Following the Saints rookie mini-camp the team announced the signing of four players that impressed during their try-outs – Guard Shawn Flanigan, DT Earl Heyman, WR Matthew Simon, and OT Michael Brown.
Flanigan (6’5 310) bounced around schools his entire college career – going from Oregon to Eastern Oregon University, until finally settling at the University of Sioux Falls.
Flanigan started all 14 games in 2008 for the Sioux Falls Cougars, never giving up a sack, garnering a first team All Conference selection as well as a second team NAIA All-American team selection.
Earl Heyman (6’3 285) is a product of Louisville where he was a full time starter.
In his senior season Heyman totaled 35 tackles, 7.5 for a loss with 5 sacks. A rare combination of size and speed Heyman can run the forty in 4.9 seconds.
Matt Simon is attempting to crack the toughest position on the Saints roster, wide receiver.
Simon started in 39 games while at Northern Illinois totaling 96 receptions for 1660 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Impressing Scouts at his pro day, Simon (6’1 199) ran a 4.49 and 4.51 in the 40-yard dash, 4.41 short shuttle and 7.14 three-cone drill, and added a 36-inch vertical jump.
Michael Brown (6’4 314) could be the steal of this seasons crop of UDFA. Brown played for Mississippi State (transferred from Florida) starting in 19 games – 6 in 2006 and all 13 in 2007.
Brown was a standout tackle during this span earning a second team All-Southeastern Conference selection by his coaches and an All-SEC mention by the associated press. Tallied an offensive line best 82.3 blocking grade.
Originally projected as a third to fourth round selection Browns’ stock plummeted after he was dismissed from the team for being charged with possession of a firearm while on campus.
Trying to guess what each of these players’ future will be with the Saints is like trying to guess if Brett Favre will stay retired – It simply cannnot be done!
I’m willing to bet though that Simon will be a practice squad stud or special teams contributor, Flanigan and Heyman get an opportunity to play as backups, and Brown will get an opportunity to start depending on his performance - or become a very good backup.