In light of the news that Stanley Arnoux is likely to miss the entire 2009 campaign, it seems relevant to write about another rookie outside linebacker the Saints picked up, in Jonathan Casillas.
It is somewhat interesting, since I was going to write about him today anyway. But certainly the bad news on Arnoux only made this even more pressing. I found the two to be similar players, and Casillas was probably even more productive at the college level.
The main reason he was not drafted is that he had an injury at the end of the season which did not allow him to take part in workouts or the all-star games.
Without further ado, here is the scouting report on a new Saint, Jonathan Casillas:
Grade: 5.8 (Fifth Round)
Athletic Ability 6.0 Initial Quickness 6.0
Play Strength 6.0 Competes 6.5
Play Speed 6.0 Instincts 6.5
Jonathan is always around the football. He is a good solid tackler, who form tackles and gets the ball carrier down. He plays w/ tremendous passion and flies all over the field. He reads plays wells, which helps him to make plays all over the field.
Despite not being strong or using his hands well, he manages to shed blockers and make plays at an elite level.
Jonathan is not very quick, and is a stiff athlete who lacks flexibility. He would struggle in coverage (man or zone) in the NFL. He is not a three down player. He is not very strong, which means he can get pushed around and could struggle to get off blocks at the next level.
He lacks the explosion necessary to be an effective pass rusher. His size also could make it difficult for him to make it at the next level.
Despite his lack of size or optimum athleticism, Jonathan is one heck of a football player. He always finds ways to be around the football. Because of this, he could easily excel on Special Teams at the NFL level. He has a non-stop motor and could be one of those guys who sticks just because you can’t afford to not have him on your team.
Casillas would have had a fair chance of making the roster even without Arnoux's injury, but there is no doubt, this only helps his case. In a sense, Casillas assumes Arnoux's role as a special teams player who should be able to develop into a rotation player later in the season.
As for Arnoux, hopefully he can recover to full strength and be ready to go by next year's Mini Camps, while assimilating to the NFL game in the mental aspects. If he can do that, he still has a chance to become a good NFL linebacker. We'll see how that works out. Hopefully, it happens that way.
Until next time, Geaux Saints!