2015 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

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group