Saints again knew disappointment in 2004

Grading the draft: New Orleans Saints The New Orleans Saints once again knew disappointment in 2004. With a new offensive coordinator in town and a team as dysfunctional as it is talented, New Orleans needs a solid rookie class that will quickly contribute this season to keep from taking a step back and getting Jim Haslett fired.

Oklahoma offensive tackle Jammal Brown was clearly targeted by the Saints organization. Trading up over Carolina to select him, the Saints appear poised to focus more on running the ball with Deuce McAlister. Brown should start immediately and hold down the right tackle position for years to come. Nebraska safety Josh Bullocks is a natural center fielder who immediately improves the Saints horrific secondary. Bullocks, who is also tough against the run, should have no problem winning the starting free safety job quickly in camp. Connecticut linebacker Alfred Fincher adds depth to the Saints middle linebacker spot. California receiver Chase Lyman is a talented receiver who is injury prone. Productive when healthy, Lyman will now miss the '05 season with yet another injury after tearing and ACL in his left knee during his first pro-workout. Former FSU quarterback Adrian McPherson could be the team's best pick of the draft. After being dismissed from the Florida State program McPherson became an NFL afterthought. Then after putting up great numbers in the Arena League last season he flew back onto the league radar. Talent has never been McPherson's problem and should he adequately mature he could be the Saints quarterback of the future. Wisconsin defensive tackle Jason Jefferson is a high energy player that can be effective playing next to a big bodied defensive tackle. Should Jon Sullivan ever learn to control his weight and return to the form he showed as a collegiate the two could provide the Saints with an outstanding tandem for years. Arizona State defensive end Jimmy Verdon could see time in the team's rotation as a rookie.

The Saints instantly improved their offensive line and safety position with their first two selections. The addition of solid value choices like Jason Jefferson and Adrian McPherson in the second day of the draft only enhances this overall grade.

RD Pick Player Pos School
1 13(13) Jammal Brown OT Oklahoma
2 8(40) Josh Bullocks S Nebraska
3 18(82) Alfred Fincher MLB Connecticut
4 17(118) Chase Lyman WR California
5 16(152) Adrian McPherson QB Florida State
6 19(193) Jason Jefferson DT Wisconsin
7 18(232) Jimmy Verdon DE Arizona State

UDFA Signings: LS L.P. Ladouceur; OG Ike Ndukwe, OG Nick Steitz, WR Scott Beveridge, WR Tramissian Davis, WR Keron Henry, CB Matt Clark, CB Dwight Ellick, FB Keith Joseph, LB Russel Rabe

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