clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker - Part IV

New, comments

Time for Round 4 of your ongoing 2016 Saints draft preparation series involving everyone's favorite front office staff member, The Drunk Hooker!

Join me as we get inside the mind of Jeff Ireland this week.
Join me as we get inside the mind of Jeff Ireland this week.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This week's edition of Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker is here and have I got a treat for you!

I unearthed, well, unearthed isn't entirely accurate, because Skiver did post it in an FDL earlier this week, so I basically tripped over it in my daily readings. But anyway, after howling about my stubbed toe, I pored through this February 23 neworleanssaints.com Black and Blue Podcast that featured a pre-Combine interview between John DeShazier and Jeff Ireland. From it, I pulled some answers from Ireland that relate to scouting and the Combine and his alleged impact on the player evaluation and acquisition process.

But first, here are the previous installments of this Epic Series:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

J.D. goes One-on-One with J.I., and although the "Black and Blue" name on the podcast might imply hard-hitting journalism, understand this is a softball podcast interview with a team hack/flack. Also, I did a hack job myself of transcribing - writing, rewinding the podcast, and then writing again, etc.- to get the relevant quotes down, so even though some are presented in quote format, know they are all slightly paraphrased, and therefore not intended to be taken as precise, direct and exact word for word quotes, but "close enough" with the general meaning intact.

When asked about the differences between himself and Mickey Loomis, Ireland mentioned "nuances" and pointed to their differing backgrounds, noting that Loomis comes from the executive and administration side whereas he self-identified as a "20-year player personnel guy" who "was a GM for six years" in Miami. In this response, he also said, "I cut the board to a minimal amount of players, where they may have had more in the past."

Then JD asked him to talk about how they determine a player being a good fit for the team and "what makes a Saint," and then he let Ireland talk. Ireland filled that empty space by talking about "saying it out loud" and "not just taking a scout's word" for anything and that "the way we get to a decision is different now." Hmm, this could be interesting and hopeful. He also spoke of desiring to create a collective vision on how a guy can help the team and looking for "big, tough, smart players" that "play on every down." He then said, "If we're not all on the same page about how a guy can help the team, then he may not be for us. And maybe that's where I help in the process, cutting down the board."

Ireland also commented on the difference between the Senior Bowl and the Combine, and he referenced obvious things like one has a game and one doesn't, and that one is much bigger than the other, but that they are both good tools for measuring and interviewing players as part of a much bigger process. He also mentioned "we can't let only one factor, such as the Senior Bowl game, or the Combine interviews, or the Combine physical tests dominate" the overall evaluation/ranking of a player.

He applied some metaphors to the team's use of the Combine, calling it "completing the equation" and "just putting color to it" as part of the "finishing touches" of evaluating and ranking the players. He said that by the time the Combine arrives, "we know what kind of players these are by now" by "reviewing and evaluating tape" to pretty much create the draft board ahead of the Combine. He then said that this advance work and sequence of work ensures "we don't make decisions based just on an interview or running around in shorts" and allows them to balance all the information to get more complete pictures of all the players.

When asked about specific focus areas in the Combine, he said that some of the defensive position groups are strong, the offensive line group is strong, and that it is a deep draft overall. And as a result, they have "20-30 more players on The Board this year than in the past."

In regard to the 2015 draft class, he characterized it with these cliches, "the arrow is up on all of them" and "we are pleased overall" and "good type of player make-up." He also said that there were "no surprises" and that "all the 2015 guys here are who we thought, and that's not always the case. We did well identifying and bringing in good guys and they are who we thought they were."

OK, so how about we parse those words in the comment section to guess what's real and what ain't, and what means something and what doesn't?

Now for the 2009 Non-Draft Acquisitions:

Date

Player/How Acquired

March 5

Signed FA CB Jabari Greer

March 12

Signed FA FB Heath Evans

March 24

Signed FA S Darren Sharper

March 25

Signed FA S Pierson Prioleau

March 27

Signed UDFA LB Jonathan Casillas

April 15

Signed FA DE Anthony Hargrove

Best of the Best

None.

Good Get

The Saints snatched Jabari Greer to be their top CB, and he delivered as a GOOD GET for the better part of five seasons, despite this scathing review of the acquisition by the National Football Post at the time (as it appeared on Greer's 2009 rotopage):

The Saints didn't learn their lesson with Jason David. Still desperate at CB, New Orleans adds another product of the Tampa 2. Greer is a better athlete than David, but wasn't a shutdown corner in Buffalo, missed a month and a half last year with a knee injury, and has four picks in 70 career games. He isn't a noticeable upgrade over Randall Gay, Tracy Porter, or Usama Young.

He locked down his side of the secondary from 2009-2013, although injuries bookended his career with the Saints. He only started 8 games in 9 appearances in 2009 and then a bad knee injury in November 2013 that shut him down for good.  He made 60 starts in 63 appearances, recording 217 tackles, 40 assists, 9 INTs (2 TD returns), 69 pass break-ups (King NCMFer?), and one fumble recovery.

