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

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ 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