New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, and general manager Mickey Loomis are seen during NFL football pro day, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
With the May 8-10 draft a little more than a week away, below is an unofficial guide to players who the Saints have either hosted for visits or worked out and who could be taken either in the third day (rounds four to seven) of the event or in the undrafted free agency period shortly thereafter.
On Tuesday, The Advocate’s Black and Gold Blog published a similar guide for first- and second-day draft prospects.
The Saints have been unsurprisingly tight-lipped about which prospects they covet and at what portions of the draft they believe they can get them. But this gives the public a slight hint about which players the Saints might think stand out from the rest.
More pre-draft coverage — including requisite mock drafts from The Advocate’s writers — will follow in the coming days.
+Name, Pos., School (Projected round) (* = confirmed by The Advocate or player himself on social media or in interview; ** = media report)
+Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming (3-4)**
-The 5-foot-9, 193-pound Herron is speedy, having clocked 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Indianapolis. He had 72 catches for 932 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games his final year at Wyoming, showing impressive straight-line speed as well as vision to set up blocks, CBSSports.com wrote in their draft prospect profile of him.
He also displayed toughness while taking big hits attacking the middle of the field and catching bubble screens; but, like any NFL hopeful, he isn’t without his perceived flaws.
CBS Sports said Herron’s height was not ideal for an outside receiver. The site questioned the level of competition he faced throughout most of his career; his ability to run routes since most of his big plays were reportedly made on verticals, drags across the middle and quick screens; and his track record on special teams, because he only returned three kickoffs for 39 yards and did not field any punts.
+Bryan Stork, C, Florida State (5-7)**
-The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Stork was Florida State’s starting center in 2012 and 2013. He helped the Seminoles win the BCS championship last year, and in the process he earned the Rimington Trophy as the best player at his position in the nation.
NFL.com’s draft profile of Stork criticized the player for having short arms and stiff hips, and it said he greatly benefitted from playing next to two talented guards. For the record, that’s exactly what he’d have in New Orleans if he ended up here — Saints guards Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans have both been to multiple Pro Bowls.
+Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma (5-7)*
-The 5-foot-11, 177-pound Colvin was initially tabbed to be taken in the first three rounds of the draft after recording 55 tackles (44 solo), three pass breakups, one interception, five takedowns behind the line of scrimmage and one quarterback sack in 11 games and 10 starts in 2013. But then he tore an anterior cruciate ligament during a Senior Bowl practice in January in Mobile, Ala., and was recast as a mid- to late-rounder.
At the scouting combine in February, he reportedly said he had been told he could be ready in time for preseason training camps.
+Kevin Pamphile, tackle, Purdue (6)**
The 6-foot-4 1/2, 311-pound Pamphile was Purdue’s starting left for his senior campaign in 2013. A former basketballer who played only one year of prep football, Pamphile sat out his first year at Purdue before becoming a defensive lineman in 2010.
He missed most of that year hurt and switched to offensive tackle in 2011, appearing in four games as a backup. Despite his minimal experience, Pamphile started nine games at left tackle in 2012 and manned the position again as a redshirt senior in 2013; Purdue was 6-7 and 1-11 in those seasons, respectively.
Pamphile commanded the attention of NFL personnel with campus pro day workout numbers mirroring those of combine standouts at his position: 4.92 and 4.94 seconds in the 40-yard dash; a 32-inch vertical leap; a 9-foot broad jump; and 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press, according to the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson. He also reportedly displayed his basketball-rooted athleticism and fluidity in drills.
Texas A&M’s Nate Askew (No. 9), quarterback Johnny Manziel (No. 2) and defensive back Toney Hurd Jr., (No. 4) celebrate on the field at the end of the team’s 48-3 win over Southern Methodist in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)
+Nate Askew, LB, Texas A&M (6-7)*
-The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Askew played two seasons at wide receiver for the Aggies before switching to linebacker last year. He had 33 total tackles (22 solo) and was second on his team with two interceptions in 12 regular-season games as a senior. He added a third interception and five tackles (three solo) in a Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over Duke to help Texas A&M reach a 9-4 record.
He returned one of those picks for a TD and drew sixth- to seventh-round projections from NFL.com. He’s quick, having been timed at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a workout, according to CBS Sports.
He posted 18 reps in the 225-pound bench press and had a broad jump of 10 feet, 6 inches.
