The New Orleans Saints break out into a rendition of “O, Canada” once again as they sign Canadian raised Orlando Franklin to a one-year deal.
Franklin is a Jamaican-born professional football guard raised in Toronto who now plays for the New Orleans Saints.
This veteran guard started all 16 games for the San Diego Chargers last year. Franklin’s release this offseason by the Chargers was seen as a cost-cutting move. But the truth may lie deeper than that. Prior to being on the Chargers roster, he was an offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos. With the Broncos, he excelled in their zone-blocking scheme; whereas the Chargers employ a power-gap scheme.
The New Orleans Saints selected Al-Quadin Muhammad with their last pick of the 2017 NFL draft. There was faint expectation for this pick given its position in the draft but the Saints, who never fail to surprise, pulled off a bit of an upset with the selection of Al-Quadin Muhammad.
His ESPN draft profile reads like a dream for a pass rusher.
Pass Rush Skills
Shoots hand inside and jacks up blockers with initial punch. Above average initial quickness and flashes ability to win with speed to power. Tracks quarterback as he works upfield and sheds in proper direction. Average bend and adequate closing speed. Room for improvement when it comes to double and quick inside moves. Appears to have long arms and gets hands up when doesn’t get to the quarterback.
Versus the run
Flashes ability to shoot gaps and disrupt plays in the backfield. Lean lower body and gets overwhelmed at times but does a better job of setting edge than other edge defenders with similar size. Strong and plays with good pad level for the most part. Shoots hands inside and stacks much bigger blockers though needs to shed quicker at times. Effective wrap-up tackler between the tackles. Some tightness in hips and concerned about ability to regularly make open field tackles. Good effort and sound angles but quicker than fast and struggles to chase down backs on a straight-line.
Ideally fills out frame but best long-term projection is at LDE. That said he is a 3-4OLB candidate with experience lining up in two-point stance and off the line. High-cut and more effective attacking upfiield but has experience dropping and has enough range to hold up in underneath coverage.
Plays with a chip on shoulder and good fight taking on bigger blockers. Relentless would be an overstatement but good effort chasing the run and average to slightly above average effort rushing the passer. Flashes ability to fight through double teams.
Al-Quadin Muhammad’s issues off the field have hampered his ability to develop on the field. He has missed two of the past three seasons because of a suspension and dismissal. The University of Miami suspended him for the 2014 season after he allegedly punched a former student in the face in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot. Al-Quadin Muhammad was dismissed from the team because the university believed a Miami Beach car dealership gave him free use of an exotic car, which is an NCAA violation.
The New Orleans Saints traded up to acquire Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara with the 67th pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
The Saints had to trade back into the second round to nab Kamara by giving up their 2018 2nd round pick and this year’s 7th round pick to the San Francisco 49ers. Sean Payton has a specific vision for Kamara who will join Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The Saints conducted a private workout for Kamara during the draft process. Payton envisions Kamara as a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles type of player who can also field kicks. Kamara was one of four team captains selected last spring.
Kamara led the Tennessee Volunteers with 127 yards and two touchdowns, eight catches for 161 yards and another TD, in addition to a 16-yard kick return in a 45-38 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M. The 312 yards represented a single-game record for Tennessee and put Kamara on NFL draft radar.
The New Orleans Saints select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd pick of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.
What at first was, to me, a ho hum, ever-so-safe pick became more exciting as the night wore on. Coach Sean Payton divulged the grade placed on Ramczyk by the Saints organization. The Saints had Ramczyk slotted in the top tier of the first round at a position they wished to fill. The gap between the Ramczyk grade and other, defensive player grades was sufficient enough to warrant the pick in the first round.
“Our grade on Ryan was at the top half of round one, inside of a grade of 15,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “He was a player graded in the first round by every one of our scouts.” If the Saints had waited until a later round, the draft would not have yielded many promising picks at offensive tackle.
The Saints made it clear they expected to draft an offensive tackle but most analysts (including me) thought they would draft one later given Drew Brees‘ ability to make life relatively easy for an offensive tackle. (Perhaps, the Saints are moving back toward dominant offensive line play reminiscent of the days when they regularly garnered the Madden award for Most Valuable Protectors in 2009 and 2011). Continue reading “Saints Select Offensive Tackle Ryan Ramczyk”→