QUICK BIO: Finished 49-0 as a state champion super-heavyweight wrestler as a junior…Was ranked as the #1 high school wrestler in the nation…Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota..Played defensive tackle for the first 3 years of his college career and moved outside to end as a senior when the Irish transitioned to a 3-4…Notched an amazing 112 tackles as a senior, which matched the total of his three previous years combined…Could project to either tackle or end at the next level depending on the scheme…Doesn’t have all the physical tools you look for but his intangibles are top-rate.
ROUND 3: Pick #78
Ali Highsmith, Outside Linebacker, LSU
WHY: Scott Shanle is the Saints starter but getting a young player to push him and perhaps replace him is a good idea. Plus, newly signed free agent Dan Morgan may never play again. I’ve been a fan of Ali for years and though his pre-draft workouts have dropped him into the mid-rounds, I think he’s going to excell in the NFL.
QUICK BIO: Classic weakside prospect who is equally effective against the run as well as in coverage and could excel in the right situation.
NO 4TH ROUND PICK: (Selection Traded To N.Y. Jets for Jonathan Vilma)
ROUND 5: Pick #146
Corey Lynch, Free Safety, Appalachian State
WHY: Because if I see Josh Bullocks get burned on another deep pass I might puke! Back-up Kevin Kaesviharn is just that, a back-up! It might be a little early for Lynch but given the fact that the Saints have had such success finding small school gems, we feel this is a solid pick for the 5th round.
QUICK BIO: A three-time All-American….23 career interceptions. Prolific and productive small school star. May not have all the physical tools you look for but makes up for it by doing all of the little things.
ROUND 6: Pick #178
WHY: Because the Saints need depth at the cornerback position.
QUICK BIO: Also a Division II Track All-American at Stillman and he even played some baseball for the Tigers as well….Might be more of a track guy playing football than the other way around but when you’re as fast as he is it almost guarantees you a serious look from pro scouts. An intriguing developmental prospect who might be a perfect candidate for the practice squad.
ROUND 7: Pick #218
WHY: If anyone can find a way to use this guy, it’s Sean Payton!
QUICK BIO: He has been prolific at every level so far but the NFL is a different animal….A phenomenal college player (109 career touchdowns) with a lot of hype but just does not project well as a prospect…Will have to try and make it as a 3rd down back / situational guy and return specialist.
Mark Nicolet, Quarterback, Hillsdale College