NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -It may have been brief, but on Saturday we got our first look at the Saints draft class in black and gold. Sure, it was against other rookies, and we were only able to witness an hour of it. But still, it was something. Here are a few thoughts on what jumped out both on the field and speaking to them after practice.
Take One: McCoy settles in
Second round pick Erik McCoy settled right in at center. No real surprise there; that’s where the Saints think his future is. It’s hard to get a gauge on an interior lineman without pads on, but we were able to speak to him afterwards. One thing that stood out were his thoughts on the Saints’ terminology. He said at A&M the terminology was simple but here it ‘is definitely not simple.’ This is something he knows he has to master before taking over such an important position.
Take Two: Gardner-Johnson looks comfortable at the nickel
Fourth round pick Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s man-coverage skills stood out. That’s why he looks like a natural at the nickel position. Of course, that was against rookie wide receivers. Still, to have that asset and the ability to drop into a deep zone shows that he can possibly be a contributor soon.
He said afterwards that he feels like nickel is his best position. He spent most of the practice there and even got an interception in a one-on-one situation.
Take Three: Hampton holds his own
Sixth round pick Saquan Hampton spent most of the viewing portion at free safety and had one of the plays of practice he caught an interception off a J.T. Barrett tipped pass. Hampton insists he can play both the free and strong safety spots. His truest path to the roster is likely special teams, but he certainly won’t hurt his chances if he keeps making plays on the ball like he did Saturday.
Take Four: Mack has a genuine appreciation for opportunity
Seventh round pick Alize’ Mack sounds like a guy that’s been humbled and truly ready for a fresh start. Sometimes that happens to players that followed Mack’s path. He had an underwhelming collegiate career at Notre Dame after being heralded as the nation’s top tight end coming out of high school. You can sense how appreciative he is of this new chapter in his football life with the Saints.
Take Five: Kaden Elliss is a swiss army knife
Starting to get very curious about the Saints other seventh rounder, Kaden Elliss. He was listed as outside linebacker when he was drafted but played the middle linebacker Saturday and looked very comfortable there. He told us that in college at Idaho he played: four linebacker spots, defensive end, cornerback, tight end, slot receiver and even three technique defensive tackle. Plus, he was an option quarterback in high school. We all know how much Sean Payton values versatility. Ellis may have done even more things on a football field than Taysom Hill.