The New Orleans Saints are sure to face a lot of questions during the next several months, perhaps none bigger than who will make final cuts. While it’s an exciting time for many players (mainly rookies), the reality is that nearly forty players will be fighting for a final roster spot in the Crescent City. The Saints have had a long, documented success in terms of finding undrafted rookie free agent talent. Many of us hope that the lightning keeps striking.
We continue highlight the thirteen undrafted rookie free agents, and look at one of those said players, tight end Harold Spears.
Spears, like R.J. Harris, played four years at the University of New Hampshire, which is a Division I-AA school. NFL Draft Scout pegged Spears as the 25th highest prospect out of 98 total tight ends. He finished out with 111 receptions for 1,639 yards in his four seasons with the Wildcats, hauling in 12 touchdowns and notching four 100-yard receiving games.
Pro Day Results
Weight: 251 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds
Broad Jump: 9-foot-10
Vertical Jump: 36 1/2″
Bench Reps: 20
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.53 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.25 seconds
Here’s some of the things NFL.com had to say in his draft profile:
"Thick target who isn’t easily knocked off of his feet after the catch. Plays with soft hands and above-average catch radius. Able to handle the big hit over the middle while still finishing the catch. Can make the tough catches look easy. Productive two-year run with 90 catches for 1,316 yards and 8 touchdowns. Uses his high school basketball experience to his advantage as it pertains to body control."
In speaking with Roger Brown, editor and publisher for the New Hampshire Football Report, he had nothing but good things to say about Spears. Brown said that the New Orleans Saints were one of five teams that held a private workout with some of the Wildcats two days before their pro day back in March. Brown added that UNH runs a lot of the spread offense, and that Spears was a big down field presence for their attack.
Spears has a basketball background, and Brown said that the Wildcats will often look at offensive linemen, basketball players, or even lacrosse players for tight end recruiting. Brown also shared a story with me around head coach Sean McDonnell and Spears, saying that McDonnell showed him some film of previous players, and it really helped fuel him from being a pretty good tight end to a great one. The film study made him practice harder, and ultimately Spears really caught fire his junior year. McDonnell said he was one of four prospects that he thought would go to the NFL.
Spears went from playing in 9 games during his first two seasons to 27 over the final two, increasing his totals in virtually every receiving category. He’s been fairly injury free since his sophomore year, and is very athletic and gifted. He figures to bring the most upside to the passing game. Brown believes that the Saints got the two best prospects out of UNH. On a side note, Brown also covers the New England Patriots, and was on his way to cover the ‘Deflate Gate’ business. I sincerely appreciate him taking the time out of his busy day to speak with me.
The Saints have had a knack for finding real gems through the undrafted rookie process, specifically at tight end. Last year, the team brought in University of Louisana-Monroe’s JeRon Hamm and McNeese State’s Nic Jacobs. While both did not wind up on the Saints permanent roster, they ultimately found homes elsewhere. Hamm went to the Washington Redskins, and Jacobs landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is something that bodes well for Spears, and with a glaring need for a third tight end, Spears can certainly leave an impression on coach Sean Payton and company to consider him for a roster spot.
Here are some of Spears’ highlights from his time with UNH.
I was able to ask Harold Spears about coming to the Big Easy, and he had this to say,
"I just want to say that I’m extremely excited to wear the black and gold! Hopefully make Who Dat Nation proud!"
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