The 2015 NFL Draft comes to its conclusion today in Chicago with Rounds 4-7 beginning shortly. The New Orleans Saints have four picks remaining, two in Round 5 (148 & 154), one in Round 6 (187), and one in Round 7 (230). The Saints still have some needs to fill and these picks may represent that "diamond in the rough" the Saints have been lucky enough to find in the past.
Here are three players that just may make a difference at positions of need in today's draft:
Devante Davis - Wide Receiver - UNLV (6'3", 220)
STRENGTHSGood size and body composition. Adjusts well to inaccurate throws while on the move. Very few focus drops during his career. As good as you could ask for at tracking deep ball -- never loses sight of it. Will make late adjustment to underthrown balls so that he doesn't give away ball location to defender with back turned. Outstanding awareness with diligent footwork near sideline and back of the end zone. Runs a subtle, effective deep post. Solid run-after-catch talent as long as it is downfield. Clever hand usage downfield to create pre-catch separation.
WEAKNESSESAverage athlete. Feet not quick enough to create consistent separation within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Below-average release off the line of scrimmage. Athletic cornerbacks can press and crowd him. A little tight in hips. Slow to get into his breaks and then to turn and find ball. Quarterbacks made his life miserable with poorly thrown balls and throws into double coverage. Needs to improve on working back to the ball. Will drop too many contested throws. Missed time in 2014 due to wrist injury.
DRAFT PROJECTIONRound 6 or 7
BOTTOM LINEDavis does his best work after the throw is in the air, with terrific awareness and body control. His problem is that he doesn't do anything special before the throw to get open. He doesn't have the feet or acceleration to free himself, so he will have to learn to body up defenders more effectively and become special with his hands in order to be an NFL backup.
Ellis McCarthy - Nose Tackle - UCLA (6'5", 338)
STRENGTHSRare size. Has thick lower body and is rarely manhandled by a single block. Has potential to play several positions along a defensive line including end in a 3-4. Has natural strength to leverage his gap and take on double team blocks. Improved hand usage from 2013 to 2014. Flashes ability to collapse pocket as bull rusher.
WEAKNESSESWill let pad level rise and doesn't consistently fire into blockers as expected. Slow to shed despite size/strength advantage. Very limited play radius. Plays man in front of him rather than seeing through to the ball. Slow-twitch player lacking passion and determination in his play. Struggled with fluctuating weight which ballooned up to 350 pounds at one point. Conditioning is an issue. Has had surgery on both knees including one for a torn meniscus.
SOURCES TELL US"He was supposed to be all-world, and when he got to UCLA I don't think he had the discipline he needed. He got too big, and then had knee issues and he never looked like the player he was supposed to be when he came in." -- AFC North scout
BOTTOM LINECame into UCLA as a heralded five-star recruit and is leaving school after three seasons with just eight starts including none this past season. McCarthy has size that will plant him on some draft boards, but he lacks skill as a pass rusher and hasn't proved that he can venture from a phone booth to make plays. McCarthy's knees will need to be checked closely, but the bigger concern could be his weight problems and whether or not he has the desire to do what it takes to be a player in the league.
Jarvis Harrison - Guard - Texas A&M (6'4", 330)
STRENGTHSBurly lower body made for the guard position. High school basketball player who displays rare foot quickness for a man his size. Glides to second level using proper angles. Utilizes power step to shut down inside moves. Has feet and balance to mirror in pass pro pre- and post-contact. Maintains good posture at punch point. Comfortable finding and hitting targets in space. Technically sound in run game and pass pro. Has filled in at tackle and might have swing potential in a pinch.
WEAKNESSESAllows more bull-rush push than most guards his size. Will finesse it too often. Hasn't unleashed consistent power that his bend and size should provide him. Shows signs of being a content blocker who won't always finish. Had offseason shoulder surgery. Head coach benched him for first two games due to conditioning concerns. Scouting community has questions about his desire to work hard and manage weight.
DRAFT PROJECTIONRounds 3 or 4
SOURCES TELL US"I believe he has Pro Bowl caliber talent, but his work ethic is a major concern for me. I know he loves basketball, but not sure if he feels the same about football. The talent? That's a given. He's really, really talented." -- AFC scouting director "You know what? I actually like the kid. I trust what our scouts have to say about him being lazy but I don't think he's a character concern at all. I'm going to fight for him if he's still there in the fourth round." -- AFC executive
BOTTOM LINEDancing bear who possesses the talent, technique and physical traits to be a high-end NFL starter. Not asked to fire out on defenders often in Texas A&M scheme, so that might be an area where he has room for growth. Teams might have to decide between the film and the football character when slotting him. Keeping his weight under control could be a tall task during his career.
You never really know what you're going to get in the draft, especially here in the later rounds, but these three may just be players that could provide some much needed depth at positions of need this season.
*bios courtesy of nfl.com*