If you look at this year’s draft by the Saints, but also their undrafted free agent signees, you’ll notice a multitude of schools you’ve probably never heard of. Regina in Canada, Samford, Furman, Middle Tennessee State, Appalachian State, Jacksonville State, Washburn, Monmouth, Citadel, and Georgia Southern. Those are just a few colleges that have given the Saints rookie players to compete for roster spots this upcoming season. This is nothing new for the Saints, who have made a habit of finding talent from unknown schools and developing those players into solid NFL contributors. A lot of NFL teams don’t do that as much, as they view guys that don’t face elite competition in college as behind the curve. A lot of scouts also like to go to big schools because they can assess many good prospects at once. The reality is, when you go to Monmouth, for example, there’s probably only one or two guys that are even worth a look. So is a trip like that worth it? To many teams it’s not, but to the Saints it always has been. That’s a huge credit to the Saints’ scouting staff and their ability to evaluate players. They turn over every stone in an effort to find talent and they’ve been rewarded by it.
Consider these players on the roster:
Marques Colston, Hofstra
Jahri Evans, Bloomsburg
Jermon Bushrod, Towson
Lance Moore, Toledo
Junior Galette, Stillman
Chris Ivory, Tiffin
Isa Abdul-Quddus, Fordham
Joseph Morgan, Walsh
Michael Higgins, Nebraska-Omaha
From that list of practically unknown football schools you have Pro Bowlers, starters, key role players, and promising young prospects that have already had at least some success. That’s an incredibly impressive list that not many teams in the NFL can duplicate. So don’t be shocked when a guy like Travaris Cadet of App St. or Brian Folkerts of Washburn makes the 53 man roster this year. The Saints know where to find talent, even in the most unlikely of places.
Ultimately, in a fitting way, the people most responsible for all this are guys you’ve never heard of that are behind the scenes, or at the very least guys you hear about very little. Whether it’s Ryan Pace, the Saints director of pro scouting, Rick Reiprish, the director of college scouting, or the countless other scouts, cap people and assistants – they deserve an enormous amount of credit because it’s clear they work harder than the scout departments of many NFL teams. I can’t wait to see how this newest crop of unknown players under the radar impact the team’s success.