SCOUTING REPORTS: Defense

The recent free agent additions of CB Dale Carter and DT Grady Jackson have given the Saints some flexibility with their two first round picks. They will likely address the DE position early, as well as an OLB, FS, DT, and CB position sometime in the draft. Below is a look at 15 players on defense the Saints are VERY high on along with a brief report on each.

1. Napoleon Harris-OLB/DE-Northwestern: 6027, 253-pounds, 4.51/40, 34" Vertical---A dominating performer at OLB and DE. Clearly the best overall LB prospect and could find his way into the top 10 in April. Shows great athletic ability for position and would certainly be a starter from day one. Is a fierce hitter and can be phycially intimidating to opponents. Able to cover TE's and RB's . Shows great pass rus skills and is able to close on QB with a great burst. A BIG TIME player and future All-Pro.

2. Ryan Sims-DT-North Carolina: 6041, 311-pounds, 5.04/40, 32" Vertical---Very strong player(27 reps of 225) and shows the quickness and explosiveness off the ball teams covet in a DT. Wins the battle of leverage and has great balance. Plays on his feet and is able to collapse the pocket with his strength and speed. Uses hands well and plays the run very well. Good in pursuit and shows good burst when closing. Solid all-around DT who has really developed into a top DT.

3. Albert Haynesworth-DT-Tennessee: 6055, 320-pounds, 4.91/40, 31" Vertical---Very athletic DT prospect who ran a 4.82/40 at UT's pro day. Needs to develop in his upper body(17 reps of 225), but has the upside teams look for. Shows excellent explosion off the ball and collapses pocket at will at times. Can be a dominating force in the middle of a defense with his bull rush and ability to play the run. Uses his hands well and shows good balance. Shows a good burst in closing and is able to move well down field. Has All-Pro potential.

4. John Henderson-DT-Tennessee: 6070, 309-pounds, 5.00/40, 29" Vertical---Potentially could be the most dominate player at any position in this draft, but has seen his draft stock plummet in the past few months. Questions about his back and his ankle are still left unanswered. Would have been a top 5 pick in the 2001 draft, but elected to return to UT. A very strong, physical player, who has the agility to angle and stunt. Good quickness off the ball and plays the run very well. Has the ability to collapse the pocket and cause opposing QB's to fear him. Good hands and understands the position, but must stay healthy and be consistent.

5. Kalimba Edwards-DE-South Carolina: 6053, 265-pounds, 4.55/40, 35" Vertical---Suffered a severly sprained MCL during his senior year. Was medically cleared and could hear his name very early on draft day. Unlimited potential who has the understanding, athletic ability, pass rush skills, and hand usage to become a special player. Very intelligent person on and off the field. Very explosive when closing in on the QB and has the speed and strength to get around the corner and make a play. Plays the run very well, but struggles when asked to play OLB. Looked out of place at OLB. A true DE prospect.

6. Bryan Thomas-DE-Alabama-Birmingham: 6043, 265-pounds, 4.48/40, 34 ½" Vertical---One of the most explosive DE's in college football over the past two years. Stock has surely climbed over the past two months and has elevated himself to being a potential high pick. A very strong player(33 reps of 225) who uses his hands well and is able to rush the passer and play the run. A complete DE who has been overlooked, but could end up being the best DE of this class. Great quickness off the ball and shows explosive closing speed. Has the ability to finish once he turns the corner. All-Pro talent.

7. Eddie Freeman-DT-Alabama-Birmingham: 6051, 310-pounds, 4.91/40, 34 ½" Vertical---Tremendously strong player(32 reps of 225) who has really made moves up draft boards. Had an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl and has continued to gain momentum. Shows good flexibility for a big man and shows excellent quickness and explosion off the ball. Needs to add some more rush moves, but is a very solid rush defender. Plays run well and closes on the ball with a good burst. Stays on his feet and wins the leverage battle. Needs to develop more physically, but ha a great amount of football intelligence.

