2013 New Orleans Saints Draft: 3 Small-School Gems the Team Could Target

Jason BernosContributor IIJanuary 7, 2013

2013 New Orleans Saints Draft: 3 Small-School Gems the Team Could Target

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    The New Orleans Saints are really good at two things in the Sean Payton regime: Ticking Roger Goodell off and finding small-school, diamond-in-the-roughs. The latter usually gives the Who Dat Nation pause before they realize that this is the norm for the Black and Gold..

    They make a habit of finding guys from Towson or Hofstra and turning them into elite players in this league. 

    That's why I figured I would unearth some unknowns today, with help from BuyScouting.com, so Saints fans aren't asking "Who Dat" when April comes around. 

Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana

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    This guy is in the Saints backyard. So, I will lose my faith in this team if they don't at least bring him in for a workout, let alone draft him.

    I would say he is perfect in the third round for New Orleans, but he might not last long.

    He's got speed to burn, can return kicks and play a little offense, if need be. That's a whole lot of versatility that Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis love.

    Oh yeah, he's pretty good at that cornerback thing, as well. 

    He is a playmaker whom you don't want to make a mistake in the presence of. He will not only make you pay with an interception, but he usually brings it back to the house.

    Five interceptions returned for touchdowns this year to go with a couple punt returns.

    There's not much negative to him besides his small-school stature. He can cast doubt on that myth when he straps it up against the big boys at the Senior Bowl this month. 

J.C. Tretter, OL, Cornell

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    When you get down to the offensive lineman at this level, all you are really looking for is if he dominates against lesser competition. Think about it. If he's not, or if he takes plays off, then he's not worth a selection in the draft.

    At that point, he would be an overly talented, underappreciative brat who you would have to coach up.

    J.C. Tretter doesn't have any of those traits. He has just blown away the competition while he's been at Cornell.

    Like all of the players on this list, the only negative is the level of competition he played. Get over that and you will see a versatile lineman who played LT in college but projects as a guard or center in the NFL

    Don't discount him being used at tackle or extra blocker on rundowns because he has the versatility, being a former tight end, to do so.

Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State

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    This guy is the "Robert Alford of defensive lineman" in the small-school realm. 

    The Division II Defensive Player of the Year was constantly around the ball. Whether he was sacking the quarterback or forcing fumbles, you could always count on Brandon Williams being in on every play.

    Oh right, did I mention that he is as massive as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, but not nearly as slow. He is very nimble for his size (6'2" 330 lbs) and could be a part of the defensive tackle rotation from Day 1.

    It's not sure what Williams' ceiling is, as far as the draft goes, but I could see him going mid-to-late second round with a good showing at the Senior Bowl.