Another Draft in the Can


Bryan Flynn

Finally, the NFL Draft has come and gone after moving from April to May. As usual, on paper, some teams had a great draft, but others appear to have bombed the draft.

Looking over their picks, I have to give the New Orleans Saints a solid B to B+ draft. New Orleans filled all of its need positions: wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and cornerback.

The Saints moved up in the first round to get Brandin Cooks. I had Cooks as one of my top five wide receivers—he has the speed to be a game changer and big play receiver.

He ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine with a super quick 4.33 time. Cooks will help Jimmy Graham and other Saints receivers get open because he will be such a deep threat for quarterback Drew Brees next season.

Second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a big cornerback who is a converted wide receiver. He has only played cornerback for two years, so he is going to get better in Rob Ryan's defense and will have time to ease into the scheme with all the other players the Saints have in the secondary.

New Orleans' other draft picks—Khairi Fortt, Vinnie Sunseri, Ronald Powell and Tavon Rooks—might only contribute on special teams next season, but they have the potential to be more influential to the team in their second years.

I really like the Sunseri pick, even though he tore his ACL last season. Sunseri is an overachiever who always seems to be around the ball.

Overall, I think the Saints added two players who will contribute right away and some pieces that could be big down the road—another nice draft from Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis.

Three players from Mississippi universities got drafted close together in the third round, all to teams where they could play right away.

Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson (81st) went to the Oakland Raiders, Southern Miss defensive tackle Khyri Thornton (85th) went to the Green Bay Packers and Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief (90th) went to the Indianapolis Colts.

The St. Louis Rams selected Michael Sam in the seventh and final round of the draft. Sam will have a hard time making it on the Rams team, for purely football-related reasons. The Rams already have a stacked defensive line, so Sam will have a hard time securing a spot on that roster.

Some Mississippi players that went undrafted did sign as undrafted free agents. Jackson State saw defensive tackle Rob Smith sign with the Oakland Raiders and Qua Cox with the Colts. Mississippi State had safety Nickoe Whitley sign with the Cleveland Browns and Denico Autry with the Packers.

Belhaven offensive tackle Matt Hall signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Ole Miss saw three players sign: offensive tackle Pierce Burton to the Vikings, linebacker Emmanuel McCray to the Rams and running back Jeff Scott to the Cincinnati Bengals.


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