I am now home from Senior Bowl week, able to rest and reset. After the week of practices and games, I certainly have some new opinions on the players I saw, and certainly have some that I’d love to see the New Orleans Saints take in the 2022 NFL Draft. Reminder that this is only Senior Bowl prospects.
Round 1, Pick 18 - IOL Zion Johnson, Boston College
Zion Johnson is a player that I’ve been a big fan of for quite a while already! He also was a big winner this week, as in most people thought he was the best player in attendance. That is a big barrier to reach over as an offensive lineman, usually not that flashy of a position. He truly did dominate all week and did it work as both a guard and a center. Not only is center a new position for him, but he volunteered to shift over as one due to the Senior Bowl being shorthanded. A huge risk that paid off. Who knows what the Saints offense will look like soon, but given what I’m used to, he would be great in the scheme?
Zion Johnson vs Travis Jones. Two stand out prospects at the senior bowl. Zion Johnson continues to impress. pic.twitter.com/fycdglW1HI— The GOAT House (@GoatHouseNFL) February 3, 2022
Round 2, Pick 49 - WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
Much like Jalen Tolbert who I had in this spot last week, Christian Watson is a huge receiver from a small school who is a crazy athlete. I will assume that is the Saints model for a receiver until I am proven otherwise. Watson had the best week of any receiver in Mobile. He moves like someone his size should not be able to. I just don’t see how anyone in the NFL would be able to cover him for four quarters and not just give up play after play. He followed up his good practice week with a good catch for a 38-yard gain as well. He was frequently used in the run game at NDSU as well. For a 6’4 221 lb. receiver, his scheme and utilization versatility is crazy.
I knew WR Christian Watson got some jet sweeps/end arounds but didn’t remember just straight handoffs to him lined up in the backfield— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 6, 2022
They found lots of ways to use his 6’4 210lb athletic profile in that offense
Also just looked up the RT & C lol pic.twitter.com/C7Hs811fk2
The break by Christian Watson is soooooooo smooth here. Puts the DB on the ground and creates nice separation. pic.twitter.com/8yMHQchVxI— Ben Glassmire (@BenGlassmireNFL) February 2, 2022
Round 3, Pick 100 - QB Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky
Malik Willis had the best showing of the week, but I feel as though he is not a realistic option for the Saints. Sam Howell is someone I like a lot, but I took him last week and want to shake it up. Bailey Zappe is someone that I would have stayed away from before seeing him this week, but now I am much more open to the idea. I am not a fan of drafting air raid QBs with inflated stats, but Zappe showed this week that he has legit NFL arm traits. His ball placement this week was very impressive for the most part. He is, however, a pure pocket passer. Depending on who is given the reigns of the Saints offense next year, Zappe could be a great prospect for Saints fans to keep an eye on.
Bailey Zappe does a great job stepping up in the pocket here off PA. Finds the TE in the MOF.#SeniorBowl #WesternKentucky pic.twitter.com/XZ9zUnZiWA— Jared Feinberg (Burrow stan) (@JRodNFLDraft) February 2, 2022
Round 4, Pick 118 - DL Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA
One of these years, my infatuation with UCLA draft prospects will end, but this is not this year. I feel vindicated for being high on him this year after a great week in Mobile for Otito. He really flashed what he could become in the NFL this week in both rush and pass defense. Under Ryan Nielsen’s tutelage Otito could become one of the best defensive linemen in the league, no doubt in my mind.
Otito Ogbonnia from UCLA was a stud yesterday just tossing dudes around the field. Not sure where he’s projected to go in the draft but he’s very fun. pic.twitter.com/vwr2O1KjFv— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) February 2, 2022
Round 4, Pick 136 - RB Rachaad White, Arizona State
The Saints really enjoy using their running backs in every facet of the offense, and White is no stranger to that challenge. He showcased his vision as a running back and route running as a receiver all week and really impressed me. I also thought he showcased a good burst out of the backfield while also being a smart runner. This week reinforced everything I saw from him on tape, reassuring me that he will be a good back in the NFL.
Rachaad White gets separation on the Texas route pic.twitter.com/rl87hHIBR9— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) February 2, 2022
It wouldn't be right for Rachaad White to leave the #SeniorBowl without a hurdle @DevilsDigest | @chaad_3 pic.twitter.com/Yp58Zo2Ffn— Cole Topham (@HamAnalysis) February 5, 2022
Round 5, Pick 160 - WR Khalil Shakir, Boise State
Shakir is not the biggest or fastest receiver in the class, but he is a smart receiver. Something I think the Saints would appreciate mightily. When I say he’s not fast, it’s not meant to represent his whole game. He has great feet and can shake off defenders either at the line of scrimmage or after the catch when running for extra yardage. He is quick and shifty. He played a lot of football at the college level and could contribute quickly. The Saints need skill position players who can play soon after being drafted.
Nice route and catch by Khalil Shakir. He's got some suddenness to his game pic.twitter.com/R10Egyf1Fh— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 3, 2022
Khalil Shakir with the contested grab #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/FxZjiHlf04— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) February 2, 2022
Round 6, Pick 213 - LB D’Marco Jackson, Appalachian State
Jackson quickly caught the eye of Ross Jackson, fellow writer/friend of mine, on the first day of practice. After looking back at the practice footage, it is easy to understand why. D’Marco was constantly in the backfield, chasing down players in the middle of the field, making play after play. He played above his size all week. He would at least be a great special teamer, and at worst be a solid rotational linebacker in New Orleans. Those are both things highly regarded by the Saints front office.
At the @SeniorBowl, D'Marco Jackson's 6 tackles (4 solo) tied for the team lead, and he added 1 QB hurry!— App State Football (@AppState_FB) February 6, 2022
At one point, @DMarcoJackson20 had stops on 5 straight plays #GoApp #AppStateNFL pic.twitter.com/l87ED0lWho
Round 7, Pick 234 - S Verone McKinley III, Oregon
Verone McKinley was a late add to the roster, so we did not get to see him in the same situations that we got to see the other players. McKinley is a high upside player who had a ton of production in college. He had six interceptions and 77 tackles last season alone. His ball skills are obviously fantastic, but I also like what he brings against the run. I see highly varying opinions on McKinley, but personally I am a fan.
Verone McKinley III (23) has the versatility to play at the second level as well as the third. As an active participant in fits, VMIII is not afraid to stick his nose in a gap and initiate contact. pic.twitter.com/cXxR1Ojo1S— Cory (@realcorykinnan) July 7, 2021
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