Nearly-gassed 34-year old S Darren Sharper came to the Saints with Payloo hoping to get some veteran leadership and above-average safety play out of him. What they got was the BEST PLAYMAKING/DIFFERENCE-MAKING SEASON IN SAINTS HISTORY from an individual player in the secondary during the BEST OVERALL SEASON IN TEAM HISTORY. His presence in the defensive backfield made the defense just good enough to allow the Saints to roll to a Super Bowl season.  The nine interceptions he notched in one year is second in team history (to the original stud Dave Whitsell's 10 in 1967), the 376 interception return yards is an NFL record, the three INT return TDs that year is a team record, and his two longest INT returns for TDs that year tie him with both P-Rob and Tommy Myers for the two longest in team history. He only played in 8 games in 2010, and wasn't nearly as effective as he was in 2009, but that 2009 performance was enough to firmly lodge him in the GOOD GET category.

FA DT/DE Anthony "Bobby give me my money" Hargrove was a feel-good story in 2009 as he returned to NFL life in recovery from substance abuse when the Saints were one of only two teams who responded to his written request for a tryout after being reinstated to the league. Hargrove gave the Saints decent d-line play as a pass-rushing tackle in 2009 (five sacks, three pass break-ups, 1 forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and a TD), earning six starts, but then didn't start a game in 2010 and his numbers dropped off (2 forced fumbles and a sack) before they let him go and he landed in Seattle in 2011. In 2012, he got dragged through the Bountygate mud based on dubious/questionable evidence, and was first given an eight-game suspension for his alleged role. This si.com article from June 2015 details the rise and fall and rise and fall he experienced. His Saints resume qualifies him for low end GOOD GET status as an out-of-nowhere, cheap, unheralded surprise piece of the 2009 season.

Meh...He's a JAG

31-year old FB Heath Evans was brought in so that Payloo could release incumbent starter Mike Karney on the eve of his marriage (or so the story goes - I've got no legit source on that being intentional and planned out, though), and in addition to flashing his Super Bowl ring around the locker room, he served as a serviceable blocking back and an occasional short-yardage rushing and pass-catching "threat" out of the backfield.  He got hurt against the Dolphins in 2009, missing out on the final 10 games and the playoffs, but came back to play in 16 games in 2010 before retiring.  He recorded 7 carries for 18 yards and a TD, along with 17 receptions for 11 yards and 3 TDs. For his "just about what you'd expect" level of service as an aging FB for a season and a half with the Saints, he gets the highest MEH rating I can give.

FA S Pierson Prioleau came in with GW and wasn't even good enough to hang around as long as GW, but he was barely adequate as a special teamer and backup safety.  He appeared in 31 games with 2 starts from 2009-10, recording 1 pass break-up, 1 fumble return, and a half a sack to go along with his 39 tackles and 8 assists. Shrug your shoulders when you say it with me, MEH.

UDFA LB Jonathan Casillas gave the Saints good special teams play and it seemed like he was about to break through and grab a starting job, but injuries and MEH kept him from doing so during his years with the team from 2009-2012. He started 8 times in 38 games, making 55 tackles, 30 assists, 3 pass break-ups, 2 fumble recoveries, and 3 sacks.

Disappointment

none

Bad Idea - Who's the Drunk Hooker Who Green-Lit This Move or What Did the Drunk Hooker Do to This Guy After They Signed Him?

none

Roster Round-Up (February 23-28)

Brandon Browner STILL hasn't gone anywhere yet, but the word on the street is that he'll get released on March 9.

Marques Colston is rumored to be on the chopping block, too.

Aging, slow FA LB James Laurinaitis is supposeably coming to visit the Saints this week.

Walter Football, who sees the Saints biggest need as a defensive tackle, gave us THIS LIST of prospects with whom the Saints have met with so far. (EW = East-West Shrine meeting; SR = Senior Bowl meeting; COM = Combine meeting.)  If you are really bored and ridiculously fanatical, you can also chase that Walter Football link to re-sort the list by prospect to see who else has met with players the Saints have met with and find out the "competition" lulz.

  • Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin (EW)
  • Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech (SR)
  • Cody Core, WR, Ole Miss (EW)
  • Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois (EW)
  • Chris Jones, DT/3-4DE, Mississippi State (COM)
  • Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (COM)
  • Ross Martin, K, Duke (SR)
  • Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama (SR)
  • Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina (EW)
  • Noah Spence, OLB/DE/3-4OLB, Eastern Kentucky (SR)
  • Chris Swain, FB, Navy (SR)
  • For more lulzes, here's the rest of the key forall the symbols used in that 'prospect visit' section:

    INT - Interested.
    VINT - Very Interested.
    PRO - Pro Day or campus meeting/workout.
    LOC - Local visit.
    PRI - Private visit.
    WOR - Private Workout.
    % - indicates more than one meeting at an event.
    ^ - has met with team at more than one event.
    # - indicates meeting set up outside of the 2016 Senior Bowl or the 2016 East-West Shrine Game

    Yeesh, who comes up with this stuff? Can they tell us if the player had a good meeting with the team or if he "hated it!"? Or vice versa? Did the team's interest move from VINT to INT as a result of the meeting? Or vice versa? We certainly could use MOAR INFO to better evaluate these proceedings.