2015 Draft in Review: New Orleans Saints
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
Every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Next we take a look at the New Orleans Saints, a team with two first rounders, and more total picks (nine) than we’re used to seeing from them. How did they do?
Round 1: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Although it’s unclear how Peat fits in short term, with Zach Strief and Terron Armstead incumbent at tackle – none of the three look like an obvious fit at guard – this was a solid addition to the Saints’ offensive line. Somewhat raw, but allowed just nine combined pressures against probably the toughest slate of competition that any tackle in this class faced. Still finished with the highest grade of any draft eligible left tackle, displaying impressive power when blocking inline in the run game.
Depth Chart Fit: Behind Strief and Armstead for now, but could see him push for a starting job in training camp.
Round 1: Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
Playing in a loaded defense at Clemson, there weren’t enough tackles to go around for Anthony to compete with some of his peers in this class. But he still managed to grade extremely well, finishing positive in all facets, with an overall grade that ranked in the top five among all FBS linebackers.
Depth Chart Fit: Should compete with Danell Ellerbe and David Hawthorne for immediate playing time.
Round 2: Hau’oli Kikaha, ED, Washington
Not the best athlete, but it didn’t matter, as Kikaha displayed relentless effort and excellent hand usage to compile 62 combined pressures (including the Senior Bowl), with a position-high pass rush grade. Wasn’t nearly as impressive in run defense, though he still graded positively – Stanford was the only team that gave him significant issues there.
Depth Chart Fit: As a sub package rusher, behind Anthony Spencer and Parys Haralson on early downs.
Round 3: Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State
Led the country when executing a play action fake, with a 140.3 QB rating on those plays. Otherwise, wasn’t quite as good as you’d expect from a QB facing Mountain West competition – Grayson finished with just the 1oth-ranked passing grade in this class, with a notable drop off when pressured. It will be interesting to see how he develops; looked great in games against Nevada and New Mexico, but struggled against Boise State and one of the two Power 5 teams he faced, in Boston College.
Depth Chart Fit: Will sit and learn behind Brees, though competing with incumbents Ryan Griffin and Luke McCown.
Round 3: PJ Williams, CB, Florida State
Graded positively in run defense, with his 33 defensive stops ranking second at the position. But he was incredibly inconsistent in coverage, he looked great when getting his hands on opposing receivers, while the opposite was true on plays where he couldn’t maintain contact. Williams also missed more tackles than scouting reports would lead you to believe – his 17 MTs led all corners – but he should fit right in on the Saints defense.
Depth Chart Fit: Behind Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner. Could see time in the slot, but spent less than 3% of his snaps there last season.
Round 5: Davis Tull, ED, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Just two games against FBS opposition, but collected seven pressures in 27 rushes during a dominant Week 7 performance against Tennessee. Has the athleticism to suggest he can make the jump to facing NFL tackles.
Depth Chart Fit: Special teams and depth behind Junior Gallette. Potential sub package rusher.
Round 5: Tyeler Davison, DI, Fresno State
Extremely disruptive in both facets against UNLV, Nevada, and Hawaii, but struggled against San Diego State and Wyoming. Finished with 33 stops compared to just two missed tackles, for an overall grade that ranked 39th at the position.
Depth Chart Fit: Depth on defensive line.
Round 5: Damian Swann, CB, Georgia
Finished with the third-highest overall grade in this class against Power 5 teams. He was positive in all facets, but particularly excelled in run defense (four missed tackles) and as a blitzer, compared to his peers.
Depth Chart Fit: Competing for nickel and dime snaps, though position versatility could give him an advantage. Last season he spent time at both corner and safety while getting more slot work than Williams did at FSU.
Round 7: Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri
Averaged 5.2 yards per carry while forcing 34 missed tackles – both figures ranked in the top 25 of this class. Might see most of his value on special teams, where he finished with the highest combined grade in this class on kick and punt returns.
Depth Chart Fit: Possible day one returner on special teams.
Sean Hickey, OT, Syracuse: Allowed 10 total pressures. Only two tackles with at least 400 snaps in pass protection had a better Pass Blocking Efficiency rating than Hickey’s 98.2 (Peat was one of them).
Tavaris Barnes, ED, Clemson: Didn’t see the field much on Clemson’s defense, with only 277 snaps, but flashed the ability to get pressure. Pass Rush Productivity rating of 8.2 ranked in the top 25 at the position.
Kaleb Eulls DI, Mississippi State: A couple of big games against Southern Miss and Texas A&M, but wasn’t very impressive otherwise. Compiled 25 total pressures.
Doniel Gambrell, OT, Notre Dame College: No snaps against FBS opposition.
RJ Harris, WR, New Hampshire: Played one game against an FBS team (Toledo). Harris was the highest graded player on New Hampshire’s offense, catching nine of 13 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Cyril Lemon, OG, North Texas: Had just one negative overall grade for the season. Only nine tackles in this class graded higher overall (seventh-ranked ranked RT).
Jack Tabb, TE, North Carolina: Flashed as a blocker against East Carolina and Georgia Tech, otherwise had a rough season in ACC play.
Harold Spears, TE, New Hampshire: Like Harris, one game against FBS. Caught three passes, but a drop saw him finish with a negative grade in 65 snaps.
Stephon Sanders, LB, SMU: Played 537 snaps, so wasn’t an every down player for SMU. Solid in run defense with 19 stops and just one missed tackle.
Markus Pierce-Brewster, ED, West Texas A&M: No snaps against FBS opposition.
Malcolme Kennedy, WR, Texas A&M: After 14 catches in Week 1 against South Carolina, production dropped off as he caught just 38 passes the rest of the way. Ended up with a better grade as a blocker (mostly on screens) than as a receiver.
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