With the 103rd overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints have selected Florida Atlantic defensive end, Trey Hendrickson. It came later than hoped, and may not be a name many hoped, but the edge rush pick has finally come in. Hopefully the Saints have quite a steal on their hands with this quick-footed DE/OLB.
Here is a look at the newest Saint, from NFL.com:
The Owls had one of the best defenders in Conference USA the past four seasons in Hendrickson. He garnered first-team all-conference accolades in 2015 after finishing tied for second in the FBS with 13.5 sacks (among his 15 tackles for loss) and five forced fumbles. League coaches named him first-team All-C-USA again in 2016 (51 tackles, 15 for loss, 9.5 sacks) even though offenses paid close attention to his whereabouts. He tied for the FBS lead in blocked kicks last year with four. Hendrickson led the team in sacks as a sophomore, as well, tripping up quarterbacks five times (32 total tackles, 10 for loss). The third-team all-state pick from Apopka, Florida played some significant minutes as a freshman, making nine stops, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.
STRENGTHSGood upper-body turn that presents a difficult target for tackles to punch. Rushes with good lean and has a strong club hand to soften the edge. Uses arm extension and acceleration to generate some speed-to-power push. Impressive, fluid footwork with spin move counter. Hands are effective at warding off cut blocks. Good lateral quickness to squeeze running lane. Rakes at the ball as tackler, forcing six fumbles over final two seasons at FAU. Special teams demon; blocked a punt, two field goals and an extra point in 2016.
WEAKNESSESAverage height with lean legs and short arms for the edge. Not an "other side of the line" run defender. A tick slow to diagnose and respond off snap. Allows blockers to cross his face and beat him to the block. Got hooked and secured by smallish tight end Jonnu Smith from Florida International. Needs to do better job of thumping and setting a strong edge. Plays too tall in his tackle-end twist transitions, allowing blockers under his pads.
DRAFT PROJECTIONRound 3-4
BOTTOM LINEMore of a second-effort sack man than a quick-win specialist, but he did show some edge rushing ability at the Shrine Game practices that didn't flash as often on tape. His lack of length on the edge will be a turnoff for some, but he flashes enough to warrant a third-day draft selection as a backup 4-3 defensive end who could continue to develop as a rusher with additional work.
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