2012 New Orleans Saints Draft: Undrafted Player Signings and Analysis

Jason BernosContributor IIApril 30, 2012

2012 New Orleans Saints Draft: Undrafted Player Signings and Analysis

0 of 19

    With the New Orleans Saints five-player draft in the books, they look to aim at finding the next gem in the current regime's successful findings of undrafted talent. They managed to add 21 players after the draft through undrafted free agency.

    This group of prospects has a local feel to it, also. A few players are from the New Orleans metro area, including Jerico Nelson, who led his Destrehan (La.) High School to the 5A state title as a senior.

    Since 2006, the Saints have hit on undrafted players such as Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Jonathan Casillas. Just as recently as last year, New Orleans added one player to the active roster, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and a player who had a big preseason shortened by injury, Joe Morgan.

    Morgan, who had two touchdowns in the only two games he played, is expected to compete for a roster spot this year in a thin area of depth on the team.

    Let's take a look at who the Saints picked up and their chances at making the roster. 

Laron Scott, CB/KR, Georgia Southern

1 of 19

    Measurables: 5'8", 183 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.42

    2011 Stats: 53 tackles, 3 interceptions, 18 pass breakups, 1,040 kick return yards, 31 yard KR average and 2 touchdowns


    Laron Scott was one of the most explosive kick returners at any level of college football last year. He's also no slouch at cornerback, but Scott will make his money in the NFL in the return game. He's pocket sized at 5'8", but he's also a burner who plays even faster than his 4.42 time in the 40 suggests.

    He could team up with last year's undrafted phenom in the return game, Joe Morgan, and help keep Darren Sproles' legs fresher towards the end of the season. A fresher Sproles could mean an even bigger year for him in the offense, especially with the receiver position being as thin as it is.


    Prediction: Scott makes the roster as a special teams gunner and return specialist. 

Braylon Broughton, DE, TCU

2 of 19

    Measurables: 6'4", 257 lbs. 

    40-Yard Dash: 4.56

    Wingspan: 80.5 in.

    2011 Stats: 25 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks


    Braylon Broughton is a very intriguing prospect. He never played football before his junior year in high school, preferring basketball instead. Despite originally signing with the University of Arizona, his enrollment was not allowed by the NCAA.

    In the year after high school, he didn't attend school or play football, opting instead to stay home and support his family. After his mother succumbed to cancer, he decided to attend TCU and play football.

    He has slowly improved each year under Gary Patterson, but he is still raw. All of the freakish athletic talent Steve Spagnuolo could want is there, though. His lack of experience is what hurt his draft stock, but there is plenty of untapped potential waiting to break out.


    Prediction: Broughton is brought along slowly on the practice squad, if he clears waivers.

Johnny Thomas, S, Oklahoma St.

3 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 204 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.58

    2010 Stats*: 63 tackles, 5 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown

    *Ruled academically ineligible for 2011


    Johnny Thomas was poised for a breakout year as a senior following a very solid junior campaign, but before the 2011 season he was deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA. Despite missing last season, Thomas showed up to the combine in great shape, including bench-pressing 225 lbs. twenty times.

    He's a very aggressive player who will be tried out on special teams immediately and could see time as a "gunner" if he keeps his head on straight. His defensive game will need to be coached up a little bit. He's been known to not be a very coachable player, but maybe a year away from football will change that.


    Prediction: If he doesn't get too big-headed, he could find his way on to the practice squad with a chance to develop his skills. Special teams might be more of his forte. 

Travaris Cadet, RB/WR/KR/PR, Appalachian St.

4 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 205 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.67

    2011 Stats: 651 rush. yards, 333 rec. yards, 719 ret. yards, 7 total touchdowns


    Travaris Cadet has been described as a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none. He backed up former App. St. QB and Carolina's '10 third-round selection Armanti Edwards during the 2009 season.

    His versatility and great work ethic will have to carry him in the league until his weaknesses are coached up. He has durability issues and can't seem to hold on to the ball consistently. 

    He seems like too much of a project with traits that don't really transfer to the NFL game. Could be nothing more than a "camp body."


    Prediction: Cut during training camp.

Aderious Simmons, OT, Arizona St.

5 of 19

    Measurables: 6'6", 315 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 5.40

    Bench Press: 26

    Wingspan: 85"


    Aderious Simmons is a local product from Marrero, Louisiana, but he never played football at John Ehret High School. He wound up driving down to Miami and walking on to a junior college. He would wind up going through three more J.C.s before landing at Arizona St.

    He is still a work in progress but has been steadily improving on his already natural athletic ability. He is going to be coached up a lot, and the Saints have a great one in Aaron Kromer. He also has durability issues. 


    Prediction: Definite candidate for the practice squad. 

Jerico Nelson, S, Arkansas

6 of 19

    Measurables: 5'9", 203 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.56

    2011 Stats: 70 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions


    The Destrehan, Louisiana, native has had a very productive career at Arkansas. His knock is that he has no position. He's too small to play OLB, and his coverage skills are terrible, but he's great vs. the run. He was brought in for a pre-draft visit with the coaching staff.

    Could be brought in primarily for special teams. Looks like a backup at best.


    Prediction: With a good camp, Nelson could stick, given that Roman Harper could be facing a lengthy suspension.

Jose Gumbs, S, Monmouth

7 of 19

    Measurables: 5'10", 210 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.48

    2011 Stats: 75 tackles, 9 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 3 blocked kicks


    Gumbs was a third-team All-American in his senior season out of Monmouth. He is a gifted athlete who tore up the NEC and could be the next small-school gem in Mickey Loomis tenure.

