The New Orleans Saints announced Monday afternoon that they will part ways with tight end Coby Fleener, who caught 72 passes for 926 yards and 5 scores in two disappointing seasons with the Saints. New Orleans reunited with Benjamin Watson this offseason, signing the 37-yr. old veteran as a free agent and returning him to the franchise he played for from 2013-15. Saints tight ends Josh Hill and Michael Hoomanawanui have contributed little to the passing game in recent years as well, leading many to believe that the team would address the position highly in last month's draft. Despite the rookie talent available, it was surprising to some that New Orleans did not select one with any of their seven picks. They did bring in a few talented players at the position to begin competing for a roster spot when they open rookie camp this weekend. The subject of today's undrafted rookie profile takes a look at one of these prospects that could surprise draft pundits.
Cam Serigne, TE (Wake Forest)
Serigne attended Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, VA., where he committed to Wake Forest after helping his team to three straight state titles. He redshirted his freshman year of 2013, but made his presence felt in 2014, leading the Deacons in receptions (54), receiving yards (531), and touchdowns (5). Serigne averaged 519 yards receiving in each of his four years with Wake, catching 174 total passes and 21 scores, all school records. His 556 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns during his senior season earned him 1st team All-ACC honors, and he was also on the ACC All-academic team.
Serigne excels at finding space in zone coverage, and works the middle of the field efficiently. He has decent size at 6'3, 250-lbs., but isn't great at sustaining his blocks. Serigne is more suited to an H-back role than that of a traditional tight end, working best when moved around the offensive formation and working out of the slot or the backfield. He often struggles to create separation against man coverage, and doesn't create an athletic mismatch in the secondary. He has decent catch radius, extends himself well for the reception, and aggressively goes to get the football regardless of spot on the field. Serigne can be slow out of his breaks at times, but is able to locate the ball immediately. He secures the catch quickly and absorbs contact while fighting upfield for extra yardage. He is a valuable weapon near the end zone, and finds the sticks consistently on 3rd downs, an area where the New Orleans offense struggled a year ago.
It was surprising to some that Cam Serigne went undrafted, given his sustained collegiate production. Despite the signing of Watson, a still productive veteran, the tight end position is still perceived as a team weakness in the passing game. Serigne was one of three tight ends that the Saints invited to this weekend's rookie mini-camp after the draft, with Western Kentucky's Deon Yelder and Nate Wozniak of Minnesota being the others. With defenses focused on stars like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, along with other threats like Ted Ginn Jr., Cameron Meredith, and rookie Tre'quan Smith, a tight end with the receiving skills of Serigne could quickly develop into a valuable short and intermediate weapon within the Saints offensive scheme. While it is still possible that the team could explore another veteran option such as Antonio Gates or Julius Thomas, expect heavy competition for a roster spot between Serigne, Yelder, and Wozniak to start this weekend.
Which undrafted free agent is most likely to win a roster spot at tight end?
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