For the second season in a row, the New Orleans Saints are going into the offseason with a solid roster that doesn’t feature many holes. The depth among the offensive line, a new number one tight end, and a consistent number 2 who can help take some of the pressure off of Michael Thomas in the receiving game are a few places the team may look to target via free agency or the NFL Draft.
This years draft class has some talent at the tight end position. Although it isn’t nearly as deep as the receivers, the Saints could find a late round gem to help replace the retiring Ben Watson.
Going into Senior Bowl week, Oliver was the tight end I was most looking forward to watching. While he didn’t do anything special, he showed his ability to create separation at the top of his routes. His long arms help to increase his catch radius and he showed good ability at extending and catching the ball away from his body.
Oliver also looked smooth in and out of his cuts for a 6’5” 246-pound tight end. He had a few drops on day one of practice, but was surer handed the later the week went on.
Oliver’s blocking abilities left something to be desired, but having experience from the slot and lined up wide gives him time to develop this trait in the NFL.
New Orleans native and LSU Tiger Foster Moreau was able to raise his stock this week. Impressive as a blocker, he showed good hand placement and drive when run blocking.
His route running could use improvement, as he wasn’t always able to create separation during drills. He does however use his body effectively to shield the ball from defenders.
He projects to be an inline tight end used in run blocking assignments and short area passes. The Saints currently have Josh Hill playing that role with the team, so Moreau may not be the fit this team is looking for currently.
The Utah St product had some question marks to check off after missing games his senior season with a broken hand, but he was able to show off some of the attributes that got him invited to the Senior Bowl.
Raymond won on routes by showing smoothness in his cuts and a solid release off the line. While he isn’t a burner when it comes to speed, he can still threaten on vertical routes.
An unknown to myself and many others before this week, the fullback/tight end from West Virgina impressed in Mobile. Wesco, who stands 6’3” weighing 270-pounds, is a bigger guy who shows an impressive amount of nimbleness. Much more polished a route runner than one would expect a part-time fullback to be, he showed off his ability to get open multiple times in 1 on 1 drills.
His blocking ability was also on display during the game.
While he could fill an interesting role in the offense, he’s not the vertical threat the Saints are used to looking for in a tight end.
Rookie tight ends tend to take a little longer than other positions to develop in the NFL, so if the Saints want an immediate upgrade at the position, free agency may be the way to go. But if the Saints aren’t sold on Dan Arnold or Garrett Griffin developing, a tight end could be a draft day target.