Draft Ross Jackson

The Saints go Into Day 3 with Big Names Still Available

According to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, there are still about 19 Top-100 players available going into tomorrow’s fourth through seventh rounds. After the deal to trade up in the second, the Saints will still have selections 116, 168, 177, 231, and 244 remaining. That’s one each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds and a pair in the seventh. They’ll be on the clock with the 14th pick of the fourth round. That means they will be in line to grab another top 100 player after grabbing Brugler’s 38th overall ranked prospect in McCoy on Friday. Let’s take a look at a couple of those 19 remaining top-100 guys available to see who can be a fit for the black and gold early in Day 3.

For the full list of remaining top-100 prospects, click HERE. Requires a subscription to The Athletic, which is on discount right now.

1. WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

I put these guys in order of who I’d like to see go to the Saints so naturally Hakeem Butler sits here on top. Butler is a massive athlete standing at 6’5″ tall weighing 227 pounds. He’s a big, physical wide receiver who isn’t yet the best route runner and can stand to improve in that area but has an enormous catch radius and some natural skills and talent that just simply cannot be denied. He’s a big play machine accounting for a whopping 19 plays of 20+ yards which leads his class. He was also responsive for 10 over 40 yards. The biggest fear is that he end up being much like Brandon Coleman. A big-bodied guy that isn’t able to use his size to his advantage against NFL corners. However, Butler’s speed (4.48 40) and strength (18 bench reps) will help keep him away from falling into that category.


Dane Brugler’s Big Board Ranking: 62

2. LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota

It’s pretty obvious which positions I think can use a boost here, that’s for sure. Cashman is an extremely athletic and hard-hitting man of a Linebacker. He fits multiple parts of what the Saints need and like to do. He can play in a nickel set as Minnesota did but can also serve in run support as a SAM linebacker boasting run defense grades of 93.9, 85.0, and 88.8 in his three years of college playing time according to PFF. He’s a smart, sure tackler and Team Captain which would do well for him in New Orleans where he would have to learn a complex defensive system and help lead a defense that has been recharged by its amped up second level with last year’s addition of Demario Davis. Cashman would come in to New Orleans and immediately push to compete with A.J. Klein for playing time.

Dane Brugler’s Big Board Ranking: 94

3. WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State

As much as I’d love for the Saints to land the natural gifts of Hakeem Butler, the grit and toughness of Kelvin Harmon is more than welcome as well. The Wolfpack prospect is a solid blocker, great route runner, and has awesome hands packed into another large frame at 6’2″ 221 pounds. Harmon caught 13 passes for more than 20 yards and while he has some route running work to polish up, garnered a Michael Thomas mention from Dane Brugler’s evaluation. One of the things that stand out to me in Harmon tape is his comfort catching back shoulder throws from college QB Ryan Finley. That back-shoulder throw is one of Brees’ favorite to make.

Dane Brugler’s Big Board Ranking: 51

4. WR Riley Ridley, Georgia

Ridley, brother of Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley, is a polished route runner that has the size and enough athleticism to make contested catches. He didn’t have a terrible combine, but it surely wasn’t an impressive one. He’s not a guy that’ going to win on agility or speed alone. Instead, he’ll win with technique and route-running savvy. Personally, that to me reads like a player that will excel in the NFL despite his collegiate challenges. There’s also the fact that he played college ball at Georgia which focuses much more on the ground game than the air attack. That means Ridley won’t have a problem working with a QB like Brees who likes to spread the ball around and in an offense like the one in New Orleans that will rely heavily on the run game to later set up the pass. Ridley would be a great get for the Saints and a nice complimentary piece opposite Michael Thomas.

Dane Brugler’s Big Board Ranking: 59

5. S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida


I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Saints using their first selection on a Safety, but at this point in the draft, have at it. CGJ is a versatile safety essentially playing Nickel corner for the Gators last year but also has experience at both Safety spots. It seems that his main position of comfort though is in the nickel where he gets to use his speed and disruptiveness at the line of scrimmage and in coverage. He allowed a catch percentage last year of only 56.1% and a passer rating when targeted of a mere 46.3. Career passer rating allowed when targeted? 42.5. P.J. Williams was re-signed to back up Patrick Robinson but might miss some time at the top of the season after being arrested for a DUI early in the offseason. Perhaps the addition of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson pushes Williams for playing time if Robinson gets hurt again. Robinson also has an out in his contract after this season since all of his GTD money will have been paid out.

Dane Brugler’s Big Board Ranking: 54

What remaining prospects would you like to see the Saints target? Let us on Twitter @AllSaintsBlog

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