The 2019 NFL Draft is now just less than 2 weeks away, and here is the very latest "up-to-the-minute" list of all the potential New Orleans Saints draft prospects / targets that the team has publicly or reportedly expressed a serious interest in drafting, have visited with or have even worked out privately at their Training Facility in suburban Metairie, as they prepare for the annual event which takes place in Nashville, Tennessee on April 25th thru April 27th.
And once you reach the end of this list, be sure to check out our quick but detailed look at a few of the more "intriguing" names that we haven't covered or written about yet, up to this point.....
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
SR - Senior Bowl meeting
EW - East-West Shrine meeting
COM - Combine meeting
INT - Interested
VINT - Very Interested
PRO - Pro Day or campus meeting/workout
LOC - Local visit. Prospect making a local visit
PRI - Private visit. Prospect making an official 30 visit
WOR - Private Workout. Members of an organization working out a player in private
STM - Some Type of Meeting or Visit
- Otaro Alaka, OLB, Texas A&M (WOR)
- Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn (PRI)
- Kendall Blanton, TE, Missouri (EW, PRO)
- A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss (COM)
- Blake Cashman, ILB, Minnesota (COM, WOR, PRI)
- L.J. Collier, DE/3-4DE, TCU (PRO)
- Te'Von Coney, OLB/ILB, Notre Dame (WOR)
- Byron Cowart, DE/3-4DE, Maryland (PRI)
- Stephen Denmark, CB, Valdosta State (WOR)
- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State (SR)
- Kaden Elliss, ILB, Idaho (PRI)
- Jaylon Ferguson, DE/3-4OLB, Louisiana Tech (SR, WOR)
- Lamont Gaillard, G, Georgia (EW)
- Carl Granderson, DE/3-4OLB, Wyoming (SR)
- Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri (PRO)
- Terez Hall, ILB, Missouri (PRO)
- Terrill Hanks, OLB, New Mexico State (SR)
- N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State (PRI)
- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (COM)
- Brandon Hitner, OT, Villanova (PRI)
- Alec Ingold, FB, Wisconsin (PRO, WOR)
- Trenton Irwin, WR, Stanford (WOR)
- Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia (PRO, WOR)
- Kingsley Keke, DT/3-4DE, Texas A&M (SR)
- Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State (PRI)
- Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss (PRO)
- DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss (PRO)
- Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame (WOR)
- Daylon Mack, DT/NT, Texas A&M (EW)
- Koda Martin, OT, Syracuse (PRO)
- Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington (PRO)
- Joshua Miles, G, Morgan State (EW)
- Shareef Miller, DE/3-4OLB, Penn State (PRI)
- Jalin Moore, RB, Appalachian State (PRI)
- Stanley Morgan, WR, Nebraska (WOR)
- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (PRI)
- Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas (PRO)
- Iosua Opeta, OT, Weber State (PRO)
- Ryan Pope, OT, San Diego State (EW, PRO)
- Taylor Rapp, S, Washington (PRO)
- Dax Raymond, TE, Utah State (WOR, PRI)
- Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State (PRI)
- David Sills, WR, West Virginia (PRO)
- Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse (PRO)
- Jeff Smith, WR, Boston College (PRI)
- Ray Smith, NT, Boston College (WOR)
- Ty Summers, ILB, TCU (PRO)
- Jordan Ta'amu, QB, Ole Miss (PRO)
- Jerry Tillery, DT/3-4DE/NT, Notre Dame (PRI)
- Olisaemeka Udoh, OT, Elon (EW)
- Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State (WOR)
- Isaiah Wharton, CB, Rutgers (WOR)
- James Williams, RB, Washington State (PRO)
- Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt (PRI)
- Evan Worthington, S, Colorado (EW)
SHAREEF MILLER, EDGE PASS RUSHER / DEFENSIVE END, PENN STATE
With the Black and Gold having now already addressed most of their off-season team "needs" at a few roster positions in Free Agency, the one position that it's thought they might now be shifting their focus towards for the upcoming Draft is at the right defensive end position on the opposite side of All-Pro left defensive end Cam Jordan.
The Saints only have rookie Marcus Davenport and 3rd year back-up Trey Hendrickson left on the roster to play the defensive end position after they allowed 6th year veteran Alex Okafor leave in Free Agency, when the Kansas City Chiefs basically outbid the Saints and every other NFL team for that matter; after seemingly overpaying Okafor by giving him a contract worth 3 years at $18 million but with a maximum value of up to $24 million with reasonable incentives — or a whopping $8 million per season (which the Saints or anybody else simply just weren't willing to pay).
The Saints won't have to pay nearly that much for a couple of years at least, if they took a chance on Miller; who in his three seasons with the Nittany Lions, eventually blossomed into an All-Big Ten player and had 13 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons at Penn State.
The 6-foot-5, 256 pound Miller has an explosive first step that SBNation Draft Writer / Analyst Scott Pavelle notes gives him some decent bend around the outside edge, but will need to work on and further refine his technical skills with his hands and develop his pass-rush moves, as well as improving his discipline at helping to stop the opponent's running game. Nevertheless: Miller is considered a player with tremendous "upside", and many observers feel that the 22-year old Philadelphia native could end up being a major draft day steal after two or three NFL seasons.
