I just arrived back home from the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile. I usually freeze every year but this year the weather was great with temperatures in the 70's.
The Saints had their scouts and general manager Mickey Loomis in attendance. New Orleans does not have a first round pick but should have a chance at taking a good player in the 2nd round. They should really take the highest-rated player on their board regardless of position, but all things being equal they will lean to defense.
For the South team, some local prospects did well.
LSU defensive back Brandon Taylor had the hit of the day in the Tuesday practice when he leveled Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard which brought a big reaction from the scouts and caused many to start writing notes. The former Tiger safety had a good week and probably helped himself.
Another LSU product, offensive guard Will Blackwell, held his own in the one-on-one drills; he was beaten at times, but also won a lot of battles. He also weighted in at 314 pounds with added bulk.
Tight end Deanglo Peterson caught the ball well. The former LSU starter is a converted wide receiver, undersized for a tight end and needs to add bulk while improving his blocking.
Louisiana Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green is a very good prospect. He is undersized as well but did tack on some bulk, weighing in at 237 (up from 230). Green is a real threat as a receiver with his speed and quickness.
Another real surprise was the play of Louisiana Lafayette cornerback Dwight "Bill" Bentley, who may have helped himself more than any other local player. He showed pass coverage ability and, even though he is small (5-9 ½ 176), made it clear he likes to hit and support the run.
Louisiana Tech's Lennon Creer (6-1, 215) is a good, versatile running back who had a very solid week of practice.
OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE:
Defensive lineman Quinton Coples (North Carolina) won most battles in the one-on-one drills.
Alabama's Courtney Upshaw (6-1 ½ 273) lined up at defensive end in the 4-3 front. He was a rush linebacker at Bama. A first round talent, Upshaw showed quickness and pass rush skills.
Another pure pass rusher the Saints probably won't get a chance to select because he is a first round talent is Melvin Ingram (6-1 ½ 276) from South Carolina. He won most of the one-on-one battles, showing good pass rush moves.
One of the better cornerbacks was North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins, who had a solid week and helped his draft status
Another defensive lineman first round projection is Brandon Thompson (6-2, 311) out of Clemson, who more than held his own in one-on-one and team drills
Quarterback Ryan Lindley (6-4, 229) from San Diego St. has a good arm but was very inaccurate throwing all week.
A player who impressed me was defensive end Vinny Curry (6-3, 265) from Marshall. He is super quick and a pure pass rusher. Though not real big, Curry has pass rush moves and was hard to block at every practice I viewed.
Dereck Wolfe (6-4, 286), a defensive tackle from Cincinnati, also showed good penetrating and pass rush skills from the inside.
Billy Winn, a defensive lineman from Boise State, lined up at both end and tackle; he is 6-3 ½ and looked very versatile at 296 pounds.
Wide receiver Brian Quick from Appalachian St. didn't help himself; he dropped too many balls.
An interesting prospect is massive defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu (6-2 ½ 341) from Washington. He showed a strong bull rush and would regularly push his blocker back into the quarterback.
Offensive guard Johnny Troutman showed good pass blocking skills and won a lot of one-on-one battles.
A linebacker the Saints may look at is Audie Cole (6-4, 258) from North Carolina St. He did well in the drills going against backs and tight ends, showed fine blitzing ability. Cole can play as a 4-3 strongside linebacker.
Cornerback Donnie Fletcher from Boston College had a good week, but he did a lot better in zone pass coverage while not so well in off man coverage.
One of the top corners in this draft is Alfonzo Dennard (5-10, 203) from Nebraska did nothing to hurt his high ranking. He had a solid week, displaying very good ball skills and deep pass coverage ability
Quarterback Kellen Moore, the Boise State star, had a lot of problems taking the snap under center; he played mostly from the shotgun in college.
An interesting quarterback prospect is Wisconsin's Russell Wilson, who measured a tad under 5-foot-11 but is super athletic, has a strong arm and a quick release. Still, his lack of size may hurt even though this guy can play.
Some prospect the Saints may look at closely...
LB Audie Cole, N. C. State
DL Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
DL Vinny Curry, Marshall
TE Ladarius Green, La. Lafayette (would be a great back up to Jimmy Graham)
You can have all the draft information you need from my two draft publications. Preview Issue out now is only $10.00. Pro Prospects Final Issue will be out in March for only $17.00 and is full of draft ratings and information.
Both books can be had for $25.00.
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