The 2014 NFL draft is filled with big names all across the board at every position. And all the limelight will shine brightly on the projected first rounders, and rightfully so. Though these players will provide the plenty of flash, it’s the late round prospect that make the real difference. Look no further than last year’s Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks being led by late round gems Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman.
The New Orleans Saints are no different. Though players like Drew Brees and Cameron Jordan are lauded, it is the late round finds like Jahri Evans, Junior Galette, Pierre Thomas, and Marques Colston that have allowed the Saints to have sustained success. The Saints will be looking to reload; to help with that, here are some late round prospects to keep an eye on that could be wearing black and gold next season.
Brandon Coleman, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
With the Saints’ biggest need being wide receiver, Coleman may be an intriguing option later in the draft, even if the Saints do address the need early. Projected somewhere between rounds 5 and 7, Coleman size at 6-foot-6 is reminiscent Marques Colston, another late round find. Like Colston, Coleman can pluck jump balls effortlessly. And despite how big he is, he still possesses decent speed, running a 4.56 at the combine. And even if he doesn’t start immediately, he would be an ideal heir apparent to the aging Colston.
Aaron Lynch, Defensive End, South Florida
Lynch is projected to go somewhere in the 5th round, however, unlike most players being taken that late, he has first round athleticism.
Despite his size, he is freakishly quick running in the 4.6 range in the 40. The film shows an explosive first step.
In addition, he has the versatility to line up anywhere along the line. However, Lynch’s downfall is his inconsistent motor and technique. Scouts questions his effort and work ethic which has driven him down draft boards. Though the South Florida product’s intangibles are not where Rob Ryan wants them to be, Lynch may have too much talent for him to pass him up, especially in the 5th or 6th round. If he does become a Saint, Ryan has shown that he can get the most of whoever he coaches.
Colt Lyerla, Tight End, Oregon
Yes, the Saints have a pretty good tight end name Jimmy Graham. However, the Saints have shown in years past that they don’t mind taking the best available player even if that need isn’t as urgent.
Lyerla is possibly the second most talented tight end in the draft behind North Carolina’s Eric Ebron. His athleticism can create problems for linebackers and safeties alike, and he is a very polished route runner already. The problem with Lyerla is character. Lyerla has had multiple run-ins with the authorities including being caught doing cocaine.
The Saints have never really taken in any problem prospects like that, but they definitely have a strong enough locker room to handle Lyerla. And if he pans out, he can make the Sean Payton’s offense even more versatile with two legitimate pass catching tight ends a la New England’s Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez combination.
Bryan Stork, Center, Florida State
The Saints’ offensive line is pretty set with Zach Strief and Terron Armstead at the tackle spots and Pro Bowl guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs on the inside. However, the departure of Brian de la Puente has left a little bit of a void at center.
If history tells us anything, the Saints will be looking for their answers to the offensive line in the late rounds (e.g. Evans, Strief, Carl Nicks, etc). Stork may fit the bill of what the Saints are looking for. The former Seminole has the versatility to play center or guard. He has an NFL frame at 315 pounds and showed at Florida State that he excels at pass blocking.
However, he isn’t as fluid in his movements when puling as one would like. According to CBS sports, his NFL comparison is former Saint de la Puente. With this being the case, Stork may be a nice pick in the 7th round to come in and compete with 2nd year player Tim Lelito.