2014 NFL Draft Grades, New Orleans Saints: Day 3 Selection Reaction


Oct 12, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; California Golden Bears linebacker Khairi Fortt (11) dives to try to stop UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) during second quarter action at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints had four selections on the third day of the NFL Draft. Here’s how the picks shaped up:

  • Round 4 (#126 Overall): Khairi Fortt, ILB, California
  • Round 5 (#167 Overall): Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama
  • Round 5 (#169 Overall): Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida
  • Round 6 (#202 Overall): Tavon Rooks, OT, Kansas

Overall, the Saints addressed several of their glaring needs this offseason, so let’s take a further look at the ‘new blood’.

Khairi Fortt, ILB, California

Analysis: Fortt suffered from poor play around him at California, but still was able to shine. He has a strong physical frame, and with his quickness and strength, could actually play on the outside or inside. He also can play in versatile schemes (3-4 or 4-3). Fortt could be an immediate impact on special teams for the Saints, and evolve into something more.

Grade: B-

Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama

Analysis: Sunseri is a role player who hits hard and contributes primarily on special teams. A torn ACL forced Sunseri out of the season for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2013. However, when he was on the field, his presence was felt. The injury will be something we continue to look at, and I somewhat scratch my head slightly as to why we took another safety when there’s Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush, and Marcus Harris already on the roster. Perhaps Sunseri will challenge some of the other corners, and fight for a spot on the special teams in the immediate future. Sunseri was taken much higher than anyone ever thought he would be (originally a seventh round projection).

Grade: C-

Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida

Analysis: Powell is a very interesting prospect for the team. Like Sunseri, Powell’s playing time was cut short due to injury, as he tore his ACL twice in 2012 with the Florida Gators. Powell was the top rated prospect coming out of high school in 2010. Let me say that again, the top rated prospect, not at his position. Powell fits the mold for Rob Ryan’s defense, as he showed his versatility as an outside linebacker or defensive end. His injury history and attitude make it a bit of a gamble for the team, but his upside potential is unlimited.

Grade: C

Tavon Rooks, OT, Kansas

Analysis: We’re already thinking of an answer when Zach Strief exits. Tavon Rooks wasn’t concerned with being drafted today, but got the call from the New Orleans Saints that he was going to be drafted. Rooks is a dedicated right tackle, but perhaps the only downside is that he weighs in at 280 pounds. Rooks will be an interesting prospect, as he has a chance to increase that size. He already has strong athleticism and good foot work. He’ll be one to watch grow.

Grade: C+

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