I got to thinking the other day, what if the CBA is not signed by the early March deadline. Will there be a draft? Or better yet, will there be any professional football played in 2011? I doubt it will be a recreation of 1982 because the players were striking, not the owners. I am giving an educated guess that this bargain agreement will get nasty in the next month, and the lockout will be like 1987. There will be football played, but with replacement players. But who will play? I say we should look to the Arena League, Canadian Football League, and at college players who have a slim chance of being drafted. I've put together a roster of possible players the Saints should look at signing to play in replacement games.
Quarterback- There is a plethora of quarterbacks that are chomping at the bit to get noticed in the bigtime spotlight. In 1987, John Fourcade didn't do so bad, leading the Saints to a 2-1 record during the strike. The Saints decided to keep Fourcade for three more seasons to be a backup.
My scab choices: Ryan Perrilloux (NFL Free Agent), T.J. Yates (North Carolina)
Perrilloux:Are you really surprised I chose him? Sure he royally screwed LSU and Jordan Jefferson for a few seasons, and he has his off the field issues, but he's good. He went undrafted out of Jacksonville State, and signed by Minnesota, but released soon after. In two seasons at Jacksonville State, Perrilloux racked up 2,292 passing yards with a 64% completion percentage. We all know he's got the legs of a young Donavan McNabb, and a gun for an arm. In the UFL, he went 33 of 69 for 395 yards, 1 TD, and no interceptions. If he could keep his head straight, he could do good things for the Saints.
Yates: Standing at 6'4 and 220lbs, Yates is more than prototypical size. In a replacement league, the game will be sloppy. Yates can counter that because he runs the spread offense very well. In three years at North Carolina, he passed for 58 touchdowns. Last season, he had a 145.6 QB rating, and a 67% completion percentage. With a little practice and coaching, Yates could possibly even stay on the roster after the lockout is done with.
Running Back- Like quarterbacks, there are plenty of running backs who can be scabs. I like the 1-2 punch of thunder and lightning.
My scab choices: PJ Hill (Practice Squad), Noel Devine (West Virginia)
Hill:I chose PJ Hill because he is a familiar face. He knows the Saints playbook, and its as easy as that. He has been on and off our practice squad since 2009. He is a hard runner, but can't ever seem to stay healthy through the four games of preseason. In 2009, he rushed for 128 yards on 26 carries with 3 TDs. Hill has alot of similarities to Pierre Thomas. The real difference is Pierre's fluid moves.
Devine:The guy is 5'7 and 180 lbs. He's undersized, gets tackled easily, and isn't a recieving threat. So, why did I choose him? He has good vision finding the hole, and explosiveness. He runs a 4.3 40, which leaves Reggie Bush in the dust. At West Virginia, Devine played in 51 games, gaining 4315 rushing yards and a 5.9 ypc. With sloppy, untrained defensive play, Devine could suceed.
Fullback- I don't see much sucess from a filler for a fullback. Its hard to find a good one these days, and I can tell you none of the guys I have in mind are the next Lorenzo Neal or Craig Heyward.
My scab choice: Anthony Sherman, UConn
Sherman: Nothing too special about this guy. He doesn't run especially well, but he can create a good seal, or lead block. I watched him play in a few games and he reminds me of Mike Karney.
Wide Reciever- I guess I'm alot like Al Davis- I like my recievers fast.
Harper: We all know who Rod Harper is. He can be a deep threat, and can return punts. In 2009 with the Saints, Harper returned two punts to the house during the preseason. He played for the Arkansas Twisters in the Arena II league, and was one of the top recievers. In one season, Harper had 107 receptions for 1375 yards and 38 TDs.
Livas:Hands down the fastest reciever who won't be drafted. If there is no lockout, Livas will definatly be an undrafted free agent. He runs a 4.3 40, which makes him a down the field threat. Last season in Ruston, Livas was banged up and only gained 266 recieving yards, but I think he can excel if he can stay healthy.
