The New Orleans Saints are in the market for a running back, but how they get one remains to be seen. Losing Tim Hightower as Mark Ingram insurance certainly leaves a big hole, and the team recently entertained veteran free agent Adrian Peterson, but no contract was given. Head coach Sean Payton has publicly praised the 2017 draft class, labeling the running backs as ‘outstanding’.
Needless to say, it’s going to be hard for the Saints to resist taking an offensive backfield toy at the end of April, and UL-Lafayette’s Elijah McGuire certainly has a ton of qualities that could make him stay close to home.
Measurables and Combine Results
- Height: 5-foot-10
- Weight: 214 pounds
- Hands: 9”
- Arms: 31”
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.53 seconds
- Vertical: 36.0”
- Broad Jump: 120.0”
- 3-Cone Drill: 7.26 seconds
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.56 seconds
How He Could Help the Saints
It’s obvious that Elijah McGuire is used to getting reps, as he had 232 carries during his senior season with the Ragin’ Cajuns. In a nutshell, he provided consistent production and did a little of everything. From 2014-2016, McGuire racked up three straight 1,000-yard plus seasons. He had 17 100-yard rushing performances in his four years, highlighted by a 19-carry, 126-yard performance against the Georgia Bulldogs in November. Of course, McGuire also bullied Sun Belt competition on multiple occasions.
Running backs coach Joel Thomas would be able to help McGuire with some potential issues he had in college with vision and running lanes, and running behind a beefy Saints offensive line would certainly help many backs. The Saints’ zone system could be a huge pairing for McGuire.
He’d quickly contend with Travaris Cadet, be an instant upgrade over Marcus Murphy, and likely be a good camp presence and preseason star. He has punt return experience, which could be interesting to see with the Saints missing Brandin Cooks and Jairus Byrd. Overall, he’d be the type of player that you get the ball and let him do the work, or line him up in the slot as a major decoy to throw off defenders.
McGuire helped his case to be drafted from a good showing at the East-West Shrine Game, scoring the game’s lone touchdown. Overall, he’d have some work to do to earn third down honors, particularly in pass protection. Still, as a receiving weapon, he could be used in a variety of looks and not be limited to just the backfield. Perhaps that’s where he’d be most feared. His foot injury could cause him to slide much later than he could be taken, but reports indicate he’s 100 percent recovered from it.
At ULL’s Pro Day, McGuire said, “I just want an opportunity. If I get an opportunity, I think I’d open a lot of eyes. Most coaches out there know what I can do already, but I guess they just want to see it in person and upfront.”
The Saints talked to McGuire at the East-West Shrine Game. If the team doesn’t flirt with a third down back in the early rounds, then McGuire would be a strong addition on Day 3. I would fully expect the Saints to bring in at least two running backs through a combination of the draft and undrafted rookies, even if they do land someone like Adrian Peterson.
Where could you see the Saints taking Elijah McGuire?
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5th or 6th Round
7th Round or UDFA