July 25, 2002

Mitchell, O'Sullivan, Monroe Agree to Three Year Deals

The Saints have signed all of their second-day draft picks, now that 5th round pick Melvin Mitchell, 6th round pick J.T. O'Sullivan, and 7th round pick Derrius Monroe have agreed to their three-year rookie contracts.

4th round pick Keyou Craver and 6th round pick John Gilmore signed earlier this week. 3rd round selection James Allen has also signed his rookie contract.

All picks so far have received three-year contracts.

The Saints top three selections are unsigned with one day remaining before training camp.

Safety Melvin Mitchell, drafted out of Western Kentucky, was considered a steal in the 5th round. Mitchell was part of a Western Kentucky secondary that featured two other draft picks, including Colts 3rd round pick Joseph Jefferson. With 4.55 speed at 6'2, 220 pounds, Mitchell is nearly a lock to be the primary backup to Jay Bellamy at free safety.

Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, out of the University of California-Davis, was the first of two sixth-round picks for the Saints last April. 6'2, 200 pound O'Sullivan was a teammate of Saints WR Onome Ojo at UC-Davis.

A fiery, intense leader on the football field, O'Sullivan is a raw prospect with a quirky release. Regardless, the Saints coaching staff like his mobility and a athleticism, and will give him every shot to beat out veteran QB Jeff Lewis for the #3 quarterback job behind Aaron Brooks and Jake Delhomme.

Defensive end Derrius Monroe, a prospect with a criminal record but a load of potential out of Virginia Tech, has outstanding speed as a pass rushing end. His shadowy past includes missing the entirety of the 2000 season because of an arrest for felony drug charges. But at 6'3, 269 pounds, Monroe runs a blazing 4.56 in the forty-yard dash, the main reason why he was drafted.

Already Monroe has drawn the praise of Jim Haslett, who has mentioned him at every minicamp. Monroe still has skills to learn in the pass rushing field, and also needs to overcome the off-field problems that sunk his collegiate career. Monroe has a solid chance of making the team if the Saints decide to keep eight defensive linemen.

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