Matthew Gambill, All-Pro Scouting Services, LLC joins the NOPF team for 2002 Draft season with the first in his series of pre-draft previews and scouting reports. Come back to NOPF in the weeks leading up to the draft for more of Gambill's scouting reports and in-depth information.
We all know the Saints have some holes to fill, but what will they look to do on day one of the NFL Draft next month? As it stands now, the team is looking at four picks in the first three rounds. The goal: get FOUR Starters from those picks.
Let’s face it, this team has a number of holes to fill, starting with the offensive side of the ball, mainly at WR and OL. On defense, the team must address the DL, OLB, and DB positions. Bottom line is, the Saints need PLAYMAKERS at every position. Below I will try and figure out how the Saints’ draft may shake out (Day 1) and the players and positions the teams should consider with each pick.
13th Pick: MUST get an impact player who can come in and contribute and make things happen. Position to be Addressed: WR/TE/OLB/LT/DT/DE
Players To Consider: Javon Walker, Donte Stallworth, Jeremy Shockey, Daniel Graham, Napoleon Harris, Levi Jones, Mike Pearson, John Henderson, Ryan Sims, Albert Haynesworth, Bryan Thomas, Kalimba Edwards
1. Javon Walker-WR-Florida State: 6026, 210-pounds, 4.41/40, 39 ½” Vertical---big, fast, physical receiver who would surely help boost the Saints’ receiving corp. Shows the ability to make the big play which the Saints desperately need. Runs good routes, adjusts well to the ball while in the air, and is able to get separation. A very consistent receiver who has potential to be an All-Pro. Louisiana Native.
2. Donte Stallworth-WR-Tennessee: 6001, 197-pounds, 4.35/40, 40” Vertical---One of the most exciting receivers in the draft. Has good size and excellent speed(4.29, 4.23 at Pro Day) and is able to stretch the field. Shows good hands, but has a tendency to fumble. Suffered a broken wrist and a torn ACL in his college career, but has overcome both to be considered a highly regarded prospect. Maturity is a big question, but the kid can play and would be a welcomed addition to New Orleans.
3. Jeremy Shockey-TE-Miami(FL): 6046, 255-pounds, 4.60/40, 37” Vertical---Best TE available in the draft. Would fit beautifully into Mike McCarthy’s offensive scheme and would give the Saints a much needed added dimension to the offense. Has great athletic ability and body control for a big man. Outstanding hands for the position, but isn’t the best blocker yet. Runs good routes and is able to carry out plays like a WR. Pro Bowl potential.
4. Daniel Graham-TE-Colorado: 6031, 248-pounds, 4.55/40, 36” Vertical---Considered to be one of the top two TE’s available in the 2002 draft. Displays excellent hands and route running skills and is able to make big plays. Good body control and leaping ability and would also fit nicely into the Saints’ offensive system. Is a better blocker than Shockey, but his receiving skills are what gets teams so hot on him. Should be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
5. Napoleon Harris-OLB/DE-Northwestern: 6027, 253-pounds, 4.51/40, 34” Vertical---A dominating performer at OLB and DE. Clearly the best overall LB prospect and could find his way into the top 10 in April. Shows great athletic ability for position and would certainly be a starter from day one. Is a fierce hitter and can be physically intimidating to opponents. Able to cover TE’s and RB’s . Shows great pass rush skills and is able to close on QB with a great burst. A BIG TIME player and future All-Pro.
6. Levi Jones-LT-Arizona State: 6054, 304-pounds, 5.20/40, 30” Vertical---One of the hottest players in the past two months. Had an outstanding career at ASU and was one of the most dominate linemen at the Senior Bowl. Has gone from being a solid 2nd round pick to being a possible top 10 pick. Has good footwork and arm strength. Displayed excellent feet, body control, balance, and flexibility in Mobile and has continued to improve in all areas of his game. Works well in a limited area, but has the quickness and athletic ability to work well in wide spaces as well. Has a lot of upside and could develop into a very special player.
7. Mike Pearson-LT-Florida: 6066, 304-pounds, 5.15/40, 30” Vertical---Junior who left school early after a sub-par year. Has been compared to Tony Boselli. Shows flashes of future greatness, but is inconsistent. Has the footwork and athletic ability needed for a LT. At times, can totally destroy his opponent. Good body control and arm strength, but isn’t as good in his leg drive (run blocking) yet. Has unlimited potential, but has to be more consistent. Should become an All-Pro if he can stay healthy and consistent.
