Saintsinsider.com: Saints scouting defense

The New Orleans Saints were among several teams scouting the BYU-TCU game in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday. Scout.com has found out which players the Saints were interested in. Find out who and which players stood out in this exclusive article.

Scout.com has learned that New Orleans Saints scout Josh Lucas was at the BYU-TCU game on Thursday night assessing talent for the 2009 NFL Draft. Scout.com sources have also acquired a list of who Lucas and other pro scouts were looking at that night. Here is that list:

BYU

MLB, Matt Bauman, Junior

OLB, David Nixon, Senior

OLB, Coleby Clawson, Junior

DE, Jan Jorgensen, Junior

DE, Ian Dulan, Junior

DT, Russ Tialavea, Junior

QB, Max Hall, Junior

RB, Harvey Unga, Redshirt Sophomore

FB, Fui Vakapuna, Senior

WR, Austin Collie, Junior

TE, Dennis Pitta, Junior

OG, Travis Bright, Senior

OG, Ray Feinga, Senior

C, Dallas Reynolds, Senior

TCU

MLB, Jason Phillips, Senior

OLB, Daryl Washington, Junior

MLB, Robert Henson, Senior

DE, Jerry Hughes, Junior

DE, Matt Panfil, Senior

DT, Cody Moore, Senior

FS, Steven Coleman, Senior

SS, Stephen Hodge, Senior

RB, Aaron Brown, Senior

C, Blake Schlueter, Senior

SAINTSINSIDER.COM ANALYSIS:

It's important to note that almost all of the TCU and BYU players the Saints were scouting were on defense, signaling that they may not yet be done shoring up key areas of that unit. One player to keep an eye on during the draft season is Hodge, who had 12 tackles and a tackle for loss. I've seen Hodge play in person and this hard-hitting safety has coverage skills that could come in handy for the Saints down the road. The Saints are not good enough at safety yet where they can't take a look at other options next April. Same goes for Phillips, a middle linebacker with great range and tackling ability. He had 10 tackles on Thursday and missed few assignments. At 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, he'd be a great fit for the Saints defense in the middle. But the Saints already have a middle linebacker, you say? That's true, but Jonathan Vilma will be a free agent this spring and while I believe the Saints will sign him, there's always a chance they won't. Phillips could be an eventual replacement that can be had in the middle rounds, at least right now. Schlueter, the center who helped pave the way for 271 TCU rushing yards, could also get some late-round looks, especially if the Horned Frogs remain undefeated.

BYU didn't impress as a team, but they had a few stars. Bauman had nine tackles, and the junior could flirt with leaving the Cougars early, though it rarely happens. The QB, Hall, went 22-of-42 for 272 yards and two interceptions. The Saints could use a young backup quarterback as aging Mark Brunell is Drew Brees' safety net right now. I thought Hall would be likely to come out if the Cougars remained undefeated. Now I believe he would only come out if the quarterback class was soft, thus improving his draft position.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of Saintsinsider.com. He can be heard every Friday on WNSP-FM with Seth Harp and Pat Greenwood in Mobile, Ala.


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