+Josh Walker, offensive lineman, Middle Tennessee State (7th or undrafted)**
The 6-foot-5, 323-pound Walker earned All-Conference USA honors and has been praised for his durability, having never missed a game. He reportedly had a good positional workout at his school’s pro day to improve his draft stock.
+Chase Dixon, TE, Central Arkansas (undrafted)*
-The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Dixon played 32 games for Central Arkansas from 2010 to 2013, catching 33 passes for 379 yards and 10 touchdowns for his career at a school that competes in the Southland Conference of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).
He hauled in 22 of those grabs, 262 of those yards and six of those TDs last season. But he broke his leg in October and played in only six games for the campaign. He had scored once in each outing, causing at least one local paper to speculate that he was en-route to an All-America selection.
Dixon earned second-team, all-conference honors at the end of the year.
+Timothy Flanders, RB, Sam Houston State (undrafted)**
-Dimunitive at 5-foot-9 and 207 pounds, Flanders is the all-time leading rusher in the history of the Southland Conference, which is in the FCS. The former All-American had 5,664 ground yards and 66 touchdowns from 2010 to 2013 after transferring to Sam Houston State from Kansas State, where he red-shirted his freshman year.
At the combine, Flanders said he met with New Orleans running backs coach Dan Roushar and grew up in Oklahoma as a Saints fan.
+Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor (undrafted)*
A former basketball player at Gonzaga before transferring, the 5-foot-11, 194-pound Goodson had 13 pass breakups and three interceptions in 11 games and 10 starts in 2013. He led his team in interceptions and picked off a pass from Central Florida’s Blake Bortles (a first-round draft prospect this year) in Baylor’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl defeat in January.
Goodson, whose brother Mike is a Jets running back, missed the first two games of last year with a right arm bone bruise. The previous year, he fractured his right forearm in two spots and missed the 2012 season, creating questions about his durability, NFL.com’s draft profile of him says.
Tulane Green Wave wide receiver Ryan Grant (3) reaches for a pass against North Texas during the second quarter Saturday, October 6, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD)
–Tulane’s pro day was at the Saints’ indoor training facility in Metairie. Tulane’s draft-eligible prospects include wide receiver Ryan Grant (fifth-round grades) and kicker Cairo Santos (who could be available in the seventh round or in undrafted free agency). The Green Wave’s head coach is Curtis Johnson, a former assistant to Saints coach Sean Payton.
–The Saints went to LSU’s pro day in full force. Among the mid- to late-round prospects LSU has to offer are defensive tackle Anthony “Freak” Johnson, defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, safety Craig Loston, running back Alfred Blue, fullback J.C. Copeland and guard Trai Turner.
–At Louisiana Tech’s pro day, Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt and defensive line coach Bill Johnson got a close look at defensive end IK Enemkpali (6-foot-1, 261 pounds), who pundits think will be available in undrafted free agency.
–Among the players invited to the Saints’ workout for local draft-eligible prospects was Wofford linebacker Alvin Scioneaux. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound East St. John alum earned all-conference honors throughout his career at Wofford College (FCS), mostly attacking off the edge. Tulane cornerbacks Jordan Sullen and Derrick Strozier got invites, too.
–The Saints privately worked out Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the process. It was believed he’d be taken as early as the second round, but it’s thought his injury will drop him down draft boards.
–Missouri wide receiver L’Damian Washington, a Shreveport native who could be taken in the seventh round or undrafted free agency, was reportedly spotted out at dinner with the Saints after his pro day in March. His linear speed has supposedly impressed during drills.
–NFL.com previously reported the Saints were among a dozen teams interested in quarterback Aaron Murray out of Georgia. Murray tore an ACL in late November but has merited fourth-round grades.
–Murray and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (who won three BCS titles on the Crimson Tide between 2010 and 2013) recently told ESPN they both admire the Saints. Murray said he’d gladly back up franchise quarterback Drew Brees in New Orleans. McCarron said he personally knows Payton and spoke with him at Alabama’s pro day; and he also mentioned meeting Brees at the Super Bowl earlier this year.
Like McCarron, Murray said he didn’t visit New Orleans but interacted with Saints coaches during offseason events they’ve attended.
(H/T Canal Street Chronicles on Jordan Sullen, Derrick Strozier and L’Damian Washington items)