Grading the New Orleans Saints Draft


Nov 1, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks (7) scores a touchdown against USC Trojans in the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the draft has concluded, it’s time for all of the post reactions and grades. How have the Saints stacked up? Here’s some grades from some various sources across the football world.

Here’s a brief recap of the Saints 2014 selections:

Round 1 – #20 Overall (via Cardinals): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Round 2 – #58th Overall: Stan Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Round 4 – #126th Overall: Khairi Fortt, ILB, California
Round 5 – #167 Overall (via Eagles): Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama
Round 5 – #169 Overall: Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida
Round 6 – #202 Overall: Tavon Rooks, OT, Kansas

How did I grade each pick? Be sure to check the 2014 Saints Draft Hub in case you missed my previous articles. Let’s start with some award ribbons.

Most Intriguing Pick: Tavon Rooks

I had mentioned that Rooks is going to be a nice project to watch grow. Rooks has good physical stature at 6’5″, but may be a bit undersized at his listed weight of 280 pounds. He now is reported to be at 300 pounds. Rooks is true dedicated right tackle, and could be the eventual successor to Zach Strief. Sean Payton said Rooks has ‘real good feet and real good athleticism’.

Strangest Pick: Vinnie Sunseri

Sunseri wasn’t on many draft boards, especially in the fifth round. However, when you look at the grand scheme of things, Sunseri plays with a ton of emotion, and could be a difference maker on special teams – perhaps that spark that teams often have, but go overlooked. He’s coming off an injury, but should be ready to go.

Most Upside: Stan Jean-Baptiste

Again, the comparisons to Richard Sherman is what makes Jean-Baptiste so appealing. His journey is extremely similar, and when you look at the physical attributes, they are nearly identical. Jean-Baptiste has the right coaching and mentor to evolve into something solid.

Ready to Roll: Brandin Cooks

If you aren’t anticipating on using your first round pick on the active roster this year, then what was the point of drafting him? Cooks looks to be the most battle ready player to enter the Saints in 2014. He should make a strong immediate impact with the offense.

Watch & Grow: Khari Fortt & Ronald Powell

As I’ve previously stated, Fortt was just in a bad situation. His physical frame and abilities could lead to something good as an outside rusher, as he is extremely versatile. Powell is a risk/reward type of player for the defense, and perhaps is marked as a potential replacement to Ramon Humber after this season. 

Overall: The Saints needed to address three main positions in this year’s draft: wide receiver, cornerback, and offensive lineman. Depending on who you asked, linebacker was a debatable third spot as opposed to an offensive lineman. The Saints addressed these needs in the draft, and while we won’t cheat and use the undrafted rookies for the grading process, you can still state that the team got what they needed, especially in terms of their most glaring needs.

Final Grade: B

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