The next pair of potential Saints draft picks I have analyzed are projected to be taken in later rounds. These players will help the teams need on defensive line and wide receiver.
Malik Jackson, DL, University of Tennessee
Jackson, projected as a fifth round pick in the draft, seems like he could be a good late round pickup. His body size, 6'5" and 270 lbs, is similar to that of Saints nose tackle Shaun Rogers, just a little less weight. This could end up being to his advantage, as he runs a 4.84 40-yard dash; pretty quick for a big man.
In Jackson's college career, he spent two years at USC before transferring and finishing up at Tennessee. While at Tennessee, Jackson recorded 52 tackles (104 total), 26 which were for a loss, 8 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Looking at his tape, I was pretty impressed with Malik's play. Being as big as he is, he has tremendous athletic ability. His arm length and speed go together great as he is able to fight off blocks and get to the quarterback. His talents were utilized often because he has experience playing as an interior tackle as well as a defensive end.
Playing inside he uses his massive size to plays violent, moving the pile and creating a new line of scrimmage. Off the edge, Jackson uses his speed to get around tackles to create havoc in the pocket. If the Saints are unable to get a good defensive lineman through free agency or re-sign one of their own, Jackson would be a great fit.
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Stephen Hill is another player who should be available late. He is projected to be taken in the sixth round. Hill is an interesting player, as he is widely thought of as being NFL ready due to his size and intangibles. Listed at 6'5" and 206 lbs, Hill corresponds to a former Yellow Jacket that has made quite a name for himself in the NFL, Calvin Johnson, also known as "Megatron."
Having only three seasons under his belt, Stephen contributed pretty well to his team, with his Junior year being his best. He gained 1,248 yards on 49 receptions (25.5 yards per catch), with nine of those receptions being touchdowns.
Watching Hill's film I noticed he has great separation speed to go along with his good hands. Running a 4.49 40-yard dash, he used that to his advantage on deep routes and crossing patterns. On running plays, Hill also showed the ability to block well into the secondary, a trait that all the Saints receivers seem to have. With the possibility of losing either Marques Colston or Robert Meachem to another team, the Saints will have to look for a receiver to fill their place. Hill could serve as the tall, speedy possession receiver the Saints will need.
As the Saints will not have much money to spend on marquee players in free agency to fill holes, they will have to take advantage of their draft picks. The players I have discussed are not regarded as the "best" at their position, but I feel that they are worth taking a look at and are very realistic selections. With the draft being more than two months away, there will be tons of speculation as to who the Saints will keep, let go, or sign. So let the fun begin!