8. Anthony Weaver-DT-Notre Dame: 6034, 296-pounds, 4.96/40, 32 ½" Vertical---Intelligent player and person who is versatile enough to play some DE. Plays run very well and has great interior quickness. Shows good quickness off the ball and is very strong at the POA(point of attack). Needs to work some on his upper body strength, but has enough strength to hold his own. Has good pass rush moves and uses hands very well. Understands position better than any other player in draft. Very savvy player. Not flashy, but very consistent.

9. Charles Grant-DE-Georgia: 6030, 278-pounds, 4.64/40, 34" Vertical---Leaves UGA after his junior year. At times, was able to dominate opposition. Biggest knock on Grant is his consistency. Had one game wher he had FIVE sacks, but in other games, he was non-factor. A very strong player who has a very quick first step. Able to come around corner and close. Able to hold ground against LT or TE against the run. Very rarely out of position, but does have a tendancy to over pursue. Uses hands well and has the upside teams want. Could step in and start right away if we lose Joe Johnson in free agency.

10. Mike Rumph-CB-Miami(Fl): 6020, 202-pounds, 4.54/40, 36 ½" Vertical---Steady man/man cover corner. Fundamentally sound and has good size and strength for the position. Not the fastest corner, but is able to eliminate his man on a consistent basis. Good tackler and is able to force the run. Has great instincts and concentration, but lacks the top recovery speed. Displays good ball skills and good hands. May be able to move to FS.

11. Dennis Johnson-DE-Kentucky: 6045, 258-pounds, 4.82/40, 35 ½" Vertical---Tremendous talent who has not come close to reaching his full potential. Very good pass rushing skills, but doesn't use his hands well. Needs some good coaching in order to really elevate his play. Led the SEC in sacks in 2001 and has finally started to show the flashes of his future potential. Was considered late first round pick prior to the combine, but didn't perform well and may fall right into the Saints' lap. Could develop into a Pro Bowl player.

12. Dante Wesley-CB/FS-Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 6006, 211, 4.43/40, 35" Vertical---Versatile player who has been overlooked all year. A player who I have had rated in the top 10 at CB since August and who has blossomed as a top 5 CB for April's draft. A very strong CB(15 reps of 225) who can play press coverage and has the speed to run stride for stride with any receiver. Has the size of the "new wave" CB. A transfer from Arkansas where he started his career as a WR. Has only played CB for two years, so his upside is tremendous. Has the natural instincts to become a Pro Bowl player at either CB or FS.

13. Joseph Jefferson-CB-Western Kentucky: 5114, 205-pounds, 4.41/40, 39 ½" Vertical---Another top 5 CB prospect from a small school who I have been high on since August. A very sleek and graceful player who looks like a natural for the position. Ability to play press is big and has the speed to run stride for stride with any receiver. Good tackler who isn't afraid to hit. Shows a quick burst when closing and has good ball skills. Could develop into a top CB. Pro Bowl potential.

14. Dorsett Davis-DT-Mississippi State: 6052, 304-pounds, 5.04/40, 31" Vertical---Strong player at the POA, but hasn't lived up to his potential. Considered this year's version of Marcus Stroud. Has unlimited ability, but isn't the hardest worker. A player who needs a fire lit under his rear for him to go balls out. Shows good quickness of the ball and is able to really dominate the LOS(line of scrimmage) at times. Isn't consistent and isn't the brightest player, but is LOADED with potential. This would be a pick based off of upside only. Could develop into a Pro Bowler or could be out of the league within 4-5 years.

15. Marques Anderson-CB/FS/SS-UCLA: 5110, 213-pounds, 4.52/40, 39 ½" Vertical---Very versatile player who can play every position in the secondary. Started career at CB, moved to SS, and played FS as a senior. Holds great value here and would fill TWO needs with one pick for the Saints. Hard hitter who has great leaping ability and ball skills. Very smart player on and off the field. Good leadership qualities and a player who can really make everyone in the secondary better. I love this player and IF available, in the 3rd round, I would surely pick him up in a second.


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