Analysis of Draft

Below is the combined rating from all the services I could find and a short blurb about each player from the combine and other services. Except for Toon, the Saints took players that had big question marks, but plenty of potential. Except for the sixth pick I don't think they took anyone that doesn't have a chance of making the roster. I don't know what it is about the sixth pick in the draft, but the Saints have trouble selecting anyone in the sixth round. I hate that pick the most. The kid can't pass block and has weight issues. Not to mention, at 62, I'm a better athlete than he is.

3rd round

Akiem Hicks, DT/NT, Regina University (Canada)
Height: 6-5. Weight: 318.
40 Time: 5.21.
Bench: 26.
Vertical: 31.5. Broad: 9-0.
Arm: 35 1/8. Hand: 10 1/8.
Projected Round (2012): 2-6. Combined rating 3.26

Hicks was decent at the Combine, but doing well in his team interviews were probably more critical than having a big field performance. The Canada product Hicks caught scouts attention by flashing at the East-West Shrine practices. He is a large man who has some quickness and athleticism.

Hicks was at LSU before leaving the program in January of 2010. He was signed out of the community college ranks prior to that. Hicks has physical tools, but teams will need to do research into his background.

It's not that I don't like this pick. He has the potential to be a great dt, but he has character issues. Do the Saints with their current problems want a player with character flaws? I also question the pick because of who was left on the board at this point. Brandon Thompson had dropped and was available. He was projected as a solid second rounder. He is not a pass rusher, but a run stopper. He dropped because of the emphasis on pass rushing skills. Chris Givens and Ladarius Green were available, both would have been solid picks. I really like Green's chances of going to the Pro Bowl in 3 years.

Hicks could be a great player or he could be a bust. Of the fifteen services I examined he was rated from a second rounder to a sixth rounder. That is a huge gamble for a team without a first or second round pick.

Grade: B

4th round

Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
Height: 6-2. Weight: 215.
40 Time: 4.54.
Vertical: 37.5.
Hand: 9.
Projected Round (2012): 2-4. Combined Rating 3.27

Toon was solid at the Combine and his 40 time was better than expected. He is a quality prospect for the second day. Toon flashed at times, but Wisconsin simply didn't throw him the ball that much, as the team featured a ground attack. He caught 64 passes for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. Toon would have better production if he played on a team that wasn't based in the run game.

Toon has nice size, runs good routes, and has good hands. He also blocks extremely well. The wide out did a nice job of developing some quick chemistry with new quarterback Russell Wilson. Toon does not have special speed. That and durability seem to be the missing aspects of his game.

To me this was the best pick of the draft for the Saints. Toon was rated no worse than a high fourth round pick in the fifteen services I examined. He was rated as high as a top second round pick by two services. It broke down to 3 services rated him 2, 5 services rated him 2-3 and 7 services rated him 2 - 4. His projection score was 79th player overall, which was a top 3rd rounder. At this point, he was the best player on the board by combined rating score.

Grade: A+

5th Round

Corey White, SS, Samford
Height: 5-11. Weight: 206.
40 Time: 4.47.
Vertical: 37.5.
Hand: 9 3/8.
Projected Round (2012): 5-FA. Combined Rating 5.27

White is an up-and-coming prospect out of Samford who has great size for a cornerback and could be moved back to safety at the next level given his skill set. He has been a consistent tackler and run defender. He could benefit from playing at the back of a defense and working toward the line of scrimmage to be more involved in run support than he would be from his corner position. He could struggle athletically at corner. Look for him to be taken in the late rounds as a project and special teams contributor.

White is very strong in run support, where he takes great angles toward the ball. He uses his feet to track runners and fit on them to make plays. He approaches ball carriers like a safety would, which bodes well for a position switch. White displays good athletic ability when near a receiver with the ball is in the air, but he can struggle getting to that point. All these skill sets combine to make him a stronger and more intriguing safety than corner, especially given his size.

White is not a great athlete for the corner position. He is a bit of an awkward runner and can struggle in transitions. He stutters his feet through movements and in and out of breaks, which makes it difficult for him to cover closely in man-to-man schemes. He is a bit late in reacting to plays because of his slow footwork, and the same is true of his reactions when working in zone.

