By Kevin Major @KevinMajor_Rant on May 18, 2014
The New Orleans Saints drafted six players in the 2014 NFL Draft. With their six selections, the Saints added a weapon for quarterback Drew Brees and several quality defensive prospects. New Orleans hopes that their draft picks will have an immediate impact on the success of the team. Here is a look at how the Saints' draftees will fare.
The Saints traded up in the first-round to draft wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks projects as a dynamic slot receiver in the NFL. His elite speed and exceptional cutting ability will allow him to separate from defensive backs and make impact plays. Cooks can also make people miss in the open field. He should make an immediate impact for the Saints and develop into one of Drew Brees' favorite targets.
New Orleans added depth to their secondary by drafting Stanley Jean-Baptiste. At 6-foot-3, Jean-Baptiste has excellent height for a corner. He also has good ball skills after starting his college career as a wide receiver. The Saints signed Champ Bailey this offseason to start opposite Keenan Lewis, but Jean-Baptiste should still see time on defense his rookie year. He projects to be a quality starter down the road.
Khairi Fortt is an athletic linebacker with an NFL build. His coverage skills should enable him to see action in obvious passing situations. The Saints will have to be patient with Fortt as he improves his technique and gets stronger against the run. Nevertheless, he will be a solid special teams player early on and could develop into a starter in a few years.
The Saints brought in Jairus Byrd to pair with Kenny Vaccaro, giving them one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. Consequently, Vinnie Sunseri will have a hard time cracking the defensive lineup his rookie year. Like Fortt, Sunseri's impact will likely be felt on special teams early in his career. If Sunseri can recover from an ACL injury that sidelined him last season, he should make the Saints' roster.
New Orleans drafted Ronald Powell in the fifth-round to rush the passer. Powell has great natural talent and was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school. Injuries and inconsistency kept him from becoming a standout player at Florida. If Powell can develop his technique, he should be able to crack the Saints' rotation at outside linebacker and be a productive pro.
The Saints used their final selection of the 2014 NFL Draft on Tavon Rooks. Rooks played right tackle at Kansas State. He needs to get stronger and show that he can be an effective run-blocker. As a late sixth-round pick, Rooks will have to impress coaches with his versatility and work ethic in order to make the roster.
Kevin Major is a Miami Heat writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinMajor_Rant, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.
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