CHICAGO (WVUE) -
With the 44th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Saints select Hau'oli Kikaha, Outside Linebacker from Washington.
Kikaha, measuring in at 6'2" 253 lbs., earned first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014. Kikiaha totaled 32 sacks, 40 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles in his time at Washington. He tore his ACL twice in his college career, in 2011 and 2012, but started all 27 games he played in since.
He joins Junior Gallette, Parys Haralson, Ronald Powell and Kasim Edebali on the Saints rosters of OLB's.
After putting up 19 sacks in the 2014 season, he is expected to make an immediate impact on the Saints defense that ranked 31st in yards-allowed-per-game (384) and 26th in points-allowed-per-game (26.5)
Kikaha never made an official visit to the Saints, but he said the organization made an impact the few times they did meet. "When I went into the Saints interview room, it was normal talking and laughter, and pure joyfulness," Kikaha said. "That's how I feel we should approach these things when we are talking about football, at least in that arena, not necessarily all the time though. They were just really good guys, they came off as great people that I would want to be around, and just a really fun group.”
Kikaha also has a background in Judo, which he believes will help him compete in the NFL. “The core fundamentals of those sports are based on balance, power and angles, and not to mention hand-fighting with judo and wrestling as well," Kikaha said. "All of those things go into what a pass rusher does, and practicing for over eight years has helped me develop all of those fundamentals that we translate on the football field.”