8. John Henderson-DT-Tennessee: 6070, 309-pounds, 5.00/40, 29” Vertical---Potentially could be the most dominate player at any position in this draft, but has seen his draft stock plummet in the past few months. Questions about his back and his ankle are still left unanswered. Would have been a top 5 pick in the 2001 draft, but elected to return to UT. A very strong, physical player, who has the agility to angle and stunt. Good quickness off the ball and plays the run very well. Has the ability to collapse the pocket and cause opposing QB’s to fear him. Good hands and understands the position, but must stay healthy and be consistent.
9. Ryan Sims-DT-North Carolina: 6041, 311-pounds, 5.04/40, 32” Vertical---Very strong player(27 reps of 225) and shows the quickness and explosiveness off the ball teams covet in a DT. Wins the battle of leverage and has great balance. Plays on his feet and is able to collapse the pocket with his strength and speed. Uses hands well and plays the run very well. Good in pursuit and shows good burst when closing. Solid all-around DT who has really developed into a top DT.
10. Albert Haynesworth-DT-Tennessee: 6055, 320-pounds, 4.91/40, 31” Vertical---Very athletic DT prospect who ran a 4.82/40 at UT’s pro day. Needs to develop in his upper body(17 reps of 225), but has the upside teams look for. Shows excellent explosion off the ball and collapses pocket at will at times. Can be a dominating force in the middle of a defense with his bull rush and ability to play the run. Uses his hands well and shows good balance. Shows a good burst in closing and is able to move well down field. Has All-Pro potential.
11. Bryan Thomas-DE-Alabama-Birmingham: 6043, 265-pounds, 4.48/40, 34 ½” Vertical---One of the most explosive DE’s in college football over the past two years. Stock has surely climbed over the past two months and has elevated himself to being a potential high pick. A very strong player(33 reps of 225) who uses his hands well and is able to rush the passer and play the run. A complete DE who has been overlooked, but could end up being the best DE of this class. Great quickness off the ball and shows explosive closing speed. Has the ability to finish once he turns the corner. All-Pro talent.
12. Kalimba Edwards-DE-South Carolina: 6053, 265-pounds, 4.55/40, 35” Vertical---Suffered a severely sprained MCL during his senior year. Was medically cleared and could hear his name very early on draft day. Unlimited potential who has the understanding, athletic ability, pass rush skills, and hand usage to become a special player. Very intelligent person on and off the field. Very explosive when closing in on the QB and has the speed and strength to get around the corner and make a play. Plays the run very well, but struggles when asked to play OLB. Looked out of place at OLB. A true DE prospect.
Northwestern LB Napoleon Harris
The Pick: Napoleon Harris-OLB/DE-Northwestern: Haslett and Mueller jump all over Napo who will be named starter from day one. His versatility and the fact the Saints feel they can get a quality WR or DT at #25 make this pick a VERY GOOD one. The Saints now look to WR, DT, DE, and OG with the 25th pick.
25th Pick: MUST get another impact player who will be a starter from day one. WR and DT are the positions Mueller and Haslett focus on with this pick. Position to be Addressed: WR/DT/DE/CB
Players to Consider: Andre Davis, Josh Reed, Reche Caldwell, Antonio Bryant, Eddie Freeman, Anthony Weaver, Charles Grant, Mike Rumph
1. Andre Davis-WR-Virginia Tech: 6014, 194-pounds, 4.38/40, 39 ½” Vertical---Playmaking receiver who, if available, would be a pick of tremendous value. Good size and speed numbers. Athletic receiver who runs route well, but has only run limited amount of routes. Great straight line speed and is able to get separation from his man. Shows good body control, consistent hands, Ability to go deep and make the big play. Needs to work on his down field blocking. One of the most polished receivers in the draft. Has ability to be a Pro Bowler.
2. Josh Reed-WR-Louisiana State: 5102, 210-pounds, 4.52/40, 35” Vertical---Steady receiver who is still learning the position. A perfect fit for the WCO. Outstanding at getting the yards after catch (YAC) and breaks tackles. Strong receiver who blocks well down field. Not the fastest receiver, but an outstanding all-around receiver. Started his career as a RB, but made the move to WR as a sophomore. Biletnikoff winner in 2001 and led the nation in receiving. Great hands and body control. Runs great routes and isn’t afraid to go over the middle. A ton of upside who could become an All-Pro in the right system.
3. Reche Caldwell-WR-Florida: 5116, 194-pounds, 4.44/40, 41 ½” Vertical---Best NFL WR prospect on the Gators’ team. Overshadowed by Jabar Gaffney, but is a better all-around player. A gifted athlete who has outstanding leaping ability. Runs good routes and has big play potential. A steady, consistent receiver who will go over the middle of the field and make the necessary catches. Displays good body control and can go up in a crowd and make the play. Able to stretch the field and get separation. Not a #1 WR, but could be an outstanding #2.
