New Orleans Saints 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterApril 26, 2012

New Orleans Saints 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    The 2012 NFL draft starts on Thursday, April 26 and goes for three days, ending on Saturday, April 28.

    We'll keep up with all of the New Orleans draft action with this Saints draft tracker. Be sure to check back here frequently for each of the Saints' scheduled five picks throughout the weekend.

    We’ll update you with information about the pick, analysis of the selection, effects on the team and depth chart and keep you up to speed on any breaking news from the war room.

Overview of the Saints' 2012 NFL Draft

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    The Saints have made five picks and, barring a trade, have no more in the 2012 NFL Draft.

    2011 Record: 13-3

    Team Needs: CB, WR, LB, DL


    Round 3 (89): Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina

    Round 4 (122): Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

    Round 5 (162): Corey White, S, Samford

    Round 6 (179): Andrew Tiller, G, Syracuse

    Round 7 (234): Marcel Jones, T, Nebraska

Round 3, Pick 89: Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina

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    With their first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected defensive tackle Akiem Hicks form the University of Regina.

    The Saints had to wait until pick No. 89, but got the help on the defensive line they needed.

    Scouting Report

    Because Hicks played college football in Canada, his stock isn't nearly as high as if he had played in the states. He has great physical ability and is a massive lineman. He's a raw talent, but incredibly strong.

    Looks the part of a standout defensive lineman at nearly 6-5, 325 pounds. Possesses a long set of arms (35 1/8) and a thick lower half. Showcases impressive initial burst off the snap for his size and has the power on his bull rush and the length to routinely gain leverage and simply overwhelm. He also exhibits "plus" short area quickness for a guy his size.

    He does get upright at times and will stall out when an opposing lineman is able to get under his frame. Doesn't do a great job using his length to shed through contact, will pop upright and is still figuring the game out. Has a tendency to get straight-legged when trying to shed and doesn't have a real significant pass rushing arsenal. 


    Hicks is going to have to be coached up, but new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo could work wonders on him. He's the type of interior lineman that Spagnuolo loves.

    He has the skill set to not only make an NFL roster, but also mature into a solid contributor with some experience in either a 34 or 43 front.

    Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 122: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

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    With their fourth-round selection, the 122nd-overall, the New Orleans Saints picked wide receiver Nick Toon from Wisconsin. Nick is the son of former All-Pro receiver Al Toon.

    Scouting Report

    Toon is a possession receiver with great size and tons of athleticism. His ability to make circus catches made him the apple of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson's eye, and his excellent hands will make him popular to quarterback Drew Brees at the next level.

    From National Football Post:

    His combination of power and short area quickness allows him to create somewhat for himself after the catch. Isn't a burner who can outrun angles and consistently make plays vertically behind corners. But secures the catch well, drops his pad level and can break tackles through contact. Isn't a real gifted vertical threat, but does have some jump ball ability. Is balanced, can be physical and will go up and make a play on the ball at its highest point. Hasn't been overly productive however, which has a lot to do with the offense and in a different scheme his numbers could be vastly different.


    The Saints lost Robert Meachem to free agency and Toon can instantly step in and take some of those passes Meachem caught. He's talented and has upside, but injury issues are concerning.

    I like his size, short area quickness and ability to adjust to the football. Isn't a guy who is going to create consistently down the field, but knows how to gain enough separation, pluck and create after the catch. Looks like a guy who can play on the outside as a legit number two wide out running the inward breaking routes with some time, but isn't ever going to be a dynamic playmaker.

    Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 162: Corey White, S, Samford

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    New Orleans selected strong safety Corey White from Samford with its fifth-round pick, No. 162 overall.

    Scouting Report

    White has good size and speed, which he will need to work against the tight ends in the NFC South. He's a big-time tackler who is tough and plays through the whistle.

    Big, baby-faced, confident, competitive FCS cornerback lacking the speed, quickness and change of direction to stay attached to NFL receivers in man coverage. Best chance to make a roster could be as a strong safety and will have to prove his worth on special teams. Versatility can intrigue. Practice-squad candidate.


    Even at Samford, White wasn't a dominant force and will have to bide his time on special teams while he improves his coverage skills in the NFL.

    Grade: C-

Round 6, Pick 179: Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse

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    With their sixth-round pick, No. 179 overall, the New Orleans Saints selected offensive guard Andrew Tiller from Syracuse. The Saints needed depth on the offensive line, which Tiller provides.

    Scouting Report

    Even though Tiller plays very upright in pass protection, his huge size allows him to be a very competent run blocker. He plays extremely hard and doesn't take plays off.


    The Saints have their depth chart set at guard, but Tiller can provide depth and be a good scout player until he's ready to take over. he has the upside to be an NFL starter.

    Grade: B

Round 7, Pick 234: Marcel Jones, T, Nebraska

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    The final pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints was Nebraska tackle Marcel Jones at the 234th-overall pick in the draft.

    Scouting Report

    Jones has long arms (34 inches) and at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, very good size. He has good footwork and athleticism, but is raw with pass protection techniques.

    From Pro Football Weekly:

    A giant, relatively inexperienced protector with intriguing athletic ability and flexibility, Jones has starter-caliber tools and developmental potential for an effective position coach to mold. Can appeal to teams such as the Cowboys and Cardinals if he checks out medically.


    With the upside Jones possesses, he'll make the team and be groomed for a while to see if his raw athleticism can be nurtured into a starting role.

    Grade: A

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