The New Orleans Saints took their time during the draft, but acted quickly signing up 13 undrafted rookies. Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis have a special knack for uncovering hidden gems in the undrafted free agent market.
One new name that Saints fans should get to know is Syracuse offensive tackle Sean Hickey. He was projected to go through rounds 6-7 and our editor, John Hendrix, actually suggested as much in his previous mock draft.
The 6’5, 309 pound lineman was the only offensive linemen to start all 12 games last season for Syracuse. He started 38 games over the past three seasons mostly as a left tackle.
Hickey’s real strength is against the run. He can effectively wall off defenders with a good punch and proper leverage. He still must improve his pass protection.
Two reasons Hickey decided to sign with the Saints. The first was because he received a call from head coach Sean Payton. Most NFL coaches don’t get involved in that part of the process (based on a flurry of calls he was receiving from many teams during the 7th round).
The second reason was Payton told him that if he came in and was the player they were expecting him to be, he had an extremely high chance of making the team.
Payton and Hickey’s mutual experience with Doug Marrone (he was the Saints offensive coordinator from 2006-08 before becoming the head coach at Syracuse) played a role as well as Hickey felt that Marrone ran the program like an NFL team.
The New Orleans Saints plan on being competitive on every part of the roster this year and if Hickey can beat out Nic Becton, Bryce Harris on the roster, there’s a good chance that he could be part of the final 53.