New Orleans Saints Sophomore Spotlight: Ronald Powell
After releasing a handful of veterans last offseason, the New Orleans Saints were looking to add some pass rushers to their roster by way of the 2014 NFL Draft. In hopes of doing so, the Black and Gold selected OLB Ronald Powell in the fifth round. Today, we highlight Powell as part of our ‘Sophomore Spotlight’ series.
The former Gator screams potential. He was the No. 1 overall prospect (regardless of position) coming out of high school, but faced numerous injury issues while at the University of Florida.
Powell was actually the Consensus No. 1 defensive end recruit heading into college. As a true freshman in 2010, he played in all 13 games with one start at strong-side linebacker. In 2011, he started 12 games as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker racking up 32 tackles (nine for a loss), six sacks and a forced fumble.
Powell sat out the 2012 season after tearing his left ACL twice. He started eight games in 2013 before suffering a sprained ankle, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but strained his hamstring while participating in the the 40-yard dash.
Like last year, the health of Ronald Powell will be something Sean Payton and company must monitor. A fifth-round pick, and with very limited time on the field during his rookie season in 2014, he’ll look to have an expanded role now, especially with question marks surrounding the troubled Junior Galette, who still has a meeting scheduled with the NFL to discuss his bumpy offseason, among other previous mishaps.
The Black and Gold struggled tremendously at getting after opposing quarterbacks last year. With a rare combination of size, speed, power and athleticism, the 6-foot-3, 237 pound Powell is an intriguing second-year Saint to come in and compete for playing time as an edge pass rusher.
However, training camp will be no cake walk. Between draft picks, undrafted free agents, returning veterans and a key addition in Anthony Spencer, the Saints are currently housing a handful of outside linebackers. It’s an uphill battle from here, so Ronald Powell better bring his A-game if he wishes to make the final cut when it’s time to trim the roster down to 53 men.
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