Draft Grader: New Orleans Saints
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the college side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries, and a host of other things.
Up first? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the New Orleans Saints
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Jimmy Graham, TE (96th overall pick in 2010): He may not be the most complete tight end in the league (to some he might not even be a tight end given how much time he spends split out), but what Graham does well (receiving) is so valuable it makes this pick a huge home run. A rare athlete who creates matchup problems wherever you line him up at, his career +47.0 highlights his dominance.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Nor here …
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Thomas Morstead, P (164th overall pick in 2009): Morstead falls into that category of a punter good enough that I can justify giving his selection a positive grade. One of the most consistent legs in the league, the Saints’ punter has been in our Top 10 rankings at his position the past four years.
Cameron Jordan, DE (24th overall pick in 2011): Definitely on an upward trajectory, his brilliant 2013 made his first two pedestrian years all the more forgettable. Capable of lining up inside and outside the tackle and delivering pressure from each position, if he doesn’t see his play drop off he’s a shoo-in to be higher next year.
0.0: It could have been worse
Matt Tennant, OC (159th overall pick in 2010): 58 snaps largely as an additional offensive linemen is the sum of his two years with the team.
Sean Canfield, QB (240th overall pick in 2010): Late-round developmental pick, would spend two years bouncing between practice squad and active roster before being released in January 2012.
Greg Romelus, DE (227th overall pick in 2011): Would spend two years on injured reserve trying to get healthy but was unable to do so.
Nate Bussey, LB (245th overall pick in 2011): Another late-round pick who would spend a year with the team before being released.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Malcolm Jenkins, DB (14th overall pick in 2009): Jenkins has certainly racked up some mileage with 4,321 career Saints snaps. But there’s a reason the team didn’t get into a bidding war for him even with the cost lower than some expected. While he could fill a number of roles in the secondary, he never really excelled at them and his tackling was always something of a concern. I just expect more of a guy taken that early.
Chip Vaughn, S (116th overall pick in 2009): Part of a poor 2009 class, Vaughn would never make an appearance on defense, spending year one on injured reserve and was then released at the start of year two.
Stanley Arnoux, LB (118th overall pick in 2009): Another fourth-rounder who would struggle to make a contribution. 14 snaps on defense in his two years with the team after missing his rookie season on injured reserve.
Patrick Robinson, CB (32nd overall pick in 2010): Has at times looked good but followed up the early career promise with a horrendous 2012 before missing all but 22 snaps in 2013 with injury. Firmly on the roster bubble now, whether he goes up or down a category could depend on decisions the front office makes.
Mark Ingram, RB (28th overall pick in 2011): Seemed an odd pick at the time given the Saints’ running back by massive committee approach. Ingram hasn’t delivered on the field in any way as to suggest the team made the right pick with just 721 career snaps in three years. Talent is there but the production hasn’t matched the pick.
Martez Wilson, LB (72nd overall pick in 2011): The return of just 452 snaps just isn’t enough for a former third-round pick and Wilson might consider himself lucky not to be in a category lower.
Johnny Patrick, CB (88th overall pick in 2011): Looked out of place when he was called to the field, earning a -6.8 grade in his 268 snaps. There was an opportunity for him to make a bigger impression but he just didn’t take it.
-1.0: What a waste!
Charles Brown, OT (64th overall pick in 2010): Felt like the Saints were forced to start him after running out of options when Jermon Bushrod departed. Clearly on a short leash, he didn’t help his chances with some woeful games in pass protection, culminating with a terrible effort against Robert Quinn that saw him benched and then demoted. No longer with the team, he just didn’t work out.
Al Woods, DT (124th overall pick in 2010): Fourth-rounder cut during his rookie season. Woods has had success elsewhere but that makes this no less of a wasted pick.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Nor here …
Here are the teams we’ve covered so far:
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