April 27, 2008

Taylor Melhaff, kicker, Wisconsin

Sixth Round - 12th Pick, #178 Overall
Taylor Melhaff, kicker, Wisconsin
5'10, 183 pounds

Like Adam Vinatieri, Melhaff is from South Dakota. A football, hockey, soccer and track star in high school. Left-footed boomer whose kicks up north have conditioned him to kick in any elements. 21 of 25 last year, including a 51-yarder. Was an immediate and four year starter for the Badgers.

Legend has it one of his kickoffs in high school traveled 78 yards before hitting the ground. Melhaff was a fantastic youth soccer player in South Dakota and didn't start kicking footballs until eighth grade.

The Saints personally worked out Melhaff, a coaches All-America pick in 2007. Had the Saints not traded their seventh round pick earlier to move up two spots for Pressley, they would have taken Melhaff one round later. Its clear the Saints targeted Melhaff before.

Alternatives: Nicholls State S Kareem Moore, Melhaff's teammate Wisconsin DT Nick Hayden, Arizona LB Spencer Larsen were among those that went later. If the Saints are to consider a runningback, two big, solid runners are still on the board with Arkansas' Peyton Hillis and Michigan's Mike Hart. LSU LB Ali Highsmith continued to plummet. Notre Dame C John Sullivan was on the board.

Impact on Saints: Should challenge Martin Gramatica for the placekicking and kickoffs job. That the Saints have put a draft pick on him gives his status as the camp leg legitimacy. Melhaff is not simply here to be the emergency fallback to an established veteran, as we have seen in many training camps past.

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