Fans of the Black and Gold are desperately waiting to hear those words beetle out of commissioner Roger Goodell‘s chops on April 30. With doors closing on the scouting combine Monday afternoon, the pieces are beginning to fall into place.
It is anticipated that the Saints will target some sort of pass rusher in the first round, whether it be a defensive end or an outside linebacker. This year’s rookie class is brimming with that type of talent, which stretches deep into the later rounds of the selection process.
If New Orleans does decide to go the pass rushing route in the first round, Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley and Alvin “Bud” Depree are all intriguing prospects, especially after standing out at the combine.
Many mock drafts have the Saints taking Florida‘s Fowler, whose game relies on his capital versatility and explosive lower body. His light feet and transitional movements make him a problematic matchup for most blockers, and his energy on the field is absolutely amazing. He displayed his quickness off the snap at the combine, but his overall strength (lower and upper body) could use some tweaking.
OLB/DE Dante Fowler Jr. combine results:
40-yard dash – 4.60 seconds (6th among LBs and DL)
Bench press (225 LBS) – 19 reps
Vertical jump – 32.5 inches
Broad jump – 112 inches
3 cone drill – 7.40 seconds
20-yard shuffle – 4.32 seconds
60-yard shuffle – 11.89 seconds
Bud Dupree of Kentucky is another pass rusher who may wind up falling into the hands of Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis on draft day. He has long arms, great flexibility and an explosive burst. He had no problem displaying his freakish abilities in Indianapolis, but a minor groin injury ended his day early.
OLB Bud Dupree combine results:
40-yard dash – 4.56 seconds (3rd among LBs and DL)
Vertical jump – 42.0 inches (2nd)
Broad jump – 138.0 inches (1st)
Clemson‘s Vic Beasley was the most impressive one out of the three. He’s a bit smaller than scouts and coaches prefer for the linebacker position, but his strength, athleticism and performance certainly outweigh his size. There’s still plenty of room for growth in that frame of his. He may have more burst than any pass rusher in the 2015 class, and due to his broad shoulders and long arms, Beasley is also one of the most powerful of all the incoming rookies.
OLB Vic Beasley combine results:
40-yard dash – 4.53 seconds (1st among LBs and DL)
Bench press – 35 reps (1st)
Vertical jump – 41.0 inches (3rd)
Broad jump – 130 inches (3rd)
3 cone drill – 6.91 seconds (4th)
20-yard shuffle – 4.15 seconds (5th)
Anyone of these guys remain intriguing prospects for the New Orleans Saints. Applying some added pressure on opposing quarterbacks is critical. As the 2015 NFL Draft approaches, don’t be surprised if Beasley, Fowler or Dupree wind up greeting Roger Goodell, courtesy of the Black and Gold.
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