That said: The Draft Network Writer / Analyst Scott Kyle Crabbs notes that Miller need to use his quickness to defeat blockers at the next level but cautions that if Miller isn't able to be more stout at the line of scrimmage purely as a pass rusher, he's going to have a difficult time playing notable snaps in the NFL because he's too much of a "finesse" player who needs to increase his size, power, and toughness to play in the League long-term.
KAHALE WARRING, TIGHT END, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY
Even though the Saints recently just signed soon 32-year old free agent veteran tight end Jared Cook to be their new starting #1 tight end for at least the next two seasons, they’d also still like to be able to “groom” a young TE that could take over the position once Cook leaves in a few years.
Draft Analyst.com’s Tony Pauline, reported that Saints scouts met with Warring extensively at his Pro Day earlier this month; and is a former walk-on player who rocketed up Draft Boards thanks to an impressive Combine performance, where the 6-foot-5, 252-pound dual threat blocker / receiver posted a 4.67-second 40-yard dash and displayed great receiving skills.
Warring’s college career numbers weren’t great because San Diego State ran the ball a majority of the time. although he still managed to catch 31 passes for 372 yards and 3 TDs for an Aztec passing attack last season in 2018 that ranked 114th in the nation overall in pass attempts — and he had even gave up on the idea of playing in the NFL late last year before eventually changing his mind.
But his great Combine performance changed all of that, and according to The Draft Network lead analyst Jon Ledyard, Warring has the quickness and speed of a big-bodied NFL wide receiver, but still possesses the length of a tight end and the biceps of a “Greek god”. Ledyard adds that Warring’s routes and releases are surprisingly polished, and while he could stand to improve as a blocker, his ball skills and work ethic bodes well for him to eventually become a “superstar” someday as a professional.
KADEN ELLISS, INSIDE LINEBACKER / STRONG SAFETY "HYBRID", IDAHO UNIVERSITY
The Saints are still thought to be considering adding more depth at the linebacker position; and Elliss — who might just be this year's 2019 Draft Class's most underrated play-maker on the defensive side of the football — is a young man who excelled at "small school" Idaho University (in the Big Sky Conference) and put his name on the map for NFL Scouts after an impressive performance at his recent Pro Day.
Elliss played in 47 career games at Idaho, tallying 278 total tackles, 47 TFL's, 17 sacks, 13 pass breakups, 5 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries. The son of former 1980's Detroit Lions All-Pro defensive lineman Luther Elliss, the younger Elliss averaged at least 8 TFL's (tackles for losses) in all four of his collegiate seasons. He picked off five passes and forced three fumbles as a sophomore in the 2016 season; and then registered 31 tackles for losses and 13 sacks over his final two seasons (2017 and last year).
The 6-foot-3, 239-pound Elliss isn't the fastest linebacker (he ran a 4.6 second 40-yard dash) but is the perfect player that the Saints could utilize in a "hybrid role" either at inside linebacker or as a strong safety lining up close to the line of scrimmage, much in the very same manner that former Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccarro (now with the Tennessee Titans) once used to do for New Orleans a few seasons ago.
NFL Draft Scout / CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang says that Elliss displays core flexibility, smooth hips and light feet to change directions smoothly, and he has reliable hands that will allow him to continue being a defensive play-maker at the NFL level. Undoubtedly, his selection would provide the Saints with adequate depth at the LB position, once the new season rolls around in 5 months from now.
N'KEAL HARRY, WIDE RECEIVER, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
As most Saints fans are well aware: the team is thought to be seriously considering adding another wide receiver to their offense to take some of the pressure off of Drew Brees and play-makers Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara; and while we've covered a handful of other potential draft targets at WR for the Black and Gold, Harry is one of the very few remaining that we still haven't until now.
Harry played 3 seasons for the Sun Devils program; and the 6-foot-4, 215 pounder has drawn comparisons to former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro WR and current free agent Dez Bryant because of their very similar size and skill-set. Harry became the Sun Devils main receiving weapon as a true freshman, as he started all 12 games and led all freshman nationally with 58 receptions (659 yards, five TD's).
But it would be the next season as a sophomore, when Harry began to show his true talent and was named a 1st-team All-Pac-12 choice as a sophomore, leading the conference with 87 receiving yards per game (82 receptions for 1,142 yards and 8 TD's) as a 13-game starter. He was a 1st-team All-PAC-12 conference pick as a junior in his final season with the program last year as well, totaling 1,088 receiving yards and scoring 9 TD's.
NFL.com Draft Expert / Analyst Lance Zierlein says that Harry is a "back-shoulder boss" who thrives with contested catch opportunities outside the numbers, but unfortunately he still lacks what one would refer to as explosive traits. Harry's ability to body-up opponents and win with ball skills is undeniable, but his inability to find a threatening top gear or shake loose from tight man coverage will have to be something he improves upon (perhaps with the help of Saints WR coach Curtis "Coach CJ" Johnson ?) once he reaches the NFL level....