The New Orleans Saints have been one of the best teams in the league at getting the most out of their UDFAs and they’re hoping this year is no different. From Carl Granderson to Malcolm Roach, the Saints have continued to find gems after the draft has concluded and Eric Burrell could be the next name to join that group.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report put a list together of every team’s best UDFA on their roster and for the Saints, Burrell was the pick.
The 6’0″, 195-pound defender possesses the strength, aggressiveness and big-hitting ability to make an impact on the back end and in punt coverage. In seven games with the Badgers last season, Burrell logged 23 tackles, two tackles for loss, two passes defended and an interception. He had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 2019.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for Burrell will be the Saints’ depth. They are loaded with safety talent—including Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins and P.J. Williams—and may not have a spot for Burrell in the defensive lineup. Look for him to initially find a home on special teams or as a member of New Orleans’ practice squad.
The New Orleans Saints might have a hidden gem with Eric Burrell.
Burrell probably isn’t packing a punch on the Saints’ defense this year and Knox touches on that. He discusses how the Saints have a stacked safety group, which is going to make it difficult for Burrell to find the field.
A realistic scenario is for Burrell to land on the practice squad this year (or — if he’s lucky — the 53-man roster for a special teams role) and then maybe he can breakthrough in the 2022 season and beyond.
It’s not common for UDFAs to make a huge splash right out of the gates and that will be the situation Burrell finds himself in. If the Saints are patient with him, he could become a major playmaker in the secondary but it’ll take time.
With Marcus Williams entering the final year of his rookie deal and no extension seemingly in sight, the Saints will need help at safety moving forward. That’s where Burrell could come in handy and why the team should keep him around even if he doesn’t make the final roster this year.