The New Orleans Saints were represented in full force this week in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. The team brass was undoubtedly scouring the 40-yard dash times, bench press reps and myriad of other drills draft prospects undertaken this week.
Most importantly the team interviewed several prospects in hopes of learning the deepest and darkest secrets of the team's potential future stars.
Who stood out? Who disappointed? And which guys made their case for being drafted by the New Orleans Saints?
With their incredible performances at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, LSU DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo and Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan upped their stock to the point that neither will be available when the Saints' first pick (No. 15) comes up in April's draft.
The Saints will instead aim to select a player at a different position in the first round. With their third-round pick, the team will try to address its desperate need for a 3-4 outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback for four quarters.
Southern Mississippi rush end Jamie Collins just may fit the bill. His combine workout included an official 40-yard dash time of 4.68 seconds, 41.5 inch vertical jump, 139 inch broad jump and 7.1 seconds in the three-cone drill.
Collins' film is not quite as impressive. It shows a raw yet talented playmaker. Of course, that is the sort of player teams expect to find in the third round of the NFL draft.
After releasing veteran tight end David Thomas last week, the Saints headed to Indianapolis assuredly hoping to find a young tight end to groom behind superstar Jimmy Graham.
This weekend many youngsters auditioned for a spot in one of the NFL's friendliest tight end offenses. One young man shined especially bright. His name is Dion Sims, a redshirt junior from Michigan State.
Despite carrying 262 pounds--down from the 285 he played with during the regular season--Sims ran an impressive 4.75 40-yard dash. Equally impressive were the 22 reps on the bench press and the 35-inch vertical leap.
The other figures weren't spectacular, but they weren't devastating to his draft stock either. All in all, Sims proved to be a wonderful athlete for his size and the tight end position in general. If he can improve his functional strength and balance on the field, he can become a nice NFL tight end.
It's not everyday a team can almost lock in their fifth-round pick in February. In fact, with Terron Armstead's outstanding Combine workout it is possible the Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive tackle might climb up draft boards.
He certainly raised scouts' eyebrows when he officially clocked a 4.71 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Luckily for him, he also wowed with a 34.5 inch vertical jump and 112 inch broad jump. For a 6'5", 309-pound left tackle, Armstead exhibited rare athleticism at the Combine.
His 31 bench press reps showed he has more than enough strength to play at the NFL level. His film shows he is plenty strong and agile. He is the perfect fit for the left tackle spot in Sean Payton's offense, with his ability to effectively move in space and make blocks down the field.
In pass protection he also does a wonderful job of making contact with the defender and quickly releasing his hands while continuing to move his feet. That is something every scout looks for in a tackle prospect.
The Saints might leave Indianapolis a little disappointed Armstead climbed up draft boards. But at least it can be rest assured they will get a great offensive tackle prospect if they are able to secure his services.
Devery Henderson almost certainly will not be re-signed by the Saints this offseason. That leaves a gap in the Saints offense. Two seasons ago, Henderson and Robert Meachem combined to make up the best deep-threat duo in the NFL.
In 2013 neither will be around. Joseph Morgan will be expected to pick up much of the slack in that area. But the Saints would be wise to look for another player more similar to Henderson (Morgan is eerily reminiscent to Meachem).
Insert Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin as that potential player. Goodwin was more noted for his track and field accomplishments while in Austin. No wonder he neared a Combine record with an official 4.27 40-yard dash.
He also managed 132 inches in the broad jump. Interestingly, Goodwin was not the best of all players at the Combine with that measure. But Goodwin also realized he didn't have to wow scouts too much after his amazing 40.
His playing speed nearly matches that of his abilities in shorts. In other words, Goodwin could be a surprise target for Mickey Loomis and Co. in April's draft.
Between Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams and Mississippi State defensive tackle Josh Boyd, the Saints appear to have an option in the draft to bring in as the future nose tackle of the future.
Brandon Williams led the entire Combine by putting up 38 reps in the bench press. Boyd wasn't too shabby either. The senior put up 225 pounds an impressive 32 times in Indianapolis.
Neither wowed with their 40 times—both were over 5.0 seconds—or any of the other tests they participated in. That's okay, though, as nose tackles are mostly asked to use strength to hold the point of attack and take up space.
Additionally, both have showed on film that they are capable of moving side-to-side adequately enough to warrant starting consideration in the immediate future at the NFL level. Williams figures to be available at least until the third round, and Boyd could be available as late as the sixth round. Depending what Mickey Loomis decides to do in the first round, these two could be had later in the draft, at a position of obvious need.
All Combine measurables courtesy of nfl.com.