4. Antonio Bryant-WR-Pittsburgh: 6012, 188-pounds, 4.56/40, 37” Vertical---Talented receiver who is VERY immature and can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Won Biletnikoff award after his sophomore year, but had an injury plagued junior campaign. Looked great in Pitt’s bowl game, but has a lot of questions to answer about his character. Good route runner and is very consistent with his hands. Not a burner, but does get separation and makes plays down field. A little thin, but has the body to gain 10-12 pounds which is necessary. Has potential, but has some issues.
5. Eddie Freeman-DT-Alabama-Birmingham: 6051, 310-pounds, 4.91/40, 34 ½” Vertical---Tremendously strong player(32 reps of 225) who has really made moves up draft boards. Had an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl and has continued to gain momentum. Shows good flexibility for a big man and shows excellent quickness and explosion off the ball. Needs to add some more rush moves, but is a very solid rush defender. Plays run well and closes on the ball with a good burst. Stays on his feet and wins the leverage battle. Needs to develop more physically, but ha a great amount of football intelligence.
6. Anthony Weaver-DT-Notre Dame: 6034, 296-pounds, 4.96/40, 32 ½” Vertical---Intelligent player and person who is versatile enough to play some DE. Plays run very well and has great interior quickness. Shows good quickness off the ball and is very strong at the POA (point of attack). Needs to work some on his upper body strength, but has enough strength to hold his own. Has good pass rush moves and uses hands very well. Understands position better than any other player in draft. Very savvy player. Not flashy, but very consistent.
7. Charles Grant-DE-Georgia: 6030, 278-pounds, 4.64/40, 34” Vertical---Leaves UGA after his junior year. At times, was able to dominate opposition. Biggest knock on Grant is his consistency. Had one game where he had FIVE sacks, but in other games, he was non-factor. A very strong player who has a very quick first step. Able to come around corner and close. Able to hold ground against LT or TE against the run. Very rarely out of position, but does have a tendency to over pursue. Uses hands well and has the upside teams want. Could step in and start right away because of the loss of Joe Johnson.
8. Mike Rumph-CB-Miami(FL): 6020, 202-pounds, 4.54/40, 36 ½” Vertical---Steady man/man cover corner. Fundamentally sound and has good size and strength for the position. Not the fastest corner, but is able to eliminate his man on a consistent basis. Good tackler and is able to force the run. Has great instincts and concentration, but lacks the top recovery speed. Displays good ball skills and good hands. May be able to move to FS.
LSU WR Josh Reed
The Pick: Josh Reed-WR-Louisiana State: Reed is the perfect WR for the Saints’ offense. Should work well with Joe Horn and Aaron Brooks and give the Saints a much needed presence. The focus shifts to TE/C/OG/CB.
44th Pick: Draft a player who can contribute immediately. Someone who will be a starter soon. Position to be Addressed: WR/TE/C/OG/CB
Players to Consider: Tim Carter, Antwaan Randle-El, Jerramy Stevens, LeCharles Bentley, Terrance Metcalf, Dante Wesley, Joseph Jefferson
1. Tim Carter-WR-Auburn: 5117, 190-pounds, 4.36/40, 39” Vertical---Speedy playmaking receiver who has tremendous blood lines. Has been shooting up draft boards since the Senior Bowl where hw was the best receiver in Mobile. He has good size and speed. A very strong player for the position. Can return kicks and punts which will add value to this player. Still learning the position, but has improved tremendously on his route running. Has also improved on his hands. Still is a very raw player, but has a lot of upside. Could develop into a special player and a very solid #2 receiver.
2. Antwaan Randle-El-WR/QB-Indiana: 5095, 191-pounds, 4.50/40, 37” Vertical---Simply the most exciting college football player I have ever seen. Should have won the Heisman, but voters elected to give it to the poster boy, Eric Crouch. Can play three positions at a very high level (WR/QB/PR). Could go as high as the Rams with the 31st pick of the draft, but would hold tremendous value here, especially if New Orleans doesn’t select a receiver in round one. Still learning the WR position, but has ability to become a VERY solid slot man. Most versatile player in draft.
3. Jerramy Stevens-TE-Washington: 6066, 265-pounds, 4.67/40, 32 ½” Vertical---Excellent size and speed for the position. Strong player(19 reps of 225) who is a complete TE. Off the field problems are a bit of a concern, but holds excellent value this late. First round ability, but character could cause him to fall into the Saints’ lap. Good blocker with great hands and playmaking ability. Runs good routes and uses hands and body well. Needs to work on leg drive when run blocking, but has All-Pro potential.
