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So, How’d Our Rookies Do?

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Auditing the Saints rookie additions for the 2015 season

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL Draft shook out like this for the Saints. If you’ll recall, with the 13th pick of each round (sans the 4th) and an extra pick in the 1st (Jimmy Graham trade), 3rd (Kenny Stills trade), and two 5ths (Ben Grubbs trade; 2016 6th to Washington), the Saints selected as follows –

1(13) – Andrus Peat, T, Stanford

2(31) – Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson

3(44) – Hau’oli Kikaha, LB, Washington

3(75) – Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado

3(78) – P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State

5(148) – Davis Tull, LB, Chattanooga

5(154) – Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno State

5(167) – Damian Swann, CB, Georgia

7(230) – Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri

Undrafted – Tavaris Barnes, DE, Clemson

Undrafted – Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State

Undrafted – Obum Gwacham, DE, Oregon State

Undrafted – Bobby Richardson, DE, Indiana

How’d they do?

Andrus Peat: Played everywhere from left guard (4 starts) to left tackle (2 starts), in supply for Terron Armstead. Peat played in 12 games; 8 of which he started. He had a sole fumble recovery and committed only two penalties (both against Houston, unsurprisingly) over that time. Peat needs more time to develop, but (and there’s always a but) he’s every bit the "man mountain" someone at CSC once referred to him as.

Stephone Anthony: I loved this pick and still do. Anthony was asked to come in and wear the mic on a quite raw defense, executing a complicated scheme, with an underwhelming cast of characters. How’d he do? Well, he did well. Anthony was 20th in combined tackles this year, sandwiched between the likes of Bobby Wagner and Danny Trevathan, notched a sack, two forced fumbles (one recovered for a TD), an interception, and 2 pts + NFL history with a blocked (credit to Kevin Williams) PAT returned for a TD against the Carolina Panthers. He also had 5 passes defensed. Looking forward to a big sophomore year from Anthony.

Hau’oli Kikaha: Kikaha had quite a good year as the SAM LB for the Saints. Kikaha had a combined 52 tackles, 4 sacks and 4 fumbles forced (tied for second in the league). It’s odd, really. The former NCAA "sack champion" had gotten off to an early start on the season with 4 sacks through the first six games (on pace for 9) and then stagnated, despite appearing in 15 (missed against Tennessee). Could it have to with his shift from the Rob Ryan to the Dennis Allen defense? It will be interesting to see his role next year and how he develops alongside whatever new personnel join the roster between now and April 30.

Neither Garrett Grayson nor P.J. Williams played a snap in 2015. The former because Drew Brees, the latter due to injury and subsequent injured reserve placement. I would go on here to speculate about the role either of these guys could play, but let’s just wait for 2016 to see.

Davis Tull: No one is reporting any stats for Tull, though I am pretty sure this is an error. If you can find some stats for the man, please post ‘em in the comments with #yoherethestats and I’ll update this post.

Tyeler Davison: Any and every Saint with an "on or around" the Saints d line roster designation played this season. If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, check out this bit on the Saints defensive line coach, Bill Johnson. Davison garnered a sack and a half in 5 games started, though he appeared in every game, and 18 tackles.  I’ll leave it at that. For now.

Damian Swann: Man, Damian Swann looked really promising in the seven games in which he played. The man was concussed no fewer than three times and his season was ultimately cut short. Some have postulated he’d retire early due to concussion problems. Look, concussions are good for no one (particularly the recipient), but I tend to think it’s a tad early (and a disservice) to say, oh, he’s concussion prone, he’s not gonna work out. If anyone finds a CB who’s had similar issues yet developed into at least a serviceable CB, please #yoheredemCBstats and I’ll update this post. I’ll bet there are plenty.

Marcus Murphy: Our 2015 7th rounder! Murphy, in addition to Jairus Byrd and Michael Hoomanawanui (both VERY confusing options), fielded returns for us this season – 28 total for 261 yards (9.3 YPR). Nothing to write home about, but he did have a 74-yard punt return for a TD. Given the depth at RB the Saints possess yet dearth of special teams guys, I hope to see more of Murphy next season.

The Undrafteds

I figured I’d lump all these guys together in a single paragraph. No disrespect, dudes. Eulls played in four games (literally no stats), Barnes had five tackles in 12 games played, Obum Gwacham tallied 2.5 sacks and 8 tackles in nine games played. Bobby Richardson was pretty good. He had 40 combined tackles in 15 games played, including a half-sack, interception, and a number of run stops. He was starting at DE most of the season, though his pass rushing abilities were negligible in that time. Run stopper, sure.

Delvin Breaux

Yep, he’s a rookie. Technically. Breaux started all 16 games this season, tallying 45 combined tackles, 19 passes defensed and 3 interceptions. Pro Football Focus analyst Nathan Jahnke wrote about Breaux playing at a Pro Bowl level and we’ve written about him quite a bit here. Here’s a fun Tweet from them from the middle of December.

Oh, yeah, and there’s this

What do you think, Saints fans? How'd our rookies play this year?