Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
Lynch is a gifted athlete who could develop nicely in the Saints' system.
Every draft has its share of “projects.” These prospects are often superior athletes, who, for varying reasons, haven’t quite developed the skills necessary to be deemed worthy of first-round status. Some go on to achieve their full potential with the aid of proper coaching, while others fade into obscurity.
Some raw but athletically gifted draft picks that have worked out well for the Saints recently include tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive end Akiem Hicks.
One such player that could be worth the gamble for New Orleans this year is Aaron Lynch.
The 6’6” South Florida product started out at Notre Dame before transferring after his freshman season. He only played one season for the Bulls before opting to try his hand at the next level, and he doesn’t have a lot of game film to his credit. What he does have is a tremendous first step off the edge as a pass-rusher.
At 260 pounds, Lynch would likely play outside linebacker in Ryan’s 3-4 scheme. He’s a strong prospect with a huge upside, and he won’t likely reach his full potential for a couple of seasons.
Lynch’s biggest drawback is his tendency to take plays off. He had stretches where he seemed to disappear, which is far from a desired trait in a draft pick.
If the timing is right, however, the Saints could pull the trigger on Lynch and thus add an explosive pass-rusher to the roster.
Late-round draft picks can often make the difference between a solid NFL team and a Super Bowl team.
On the Saints' current roster, prolific wide receiver Marques Colston was a seventh-round pick in 2006. Just last year, fifth-round wideout selection Kenny Stills enjoyed a productive rookie season.
Evaluating college talent isn’t an exact science, and every NFL team will experience both hits and misses in the war room, especially in the later rounds. The seven prospects discussed above all bring intriguing attributes to the table, and one or more of them could be high on the New Orleans Saints’ radar as potential late-round sleepers.