4. LeCharles Bentley-C-Ohio State: 6023, 299-pounds, 5.13/40, 26” Vertical---Mean SOB in the Kyle Turley mold, so right away, you have to LOVE this kid. Quick hands from stance and snap. Also has good footwork. Good first step quickness, which is key and is able to take on DT and is able to pull when asked. Has leadership qualities, but has that mentality to play to the echo of the whistle, which costs him and team at times. Ability to become an outstanding pivot man.
5. Terrance Metcalf-LG/LT-Mississippi: 6034, 318-pounds, 5.33/40, 29” Vertical---Versatile player who can play both LT and LG. Looked completely dominating in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and could here his name called in the top 40 picks. Has the foot quickness, body control and pulling ability along with tremendous arm strength(28 reps of 225). Not the most athletic player, but has a great understanding of the position(s). Outstanding in run blocking and even better in pass protection. Has a quick set up and is able to lock up his man. Best suited as a LG, but can play anywhere on the O-Line which adds value this player.
6. Dante Wesley-CB/FS-Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 6006, 211, 4.43/40, 35” Vertical---Versatile player who has been overlooked all year. A player who I have had rated in the top 10 at CB since August and who has blossomed as a top 5 CB for April’s draft. A very strong CB(15 reps of 225) who can play press coverage and has the speed to run stride for stride with any receiver. Has the size of the “new wave” CB. A transfer from Arkansas where he started his career as a WR. Has only played CB for two years, so his upside is tremendous. Has the natural instincts to become a Pro Bowl player at either CB or FS.
7. Joseph Jefferson-CB-Western Kentucky: 5114, 205-pounds, 4.41/40, 39 ½” Vertical---Another top 5 CB prospect from a small school who I have been high on since August. A very sleek and graceful player who looks like a natural for the position. Ability to play press is big and has the speed to run stride for stride with any receiver. Good tackler who isn’t afraid to hit. Shows a quick burst when closing and has good ball skills. Could develop into a top CB. Pro Bowl potential.
Kentucky DE Dennis Johnson
The Pick: Dennis Johnson-DE-Kentucky: The Saints grab the pass rush end they desperately need. Johnson has the upside and ability to contribute right away. Should become a starter within a year. Unlimited potential. The team now looks to getting another impact player.
82nd Pick: Draft a player who can contribute immediately. Must have tremendous value and upside. Position to be Addressed: LT/RG/C/DT/DE/CB/FS
Players to Consider: Marc Colombo, Fred Weary, Martin Biblia, Seth McKinney, Scott Peters, Dorsett Davis, Carlos Hall, Alex Brown, Tony Beckham, Bobby Sippio, Marques Anderson
1. Marc Colombo-LT-Boston College: 6077, 313-pounds, 5.28/40, 29 ½” Vertical---Big, strong kid(30 reps of 225) who has really added on the necessary weight. He was 288-293 during the season and now weighs in the 311-315 area. The problem is that he has lost a lot of quickness, which is the reason why his stock has fell some. He was considered a lock to be a top 35 pick, but now he may fall to the early-mid third round. IF, and it is a BIG IF, he is there when the Saints pick in round three, Mueller and Haslett may be forced to pull the trigger. Has a lot of potential, but needs to get his quicker with this added weight.
2. Fred Weary-RG/C-Tennessee: 6043, 308-pounds, 5.37/40, 32” Vertical---Versatile player who can play RG or C. Looked dominate in pass protection and in run blocking dills in Mobile. Is older(25) and mature which is something to consider. He is a complete guard prospect who has overcome a lot of adversity to position himself as one of the top O-line prospects in the 2002 draft. Very strong(34 reps of 225) and is able to pull and work well in space. Isn’t the greatest athlete, but understands the position and gets the job done. Steady player who could make become a Pro Bowler.
3. Martin Biblia-RG-Miami: 6033, 306-pounds, 5.16/40, 32 ½” Vertical---Very strong(35 reps of 225) intelligent player who has a tremendous understanding of the game. Not much upside, but is a complete guard prospect who can do everything asked of him. Pulls well and works really well in space. Not limited in his blocking and can eliminate opponent with his strength. Uses hands very well and has good, solid footwork. A player who can come in and start from day one at RG. Possible Pro Bowl talent. Steady and very consistent. Strength is pass protection, but run blocks good enough to get the job done.
