October 13, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tulane Green Wave running back Derrick Strozier (13) runs from SMU Mustangs linebacker Taylor Reed (44) during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Fresh out of the Green Wave showers, Tulane defensive back Derrick Strozier was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent just two days after his college graduation. He was able to break the news on Twitter:
Strozier didn’t try out as a defensive back for the Saints though. During his tenure at Tulane, he also played running back. At his diminutive size of 5’8, 181 pounds he thought he might have a better chance working out at running back.
While at Tulane, he proved that he could be productive around the ball. As a corner back, he was able to win defensive player of the week awards and special teams player of the week awards. He’s also a very effective receiver out of the backfield with decent speed and agility to make defenders miss. His size might remind Saints fans of Darren Sproles but a better closer comparison might be to running back Pierre Thomas.
The Saints invited Strozier for a workout at their facility. Here’s what Saints Head coach Sean Payton had to say about the him:
"“When he came to our local workout, he wanted to work out as a running back (and) to his credit I think he felt probably his chances were better with his size maybe at that position than maybe playing defensive back, and I know he was their (Tulane’s) player of the year on defense. He played a big role in their success. Very quickly, you can see why. He’s smart, and he understands what we’re doing.”"
Payton felt comfortable enough with his evaluation of Strozier that he could see him fitting a specialized role on the team. I honestly could see him playing a big role on special teams much the same way former wide receiver Courtney Roby did with the team for a few years.
I see him making the team because of his efforts on special teams and his usefulness as a defensive back/running back/wide receiver. One interesting note about Strozier: his uncle was St. Louis Rams middle linebacker Mike Jones. Jones is best known for the tackle that he made in Superbowl 34 on Andre Dyson one yard short of the end zone.