Draft time always brings out new hopes for fans and teams alike in the upcoming season. It also makes dreams come true for college football stars hoping to make a splash in the NFL. For the Saints in the Payton/Loomis administration, this has given new life to kids slightly off most scouts' radars. Although they don't have the best success in the 1st round of the draft, they have been able to pick up solid contributors that are tailor-made for the offensive system that the Saints run in later rounds and in the undrafted free agent market.
Even though I don't believe this philosophy works well on defense (and I've written a few blog posts to highlight that sentiment), here are a few small school prospects that will probably suit up in the Dome in 2013.
1) Montori Hughes
Reason: With Rob Ryan running the new 3-4 defense, his options at nose tackle are fairly slim with Broderick Bunkley and Akiem Hicks. Both guys were drafted or acquired with the skills of a 4-3 defensive tackle. Hughes is actually a transfer from Tennessee that got some action as a freshman but got in trouble and left on a bad note. His situation is similar to Carl Nicks and Chris Ivory, who had off the field issues. Raw and athletic, he could be the new foundation for the new defensive line.
2) Jack Doyle
School: Western Kentucky
Reason: I like his skill set. He appears to fit the mold of a good #2 TE option for Drew Brees on offense and has good understanding of route running. While split out wide or in a conventional stance, he caught 47 passes for over 500 yards and even though he needs to work on blocking, another project would not be a bad option considering the success of Jimmy Graham and the signing of an aging Ben Watson.
3) Garrett Gilkey
School: Chadron State
Reason: This guy actually peaked my interest after noticing an article on Yahoo. All-conference and even a part time basketball player (although not a particularly good one), he shows the athletic capability to get things done on the edge. He's very active in the run game and looks the part of a guard, but could kick to tackle if the coaching works out.