The New Orleans Saints drafted Alizé Mack late in the 2019 NFL Draft, way back in the 7th round, with the 231st overall pick. With Jared Cook not the youngest of options and Josh Hill never quite living up to original expectations, there’s room for future snaps out of Mack. It’s just a question of the level of production
Joshua Vowles of SB Nation’s page for Notre Dame, One Foot Down, took some quick time to answer a few questions for Saints to get to know one of their newest additions on offense.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the Saints were able to grab Mack in the 7th round, with the 231st overall pick. Do you think this is good value, a reach, or just right? When did you anticipate Maze would go off the board?
I think it’s a good value for New Orleans, but it’s also around where we thought he would be picked. After a poor showing at the combine, most of us figured he would go late or be an UDFA depending upon how the draft started to swing after 5 rounds. It’s a long ways away from what a lot of us thought he would develop into when he committed to Notre Dame as one of the best tight ends in the country. He had one year of eligibility left with the Irish, and perhaps if he had stayed for a full season with an accurate quarterback like Ian Book instead of Brandon Wimbush -- Mack could have had that “Tight End U” season.
Could Mack provide value to the Saints offensive immediately, or is he more of a practice squad stash in hopes of future development?
Mack runs a pretty good route and is physical enough to play right away, but he definitely needs some development in the professional game. His value for the offense early in his career is probably as a 2nd or 3rd tight end in the redzone, His blocking improved quite a bit from 2017 to 2018, but it was still inconsistent. If he can stay focused, I think there is still plenty of value there.
After the signing of Jared Cook, there might not be a lot of snaps on offense to go around. What, if anything, could Mack provide on special teams?
I’m not nuanced enough in the NFL special teams scheme to be totally confident in my answer here, but I’m not sure he provides all that much on special teams outside of being an edge blocker on punt teams and field goals / PAT.
What are Mack’s biggest strengths and weaknesses as far as you could tell?
Mack’s biggest strengths are his athletic ability (contrary to testing if you watch the game film) and his attitude. Normally, a guy that gets suspended for an entire season might not be someone that one would point to as having a great attitude -- but that’s Alize. He stays upbeat and positive which allows him to develop and be coached.
His weakness though is his concentration. He didn’t exactly take plays off, but when he wasn’t directly involved there was a lack of effort. The athletic ability and pass-catching is there, so he definitely has a chance to take his weakness and flip it to become a really good player.
What is Mack’s ceiling on the Saints?
I think it’s pretty high. He could be a “boom or bust” kind of a player in the NFL. Again... he had an odd career at Notre Dame. He played as a freshman, and was suspended for academic reasons as a sophomore. As a junior, he had Brandon Wimbush at quarterback, and Wimbush was only about a 50% passer. Wimbush had a lot of issues throwing the short to intermediate routes that tight ends usually feast upon. So, Mack only had Book for 8 games this year.
For me, that could show a ton of impact not tapped into by Notre Dame. If the Saints have a fairly accurate QB (pauses for laughter) Mack could flourish in the passing game that was never able to fully materialize in South Bend.
Thank-you so much for your time and insight, Joshua!
Saints fans, make sure you check out Joshua and the rest of the hard-working guys’ work over at One Foot Down. You can also follow their work on Twitter @OneFootDown and Joshua @TheSubwayDomer. As always, you always follow me on Twitter @dunnellz.
What do you think about the Saints 7th round pick? Do you think Mack is a potential tight end of the future? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.