New Orleans Saints Select Al-Quadin Muhammad

Official New Orleans Saints Reporter

By Christy Chauvin // @WhoDatWarriors

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 3 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 3 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.
Versatility 2 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.
Instincts/Motor 2 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.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald had a recent interview with him “They’re getting a guy that is humble and hungry and a guy that will come in and be a train wreck and make plays and hopefully go to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl. I am a high motor dude. I’m very physical. I’m strong, explosive. All muscle. I’m definitely way faster. I’ve been doing a lot of speed drills and stuff like that [to] get faster so I can run faster in the 40…. All my [college] tape is good.”

Al-Quadin Muhammad, who signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus, said he has no regrets about not turning pro last winter. “I don’t regret the decision because coach [Mark] Richt has only been supportive, [defensive line] coach [Craig Kuligowski] has only been supportive. They’re great dudes and I like what they’re doing at the University of Miami. I’m still a part of the University of Miami even though I’m not allowed to go down there and use the facility.”

Al-Quadin Muhammad
Al-Quadin Muhammad

Indeed, Coach Sean Payton, did spend extensive time speaking with his coaches and team mates.  He feels comfortable with the signing. The New Orleans Saints have dealt with troubled college players before including Reggie Bush.

The analysis on Muhammad implies he is an impact player but very raw–his technique will eventually catch up to his athletic ability.  As Keith Mullins of  Cowboys Wire suggests: “The cost of acquisition should be nowhere near what his talent suggests, and for the club that sees the intersection of risk, cost, and prospective payoff he could be an outstanding mid-round selection.”

I listened to Al-Quadin’s radio interview with WWL radio and was impressed with his articulate and passionate nature. He is determined to put these incidents in the past and acknowledges rules are there to help teams win. He has no desire to let down his team, team mates, coaches or his son.

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