4. Seth McKinney-C-Texas A&M: 6033, 300-pounds, 4.97/40, 33 ½” Vertical---Fundamentally speaking, the best center available in the 2002 draft. A very good athlete who has an outstanding work ethic and is very intelligent. Sets up quick and uses hands well. Doesn’t get pushed around, but could stand to gain some upper body strength. Would be a perfect candidate to replace Jerry Fontenot at center. Also is versatile enough to play some guard.
5. Scott Peters-C-Arizona State: 6032, 300-pounds, 5.08/40, 33 ½” Vertical---Best all-around athlete of all the centers in this year’s class. Very strong(36 reps of 225) and quick off the ball. Is not limited in what he can do. Can pull and work well in space. Is able to stand up DT at will and take him completely out of the game. Has a good work ethic and has improved each year. Quick in his set up and understands his position. Could blossom into a Pro Bowl performer.
6. Dorsett Davis-DT-Mississippi State: 6052, 304-pounds, 5.04/40, 31” Vertical---Strong player at the POA, but hasn’t lived up to his potential. Considered this year’s version of Marcus Stroud. Has unlimited ability, but isn’t the hardest worker. A player who needs a fire lit under his rear for him to go balls out. Shows good quickness of the ball and is able to really dominate the LOS (line of scrimmage) at times. Isn’t consistent and isn’t the brightest player, but is LOADED with potential. This would be a pick based off of upside only. Could develop into a Pro Bowler or could be out of the league within 4-5 years.
7. Carlos Hall-DE/SLB-Arkansas: 6035, 259-pounds, 4.65/40, 40” Vertical---A player who has never lived up to his potential while at Arkansas. Carlos is a workout warrior and has the football skills to go along with it, but he hasn’t realized his talent yet. Could play SAM LB in some systems and may excel at that spot. He has tremendous speed off of the edge, but hasn’t gotten to the QB enough in his college career to evaluate his closing abilities. He has a quick first step, but doesn’t know how to use his hands properly. Once he learns some technique, he could become a very dangerous player.
8. Alex Brown-DE/SLB-Florida: 6034, 260-pounds, 4.82/40, 34 ½” Vertical---Overrated player who has fallen out of the top spots at the DE position. Is a very good athlete, but don’t let that fool you. Would have good value outside of the top 75 picks which is why I even mention him here with this pick. IMO, I don’t like anything I see from Brown as a DE other than his ability to line up 3 yards outside of the tackle box and rush the QB. May be best served as a 3-4 OLB.
9. Tony Beckham-CB-Wisconsin-Stout: 6007, 195-pounds, 4.44/40, 34 ½” Vertical---Small school cover man who has worked himself into the top 10 at the CB position. Might be considered a reach by some, but this player has a lot of upside that warrants him being drafted in this area. A very sleek, natural looking corner who has the acceleration and recovery speed needed to play CB in the NFL. Solid tackler. Doesn’t play press coverage all that well, but has room for strength development which will allow him to jam more. Good ball skills and is a shut down type player.
10. Bobby Sippio-FS/CB-Western Kentucky: 6030, 214-pounds, 4.63/40, 37” Vertical---Versatile player who leaves WKU after his junior year. 1-AA All-American and led the nation in interceptions as a freshman. Best suited for playing FS. Has the athletic ability to play center field and has the ball skills and instincts to make big plays. Good tackler who will really level the opponent. Very smart player who understands how to play in the secondary. Very confident player.
11. Marques Anderson-CB/FS/SS-UCLA: 5110, 213-pounds, 4.52/40, 39 ½” Vertical---Very versatile player who can play every position in the secondary. Started career at CB, moved to SS, and played FS as a senior. Hold great value here and would fill TWO needs with one pick for the Saints. Hard hitter who has great leaping ability and ball skills. Very smart player on and off the field. Good leadership qualities and a player who can really make everyone in the secondary better.
UCLA S Marques Anderson (left)
The Pick: Marques Anderson-CB/FS/SS- UCLA: Outstanding value here because he will immediately help the Saints at TWO positions. Haslett and Mueller finish day one doing VERY WELL and look to day two.
Day One Picks:
1. Napoleon Harris-OLB/DE-Northwestern
1a. Josh Reed-WR-Louisiana State
2. Dennis Johnson-DE-Kentucky
3. Marques Anderson-CB/FS/SS-UCLA
Matthew Gambill created All-Pro Scouting Services, LLC after time spent in an NFL scouting department. Gambill has appeared on websites such as Houston Pro Football, Real Team, NFL Draft Blitz, Boomer's Draft Report, Draftbook, and in newspapers across the country.