The New Orleans Saints continue to make a splash in the market of undrafted free agents. Two of their newest signings include former University of Illinois WR Steve Hull and Derrick Strozier, a cornerback/running back hybrid out of New Orleans’ own Tulane University.
During his freshman year as a safety, Hull played in eight games totaling 19 tackles (one for a loss) and a pass defended. In 2011, his sophomore year, Hull played in all 12 games accumulating 58 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble and an interception. In 2012, he was limited to only five games after suffering a shoulder injury. During those games, he racked up 17 tackles (two for a loss), a pass defended and two interceptions.
Once Hull made the switch to wide receiver in 2013, he made an immediate impact on that Fighting Illini offense. He played in all 12 games, catching 59 passes for a total of 993 yards. He turned seven of those catches into scores, including a 60-yard grab. I think switching positions may have been the right choice for Mr. Hull. He was a 2013 All-Big Ten honorable mention by coaches and media that year.
Strozier, a Florida native, comes from just down the street, where he played both cornerback and running back with the Green Wave. He was a three-year letterman at Tulane, totaling 47 tackles (one for a loss), four passes defended and two interceptions (one for a touchdown) during his collegiate career. Strozier played running back as a junior but did not see much action; he ran the ball four times for 12 yards and also caught 11 passes for 60 yards. He played on special teams throughout his career as well, returning 28 punts for 268 yards and 13 kickoffs for 258 yards. He entered his senior year in 2o13 second on the depth chart at both cornerback and punt returner.
The Saints have been quite active so far following the 2014 NFL Draft. It seems like Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis are looking for those hidden gems that they are so great at discovering. It will be interesting to see if Steve Hull and Derrick Strozier can make it at the next level, but collegiate and professional football are two different games.