The New Orleans Saints finally drafted a player out of LSU! It might have taken all the way to the 7th and final round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but the Saints added a local product that many Saints fans would be familiar with.
Billy Gomilla of SB Nation’s page for Louisiana State University, And the Valley Shook, took some quick time to answer a few questions for Saints to get to know their final selection of the draft.
vWilliam Clapp looked to have a Day 3 grade coming into the Draft. Were you surprised to see him still on the board in the 7th Round?
A litte but not much. Clapp’s biggest issues were medical -- he had major shoulder in between the 2016 and 2017 season, and a lot of general wear-and-tear. That’s more or less why he came out this year with one more year of eligibility to go. With another season of mileage, he might not have been draftable at all. Clapp was never the kind of athlete that would go in the top three rounds, but you throw in some medical flags and dropping was no surprise.
Clapp has played multiple positions on the offensive line during his time with LSU. The clearest shot for a long-term role in New Orleans would be at Center. How does Clapp profile as a starting Center?
Clapp handled both guard and center very well, and he should also have some experience calling protections and the like from LSU’s offense, so that should help him transition to an NFL playbook well. He’s obviously a developmental prospect, as you might guess from a seventh-round pick, but I see no reason he can’t develop into a contributor a la Tim Lelito in a few years, especially with a pro like Max Unger to learn from.
What would you say is the strongest part of Clapp’s game?
Hands and technique. Clapp isn’t an elite athlete that can stay in front of super-quick tackles at the NFL level, but once he gets his hands on a player, he can control them, and he isn’t going to get bull-rushed. I could totally see him, with some time and seasoning, becoming that one center that doesn’t look all that impressive, but always seems to get the job done and drive opposing tackles nuts.
Where could he look most to improve?
Can’t make the club in the tub. Clapp just needs to get healthy and regain some of the mobility he showed earlier in his career, particularly in 2015 when he was a fantastic pulling guard for Leonard Fournette’s most productive season. I’d say just work to pick up everything as quickly as possible, and sponge as much knowledge as you can from Unger.
What type of career do you project Clapp to have in the NFL and at what position?
Like I said, I think Clapp is a player that could be a few years away from being ready for a full-time starting spot. But his ability to play both guard and tackle offers some value, because it’s always nice to be able to save an extra roster spot by having a backup that can play a couple of spots. I keep coming back to Tim Lelito, who was a nice depth guy for a few years, and eventually was able to parlay that tenure into New Orleans into a contract elsewhere. I don’t think Clapp winds up being some great seventh round surprise, but I can definitely see him becoming a contributor down the line, maybe with a stint on the practice squad (and him being local could help there).
Thank-you so much for your time and insight, Billy!
Saints fans, make sure you check out Billy and the rest of the hard-working guys’ work over at And the Valley Shook. You can also follow their work on Twitter @ValleyShook. You can follow Billy on Twitter @ATVS_ChefBilly. As always, you always follow me on Twitter @dunnellz.
What do you think about the Saints last pick in the draft? Do you think Clapp has a long-term future as a starting offensive lineman? Do you think that he sticks with the Saints? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.