Pre-NFL Combine New Orleans Saints mock draft
Undrafted Free Agents: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU
The New Orleans Saints have invested heavily in the offensive tackle position with a first round pick spent on Andrus Peat last spring and an extension for 24-year old Terron Armstead expected to materialize as soon as it can be afforded. The starter at right tackle, Zach Strief, has been one of the better starters in the NFL but injuries and age are taking their toll on him. The vision is for Peat to succeed him there, but the Saints will still need a backup swing tackle once Strief hangs his cleats up.
That’s where Halapoulivaat “Hal” Vaitai from TCU comes into play. He’s a large human being, standing a stout 6-foot-6, weighing 320 pounds, and featuring great length with 34 ¼-inch arms with 10 5/8-inch hands. He isn’t a great athlete for those measurements, but if a heavy-handed right tackle is your hope then he’s your guy.
Vaitai started the last two years for TCU, spending 2014 at right tackle and 2015 at left tackle. He’s got plenty of game experience and knows how to use his length and size to his advantage in the trenches. He needs to develop faster feet and lower body strength, which is a correctable issue. If he only ends up playing a few hundred snaps a year for the Saints he’d be a worthy investment.
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