2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers New Orleans Saints Should Target
5 Late-Round Sleepers the New Orleans Saints Should Target in the 2014 Draft
The New Orleans Saints made quite the comeback during the 2013-14 season. Coming off a season in which they had lost their head coach, Sean Payton, and any credibility the team had built up over the past few years, it was nice to see New Orleans bounce back with a 12-4 season and a playoff win against the surprising Philadelphia Eagles.
Looking ahead to the future, New Orleans is in a good position to maintain the success they have enjoyed over the past few years. A quarterback to sit behind Drew Brees and learn should be a top priority, and there are some holes throughout the roster, but in the overall scheme of things, the Saints are pretty much set up to enjoy winning well into the future.
With that said, in order to completely guarantee continued winning, the team must fill the holes in the roster. The defense, while much improved, is still a work in progress, and Brees still needs a back up to sit and learn behind him.
One of Saint’s general manager Mickey Loomis’ specialities over the years has been getting guys in the late rounds and making them into viable NFL players. Guys like Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, and most recently, receiver Kenny Stills are all examples of guys that the Saints were able to pick up late in the draft and shape into solid producers.
The 2014 NFL Draft is a very important one for the Saints. While the team is set at most positions on the roster as it stands right now, nobody knows what could happen down the line. It’s important New Orleans nails the later rounds in this year’s draft especially, for the team’s future success could hinge upon their success in the late rounds.
5. Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell
Drew Brees isn't getting any younger, and it’s time New Orleans finds someone that can learn and eventually take over for him when the time comes. Jeff Mathews, a quarterback out of Cornell, isn't a perfect prospect by any means, he lacks truly elite level talent, and his release is a work in progress, however, he is a very smart guy that will avoid mistakes. Jeff Mathews should be a top target for New Orleans.
4. Kyle Bryant, OT, Youngstown State
During the 2013-14 season, the Saints offensive line showed something we don't see often, vulnerability. Charles Brown failed as a left tackle for the team, and while Terron Armstead has promise, he also struggled in his playing time. While Kyle Bryant certainly won’t be any better at left tackle than Armstead was last season, he is a great fit at right tackle. With Zach Strief a free agent, Bryant could have an opportunity to prove his worth right away for New Orleans.
3. Brad Daley, OLB, Montana State
Despite a much improved defense last season, the Saints still struggled at times. Brad Daley, a college defensive end, projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL, and in a league in which you can never have too many pass rushers, Daley fits the bill. Daley is a guy New Orleans should keep an eye on.
2. Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
Keenan Lewis was fantastic last season in New Orleans, however, the quality across from Lewis is suspect. Jabari Greer has slowed down considerably, and Patrick Robinson sure isn't the answer. Walt Aikens out of Liberty is a great coverage man, and despite sometimes getting sloppy as far as technique is concerned, he could end up a starter eventually.
1. Marcus Williams, Safety, North Dakota State
A true ball hawk, Marcus Williams a cornerback out of North Dakota State managed to rack up 21 career interceptions while playing at the college level. While he is listed as a cornerback, Williams is honestly much better suited for the safety position in the NFL, and with Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins both question marks, Williams could be the player that takes the Saints secondary to the next level.