Saints look towards undrafted free agents to plug holes at cornerback


The New Orleans Saints have completed their 2012 NFL draft, and in typical fashion chose to take who they considered the best player available regardless of overall need currently on the roster.

Mickey Looms and company pulled the trigger on little known defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, the former LSU Tiger that lost out on his NCAA eligibility after recruiting violations surfaced concerning an “illegal” visit the school made with him very early during the recruiting process.

Hicks then took to playing college football in Canada with the University of Regina.

He’s a good prospect at the d-tackle position, but could be kicked out to defensive end depending on how the Saints feel about him playing in the middle of their defensive line.

In round four the Saints did take a player that helped fill a position of need after selecting wide receiver Nick Toon out of the University of Wisconsin.

Former first-round pick Robert Meachem left the Saints for the Chargers, who are hoping that he can turn into the number one receiver for quarterback Philip Rivers.

Toon is a lot like standout wide receiver Marques Colston — big, physical, great hands — and could excel in the Saints offense with Drew Brees delivering him the ball.

Originally slotted as a 2nd to 3rd round pick, Toon tumbled because of health concerns and the perception that he can suffer from the drops in key situations.

New Orleans is great at developing late round talent and Toon could become a huge steal if he can find consistency at the NFL level.

The combination of Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Nick Toon in consideration to their size and physicality could be a special one for years to come.

In round five the Saints selected safety Corey White from Samford, followed by guard Andrew Tiller in the sixth round, and tackle Marcel Jones in the seventh round.

But the Saints didn’t take any corners, an area of need considering Tracy Porter and Leigh Torrence departed in free agency. Porter signed with the Broncos, and Torrence re-joined the Redskins.

New Orleans was then down to six corners on the roster — Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick, Kamaal McIIlwain, Cord Parks, and Josh Victorian — the latter of three could potentially miss out on making the 53-man roster.

Having not taken any corner in the draft the Saints have turned to the undrafted free agent pool already and signed two cornerbacks to future contracts — Laron Scott (Georgia-Southern) and A.J. Davis (Jacksonville State).

Both corners are of smaller stature, Scott stands 5-8 and weighs 183 pounds, while Davis is 5-11 and 184 pounds.

The Saints are one of a handful of teams that don’t shy away from smaller corners as the league trend has begun to shift toward bigger 6 foot and up corners that some teams feel can match up better with the Calvin Johnson sized receivers.

Davis and Scott will have to learn on the fly as they practice against the Saints veteran receiving core. They should only get better, but that doesn’t mean that either will make the roster.

Out of Kamaal McIIlwain, Cord Parks, Josh Victorian, Laron Scott, and A.J. Davis the Saints are hoping they have found one or two guys that can make the roster and contribute to the team this season.

New Orleans also agree to future deals with three safeties; Jerico Nelson (Arkansas), Johnny Thomas (Oklahoma State), and Jose Gumbs (Monmouth).