but this guy is smart, tough, always around the football and he will be a hard cut in late August.

The third player on the undrafted list to watch for is TCU safety David Roach.

Five years ago a college coaching friend asked me to evaluate a defensive back from Abilene High School in Texas in David Roach.

What I saw was the same David Roach I have seen the past four seasons at TCU.

 

Roach is a well-built, very tough defender against the run, a free safety with excellent range out on the field and a player with great leaping and timing skills.

The hard hitting safety has always been strong against the run, but what he needs to work on is his pass coverage techniques and his ability to react quicker to what is breaking down in front of him.

Roach lacks great football instincts and while he can run (4.51) 40-yard dash time, he plays more like a 4.7 player out on the field.

There is no questioning his athletic skills out on the field, but just how quickly he can pick up pro assignments and techniques will be very interesting.

Finally, he breaks down the talent in this years draft by where they actually came from.

If you are looking for recruiting hotbeds for talent in the college ranks all you have to do is look where the Top 100 players drafted come from.

In the 2008 draft here is a breakdown on the top 5 states that produced the top 100 players from the prep ranks.

1. Florida (13) -- 5-1st round picks, 2-2nd round picks, 6-3rd round picks.

2. California (12) -- 5-1st round picks, 3-2nd round picks, 4-3rd round picks.

3. Texas (11) -- 1-1st round pick, 5-2nd round picks, 5-3rd round picks.

4. Virginia (7) -- 3-1st round picks, 2-2nd round picks, 2-3rd round picks.

5. Louisiana (6) -- 2-1st round picks, 2-2nd round picks, 2-3rd round picks.

The prep ranks in the above five states produced 49 of the Top 100 players drafted last weekend.

You had to figure Louisiana would be up there. We are a hot bed of talent for football.

By the way, Saints rookie mini-camp starts May 9th. A little later than most everyone else.

Also, The Advertiser in Lafayette had an article about the Saints draft. They are a little late on this one, and there is nothing new here, but I figure I'll share it with you anyway.

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