    He blew up at his pro day, and his numbers would have been in the top five of strong safeties at the combine, had he been invited. He is the kind of developmental prospect who could excel on special teams while adjusting to the NFL on defense.


    Prediction: Gumbs makes team and adds speed and depth to an area that desperately needs both. 

Tyrunn Walker, DT/DE, Tulsa

8 of 19

    Measurables: 6'3", 298 lbs. 

    40-Yard Dash: 4.91

    2011 Stats: 37 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks


    Tyrunn Walker was a first-team Conference USA selection in 2011. He is a very versatile player who can play defensive tackle or end but could be best utilized as a 3-technique in Spagnuolo's defense. He has a surprising burst for a player his size but lacks quick, lateral movement.


    Prediction: Battles Tom Johnson and Mitch King for a rotational spot on the defensive line.

Kadarron Anderson, ILB, Furman

9 of 19

    Measurables: 6'0", 239 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.87

    2011 Stats: 111 tackles


    This South Carolina native is the cousin of current Houston Texan Jonathan Joesph. This ultra-productive, small-school talent had 372 tackles, including 21 for loss, in his three years at Furman. He reminds me of Marvin Mitchell, an ex-Saint, who could become a nice asset on special teams. 


    Prediction: Anderson starts the year on the practice squad but works his way on to the active roster.  

Brian Folkerts, OL, Washburn

10 of 19

    Measurables: 6'4", 302 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 5.21

    Bench Press: 35


    Folkerts is a Division II second-team All- American out of Washburn. He is a very versatile, small-school lineman who played left tackle in college. He projects best to right tackle in the NFL, though. He dominated on a lower level, and it's just a matter of if he can transition his game to the pros.


    Prediction: Folkerts has great work ethic that's going to make him a tough cut, but I don't think he's quite ready yet. Practice squad candidate. 

Jake Byrne, TE, Wisconsin

11 of 19

    Measurables: 6'4" 258 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.85

    2011 Stats: 1 catch, 14 yards


    Jake Byrne is your prototypical, blocking tight end. He knows he's crafty and excels, but he is a liability in the passing game. Has experience in special teams. Looks more like a third tight end that can be used as an extra blocking back in short-yardage situations. 


    Prediction: Looks like a camp body to me. Team needs another receiving threat at tight end, not a blocking one.

A.J. Davis, CB, Jacksonville St.

12 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 184 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.44

    2011 Stats: N/A


    Experienced and aggressive cornerback who excels in zone, but lacks downfield awareness. He isn't afraid to tackle, either. Adequate ball skills.

    Fast athlete whose only way onto this team could be through special teams, even with the lack of depth at cornerback. Still needs time to develop.


    Prediction: Practice squad player.

Stephen Johnson, LB, Temple

13 of 19

    Measurables: 6'1", 234 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.94

    2011 Stats: 123 tackles


    Johnson's low 40 number is what probably kept him out of the draft, but he is as productive as they come out of the MAC. He is a classic overachiever, and his work ethic and character are very solid. He excelled on special teams his first three years at Temple. Could be an intriguing developmental prospect.


    Prediction: Won't win any races, but his short area quickness and smarts will make him a tough out in training camp.

Aaron Tevis, LB, Boise St.

14 of 19

    Measurables: 6'3", 239 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.73

    2011 Stats: 46 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception


    Tevis is the only pure outside linebacker that the Saints brought in on draft weekend. He is a very athletic, weak-side linebacker who is coming to a team that has stocked up on that particular position in free agency. Hopefully, he gets a fair shake in offseason workouts. 


    Prediction: Probably too crowded at that position to make this team.

Chris Givens, WR, Miami (OH)

15 of 19

    Measurables: 6'2", 209 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.62

    2011 Stats: 60 catches, 695 yards, 5 touchdowns


    Givens had average production at Miami of Ohio but has durability issues, including a concussion in 2011. He has NFL size but lacks the speed to be dynamic enough to separate from corners in the league. 


    Prediction: Training-camp cut.

Kevin Hardy, WR, Citadel

16 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 184 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.42

    2011 Stats: 716 all-purpose yards


    Possesses great straight-line speed but is very raw when it comes to his route running and his hands. Didn't handle the step up in competition at the East-West Shrine game well. Wonder how he will acclimate to the pro game. Has punt return experience.


    Prediction: Training-camp cut.

Justin Aldredge, H-Back/TE , Northwestern St.

17 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 232 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.62

    2011 Stats: 39 catches, 514 yards, 2 touchdowns


    Aldredge is an undersized tight end/H-Back in the mold of Jim Kleinsasser, who recently retired. He has great hands and athleticism for the position.

    Will be used as a fullback primarily in the NFL, but he could be an intriguing prospect as a wingback catching balls out of the backfield.

    *Update: Northwestern St.'s website has confirmed Aldredge signing with the New Orleans, but nothing official has come from Saints HQ, yet. 

    Prediction: Makes practice squad.  

Dan Hoch, OL, Missouri

18 of 19

    Measurables: 6'6", 320 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 5.25

    Bench Press: 21


    He has the quickness and athleticism to be a very solid utility tackle in the NFL, especially on the right side. He has to be coached up a bit but could pay off huge in the long run. He's a long-term project.


    Prediction: Practice squad candidate

Malcolm Beyah, WR, Mid. Tenn. St.

19 of 19

    Measurables: 5'11", 200 lbs.

    40-Yard Dash: 4.48

    2011 Stats: 45 catches, 495 yards, 6 touchdowns 


    Beyah has track star type of speed, but like many undrafted free agents, he is very raw in other aspects of his game. He has no experience on special teams.

    It will be hard for him to find a spot on this team. Also was arrested in late March for domestic assault, which hurt his draft stock.


    Prediction: Training-camp cut.