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New Orleans Saints: 2017 NFL Combine Players To Watch

The Saints' scouting department needs to keep their eyes on a few prospects. TROY SIMON VIA FLICKR


Which Players Should the Saints’ Scouting Department Keep Their Eyes On?

With the 2017 NFL Combine just days away, the Saints‘ scouting department will be busy making endless evaluations on NFL Draft prospects. The Saints went 7-9 in 2016 and they have a few holes to fill. With strong scouting reports and hard work from their team staff, the franchise might be able to turn around nicely in 2017. Most of the issues from the 2016 season reside on the defensive side of the ball. The Saints must address a few key positions on defense through the draft, and it all starts with the 2017 NFL Combine.

The reason the Saints need to focus more on the defensive side of the football is due to their horrendous 2016 performance. New Orleans gave up over 6,000 total yards on defense in 2016 and they need to focus on several key positions on draft day. For immediate impact players, the Saints‘ scouting department should focus on the corner position, the linebacker position, and the defensive line. There are some outstanding players at each of these positions in this draft class.

The offensive side of the ball doesn’t really have any big issues at the moment, though the Saints might want to look into the running back position in the middle of the draft. It wouldn’t hurt to add some more depth behind Mark Ingram in the running game. They also need to focus on finding a potential successor to Drew Brees. If the Saints‘ scouting department does their work correctly, they should be able to spot some value players at the quarterback position.

Here some early round prospects the Saints should be paying attention to at the 2017 NFL Combine.

Raekwon McMillan – ILB Ohio State

First of all, McMillan has great size at 6’2″ and 250 pounds. He’s also a very athletic and powerful player. He possesses great play recognition and can use his speed to make plays all over the field. The Saints need a flashy playmaker on defense, and a stud right in the middle would help a ton. He would be able to come in and make a huge difference for this defense’s confidence and production. He could possibly be another Buckeye to stand out in the NFL with New Orleans. The Saints need to keep a close eye on this kid at the combine.

Tim Williams – OLB Alabama

Williams is another big guy at 6’3″ and 250 pounds. Playing at Alabama gave this young man some great experience, especially in big games. He’s excellent in blitz packages with his speed and agility to get past the offensive line. That is a huge bonus, as he’ll aid in the Saints‘ pass rush. He follows the ball well, allowing him to apply his talents in the rush defense. He is able to quickly locate the football and explode into the backfield to make a play.

Teez Tabor – CB Florida

This guy is exactly what the Saints need. He’s an athletic and powerful cover-corner to help improve their awful secondary. . His excellent man-to-man coverage skills and appealing size should also be appealing. He’s listed at 6’0″ and 200 pounds, so he can play with the bigger and stronger receivers. Tabor stays with his man and has quick ball reactions. Teez Tabor needs to be on the Saints‘ radar going into the combine.

Sidney Jones – CB Washington

Sidney Jones is an outstanding corner in a strong draft class. He’s not as big as some of the other prospects, however, he does possess great cover skills in man-to-man packages. Jones is listed at 6’0″ and 181 pounds. Jones has an elite ability to stay one step ahead of the offense. He senses out plays and is able to keep up with his receiver.

The former University of Washington standout is a very aggressive player, and that’s exactly what the Saints‘ scouting department will be looking for. This defense needs a player with some fight in him, and Sidney Jones is that guy. They should be watching how he performs at the combine.

Derek Barnett – DE Tennessee

New Orleans lacked a good pass rush all last season. Barnett could be the player they plug in to fix that problem. He’s listed at 6’3″ and 265 pounds. That’s a lot of power for how quick and agile this guy is. Derek Barnett and Cameron Jordan would be a nice tandem for the Saints. What stands out about Barnett is his initial burst. He is very quick off the snap and uses his speed and power to beat blocks and make plays. Therefore, he would be an excellent fit for the Saints.


Now as I mentioned above, the Saints should be looking for guys to take later in the draft. The NFL Combine is a great event to see the physical talents of players and how passionate they are about moving on to the next level. There will be quite a few running backs and quarterbacks at the combine that the Saints should be watching. Here are a few of those prospects.

Davis Webb – QB California

Drew Brees isn’t geting any younger and the Saints will need to start looking towards the future at the quarterback position. Webb could fall to the fourth or fifth round, depending on how well he does at the combine and his pro day. He’s another guy who comes with great experience and size. This past season, Webb threw for almost 4,300 passing yards and 37 touchdowns. He’s a good decision maker and plays with confidence. In addition, he could learn behind one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen in Drew Brees.

Wayne Gallman – RB Clemson

Another late round prospect to watch at the combine is Wayne Gallman. He had an impressive 2016 season with Clemson. With his size, speed, and power, he would provide a great one-two-punch combo with Mark Ingram in the Saints‘ backfield. In a high octane and pass-friendly offense at Clemson, Gallman still managed to earn over 1,100 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. The Saints could use another strong back and they might be able to find Gallman in the fourth round or later. That’s value at its finest. He’s also another back who can catch the football out of the backfield, which is always a plus.

In conclusion, the New Orleans Saints are in a great position in this year’s draft. With the 11th overall pick they should land a blue chip player that can come in and make them better. Their scouts will be busy with the combine coming up and they will have many evaluations to make about the numerous prospects.