After a little struggle on the offensive line last year, it was assumed that the New Orleans Saints would target a tackle during the offseason for some added depth. Well, they did just that by selecting Tavon Rooks in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
A product of Kansas State, Rooks played at Navarro Junior College (national champions in 2011) for two years before making the switch over to the Big 12 school. In 2012 with the Wildcats, he started in 10 games and earned himself honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. He went on to start all 13 games in 2013 and helped block the team’s way to a victory in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan.
Rooks brings great arm length and height, but he needs to spend more time in the weight room to get stronger. He has shown consistent pass protection against defensive linemen, but needs to work on improving his blocking against the quicker, more explosive linebackers.
The Saints are good-to-go at right tackle after reaching a new five-year deal with Zach Strief. Rooks looks to battle it out with Bryce Harris for the role as backup to left tackle Terron Armstead. Armstead stepped onto the scene as a rookie towards the end of the season last year when Sean Payton benched Charles Brown for poor play. As of right now, Armstead has the left side on lock down, but it is a vulnerable position.
Training camp is the time to win over the coaches, so a strong performance will be crucial for Rooks’ future in New Orleans. It will be interesting to see what the Black and Gold have planned for the young talent, but some developing will be required before he can even be considered as a candidate for the starting job.