Lee: Lee reminds me of Colston, standing at 6'5 and weighing 230 pounds. In the Arena league, he is a top 5 reciever. He catches the ball away from his body, and can jump up to pluck a high ball out of the air. He's 29, but can provide some much needed veteran assistance to a likely young team
Tight End- Off topic, but man was Jimmy Graham a beast last season. Can't wait to see more of him. For my choices, I have one recieving TE (#1) and a blocking (#2). Its not very easy to find a veteran Tight End that could be a mentor figure because if they're not on an active roster, they don't last.
My scab picks: Tyler Lorenzen (Practice Squad), Weslye Saunders (South Carolina)
Lorenzen:Tyler has been on our practice squad since 2009. From coaches reports, he has shown promise, and just hasn't been able to break the barrier of practice squad and active roster. It's hard to grade Lorenzen from looking at his college career because he mostly played quarterback.
Saunders: Last, but not least, Weslye Saunders. This guy is an absolute monster. He is 6'6, 270 lbs. More of a blocking tight end, but also has great hands. I don't think he will get drafted because Saunders has not played since 2009 when he was dismissed from the South Carolina football team. He has off the field troubles, but consistantly provided edge seals for his running backs. He was also great on 3rd down, averaging 11.0 ypc.
Tackle- Of course tackle is the most important O-Line position. There aren't any veteran free agents that would be available, so most teams could be in for a sack-filled season if they do no find a diamond in the rough
My scab picks: Willie Smith, LT (E.Carolina), Kyle Hix, RT (Texas)
Smith: Has good height at 6'5, but a tad underweight, being just under 300 lbs. Smith has a problem with false start penalties at the wrong time. He is a good run blocker, recording a team high 71 pancake blocks last season at East Carolina. He has good arm strength, and momentum behind his big frame. I chose him to be the left tackle because he played the position for three years.
Hix: Hix is quite the opposite of Smith. He is the perfect size (6'7 320) to play tackle. He is slower than Smith, so could have some problems blocking speed rushers. Hix is primarily a pass blocker. He has great upper body strength and a low center of gravity. Hix was an honorable mention for All-Big 10 Team. His best season was 2009, pass blocking for Colt McCoy's passing attack.
Guard- I think the key to a good running game for mediocre backs is good guards. I don't think we'll find Alan Faneca in this bunch, but we would have to pick up two run blocking guards.
My scab picks: Bryant Browning, RG (Ohio St.), Terran Hillesland, LG (CFL, Lions)
Hillesland: In 2009, Hillesland was rated as the being the 53rd best lineman in his draft class. Nothing spectacular, but at least worth being drafted. He was passed over in the draft, and went on to play in the CFL for the British Columbia Lions. After signing with the Lions, the team ran the ball behind him more than 80 times last season. Their rookie running back, Martell Mallett ran for 1240 yards.
Browning: Played at right tackle during his first season and struggled. He was moved to guard and played extremely well. His pro's include good hands and powerful run blocking ability. His downfalls are his bad footwork, where he can get beat by better defensive lineman.
Center- Its surprising how many bad centers there are floating around. Generally speaking, Centers do not develop as much as other positions on the Line. Most centers are undersized to help with pass blocking. Most of the other O-Lineman I chose were run blockers, so I think having a pass blocking center could help
My scab pick: Dominic Picard (Toronto Argonauts)
Picard: Basically a no-name in American football, Picard is one of the top centers in Canadian football. He's a seasoned veteran, which would help out with a young offensive line. He has a normal size for a center. His only downfalls may be run blocking, and not calling plays. In Canadian football, the center calls the plays like the quarterback. I could see this as a problem.
If there is a lockout this season, I hope and pray there is football. If not, we may have to wait it out until LSU starts playing again. If there is a season, it will be a messy slopfest of penalties and missed tackles. Let me know what you think of my possible 2011 Saints Roster. Tune in this weekend for my defensive roster.