Another Roman Harper, he is a great run supporter, but has coverage issues. He has great size, but lacks quickness to the ball. He has hand issues. He was only rated on 11 of the 15 services, which means 4 services didn't think he warranted even a look. Not really good for a fifth round pick.

He has great potential, but he is a clone of what we already have. I would have liked them go after someone who could intercept the ball a bit. Again this was a pick that confused me. Terrell Manning was on the board. He was an outside linebacker that was on all 15 services and was projected to be in the 3-4 range. I was begging them to take him. He came out early and that was a mistake, but he has pass rushing skills, something we need at linebacker. I think he could have been a spot starter this season.

Grade: B-

6th round

Andrew Tiller, G/T, Syracuse
Height: 6-4. Weight: 324.
40 Time: 5.50.
Bench: 31.
Arm: 33 1/2. Hand: 10.
Projected Round (2012): 6-FA. Combine rating 6.9

Tiller arrived at Syracuse over 400 pounds but dropped weight in order to break into the lineup. He is not a very good athlete despite the weight loss. Tiller needs to develop more skills than just being a power-drive blocker. He also has to improve his pass protection. Tiller did not impress at the Combine.

Tiller has NFL size for the guard position. He is a below-average athlete, which hurts his ability to contribute early at the next level. A strong, positional blocker who really excels in the run game, where he can overpower defenders. His footwork is his Achilles heel and the likely reason he will probably be delegated to the practice squad during his first few years.

Tiller excels as a run blocker. Although not very explosive, if he is able to get his hands on defensive linemen he is generally able to move them out of the play. Size and strength are the shining attributes of his game.

Tiller is a non-explosive interior lineman who struggles in pass protection. It seems he hasn't honed in on a stance and pass-set that he feels comfortable with, as when gets too high at times and can be caught off balance by powerful pass rushers. He struggles in space to work upfield and get his hands on linebackers, and would really excel more in a zone blocking scheme.

Terrible pick. He is a first cut player. He would have been a terrible free agent pick up, much less a draft pick. I don't know what it is about the sixth round, but the Saints cannot pick anyone at this pick. They should just trade all their sixth round picks. They have some sort of mental block at this pick.

Tiller has weight issues. He can't pass block for a team that features the pass. Winston Guy was available. He would have been a great pick up for a strong safety. He can catch. He has good speed and size and is a devastating hitter. He was projected as a 5th rounder in most services.

Grade: F

7th round

Marcel Jones, T, Nebraska
Height: 6-6. Weight: 320.
40 Time: 5.68.
Bench: 13.
Arm: 33 5/8. Hand: 10 1/8.
Projected Round (2012): 2-6. Combine rating 5.26

Jones is one of the top offensive tackles in the class after starting for two years on some highly productive Nebraska offensive lines. He has the size and footwork to compete for a job at left tackle at the next level, and such prospects often have second or third round value. Jones is no different, and he has the talent to start early in his NFL career. Look for him to make a move to the right side, though, as he is less reliable powering off his right foot and isn't quite at the level to start immediately protecting on the left side.

He is a polished run blocker from his time spent in the Nebraska offense, but he is an accomplished pass protector as well. He has size to block any defensive end in the NFL and a pass set and anchor to stop a bull rush. He is athletic enough to recover against pro defensive ends and would be a physically imposing player on any offensive line. He likely will need to begin his NFL career on the right side as he develops the flexibility and reliability to be a blindside blocker.

Jones can struggle at times in space, as he is a big man and can take a few steps to get going. He is reliable at sustaining blocks once there but can struggle to throttle down and set on linebackers.

This may have been the best pick for value in the draft. He was rated highly by the combine services. He was actually projected by two services as a second round pick. Overall, he was projected as a top quarter fifth rounder, but many had him moving up in the draft. He could actually get some playing time for the Saints.

Grade: A+

Overall, it wasn't a spectacular draft, but how could it be with no first two day picks.

Overall Grade: B-

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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