2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints pick LBs Fortt, Powell, S Sunseri, OT Rooks

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-10 19:10

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Khairi Fortt, Vinnie Sunseri and Ronald Powell all had major injuries in college, likely hurting their chances of climbing any higher on NFL draft boards than they did.

Still, all three defensive players gave the New Orleans Saints the impression that they had a lot of upside.

''We don't have a set formula for that,'' Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said as the draft wound down Saturday. ''Sometimes we're weighing the injury against where the player would be drafted if not for the injury - if we think there's a great value there.''

The Saints took Fortt, a linebacker out of California, in the fourth round, then used a pair of fifth-round picks on Sunseri, a safety from Alabama, and Powell, an outside linebacker from Florida.

New Orleans then added an offensive lineman in the sixth round, picking 6-foot-5, 280-pound Kansas State tackle Tavon Rooks.

The 6-2, 248-pound Fortt began his college career at Penn State when the program was engulfed in Jerry Sandusky scandal, prompting him to transfer. Knee surgery then sidelined him for all of 2012.

''Life doesn't go as planned,'' Fortt said. ''I don't regret it. I thought it was a learning tool.''

He started nine games as a junior last season at weak-side linebacker. Despite missing three games with a biceps injury, he was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker, after recording 64 tackles, including 3 1/2 tackles for losses.

Fortt said the variability of Cal's 4-3 scheme allowed him to play roles similar to a weak-side middle linebacker in a 3-4, as he'll be expected to do in New Orleans.

''I feel like I'll be good at playing in a 3-4 defense and I'll learn quickly,'' Fortt said.

Fortt's 30 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds tied for the most of any linebacker at the NFL scouting combine. His 40-yard dash time of 4.7 seconds tied for 11th at his position.

Those results and his play last season indicated he'd overcome knee problems which began with a dislocated knee cap in ninth grade and lingered until his 2012 surgery.

''I don't feel like I was really injury prone,'' Fortt said. ''Doctors thought (his kneecap) was a little loose, so they tightened it down. ... Now I'm fine.''

The 6-foot, 210-pound Sunseri missed Alabama's last six games last season after tearing a knee ligament. But he participated in Alabama's pro day last month and is cleared for Saints rookie camp next weekend.

Sunseri said he expects some grief from Louisiana fans partial to LSU, but added, ''hopefully I can win them over whenever I hit a couple people.''

Sunseri, whose father, Sal, is a defensive coach at Florida State, left school a year early, despite projections that he'd be picked no higher than the fourth round.

''I just feel like I'm ready,'' Sunseri said. ''It's not about the money for me. ... It's about the love of the game and fulfilling a dream.''

Coach Sean Payton said the Saints were impressed by the trust Alabama coach Nick Saban placed in Sunseri to make defensive calls, as well as Sunseri's special teams play.

Powell, who is 6-3, 237, was heavily scouted out of high school, but his career at Florida was interrupted by reconstructive knee surgery he had to have twice because of a setback during his rehabilitation.

Last season, he played in 12 games at outside linebacker and defensive end, registering four sacks and eight QB hurries. In New Orleans, he'll work as a pass-rushing outside linebacker.

''I feel like I'm going to be a great fit for them,'' Powell said. ''I'm a passionate guy when it comes to this game and I like the sort of defensive mindset that they have.''

Payton said it's clear Powell will arrive motivated to prove he can live up to the potential seen in him several years ago.

''He is hungry. He's one of those guys where it's all business,'' Payton said. ''It's very important to him.''

Earlier in the draft, the Saints took Oregon receiver Brandin Cooks after trading their 27th overall pick and third-round pick to Arizona for the Cardinals' 20th overall choice. New Orleans took Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second round.

The Saints did not, however, draft anyone to compete for the starting center spot vacated when Brian de la Puente left in free agency.

''It wasn't a deep draft at that position,'' Payton said. ''We had a handful of centers on the board. It really never matched.''

---

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

Matthew StaffordNov 25 01:23p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford had the worst completion percentage in his career in Week 12 against the New England Patriots at 39.1 percent), and the Lions haven't rushed [ More ]

Brodrick BunkleyNov 25 12:03p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (quadriceps) is believed to have torn his quadriceps in the team's Week 12 game Monday, Nov. 24, but he'll undergo an MRI exam [ More ]

Jordan CameronNov 25 11:53a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) is expected to play in Week 13.

Michael VickNov 25 09:53a

New York Jets QB Michael Vick (calf) is expected to start in Week 13 if head coach Rex Ryan is still calling the shots and Vick's calf is healthy.

Andre SmithNov 25 09:23a

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) will miss the rest of the year with a torn triceps that will require surgery.

Justin ForsettNov 25 12:13a

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett ran for 182 yards and two scores in a 34-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints Monday, Nov. 24.

Latavius MurrayNov 24 08:13p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) remains a question mark heading into Week 13 against the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Tony Sparano said Murray hasn't passed the league's [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is unsure when he will return from his knee injury, according to head coach Bruce Arians. We still don't know anything about Larry, [ More ]

Andre EllingtonNov 24 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington and WR Michael Floyd both saw the fewest offensive snaps of the season in the Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Ellington played [ More ]

Jorvorskie LaneNov 24 06:43p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 24.

Chris JohnsonNov 24 05:53p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson will receive work on third downs, because RB Bilal Powell (illness) has been declared inactive for Week 12.

Fred JacksonNov 24 05:43p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Bilal PowellNov 24 05:43p

The New York Jets have declared RB Bilal Powell, OL Dakota Dozier, DE IK Enemkpali, CB Josh Thomas, QB Matt Simms, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Cyrus KouandjioNov 24 05:33p

The Buffalo Bills have declared DE Bryan Johnson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, FB Frank Summers, DL Jarius Wynn, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Marquise Goodwin, LB Randell Johnson inactive for Week 12.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs placed SS Eric Berry (illness) on the Non-Football Illness list Monday, Nov. 24, according to a source. Berry will miss the rest of the season.

Eric BerryNov 24 05:13p

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) underwent an MRI on his chest, which revealed a mass in his chest. The team believes he has lymphoma, but there is no definite diagnosis.

R. Griffin IIINov 24 03:33p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will start Sunday, Nov. 30, against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Jay FeelyNov 24 03:33p

Free-agent PK Jay Feely (Cardinals) will visit the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Nov. 25, for a kicking audition, according to sources.

Vernon DavisNov 24 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had three catches for just 21 yards in the team's Week 12 win over the Washington Redskins, and that came after he had [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 24 01:13p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) is expected to miss the rest of the season because of the pectoral injury he suffered in Week 12.

Tony RomoNov 24 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) went 18-for-26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns in Week 12 against the New York Giants, and he didn't show any signs of [ More ]

Shane VereenNov 24 12:33p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen had a team-high 62 snaps in the team's Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions, but RB LeGarrette Blount had 17 snaps and [ More ]

C.J. AndersonNov 24 12:23p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed 27 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in the team's Week 12 win over the Miami Dolphins, and it was the most [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group