EOSB: Henderson says Saints have ability to let picks develop

EOSB: Henderson says Saints have ability to let picks develop

Credit: WWL-TV.com Graphic

Clockwise from top left: Miami's Jimmy Graham, Boston College's Matt Tennant, LSU's Al Woods, USC's Charles Brown, Oregon State's Sean Canfield and Florida State's Patrick Robinson.

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by Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports

wwltv.com

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 26 at 7:22 AM

EOSB
We all want to see draft grades almost immediately. It’s, you know, our instant gratification society.

So, with that in mind, we at the EOSB talked with Jim Henderson, your voice of the Saints and our TV sports anchor legend.

Hondo doesn’t really think the Saints answered their questions in the defensive interior with the selection of Al Woods, the LSU product.

“I don’t think Al Woods is going to blow anybody away,” Henderson said. “He’s more or less a project. I wouldn’t’ say they’ve addressed it. I still wish they had a better run-stopper in the middle. I don’t think Al Woods is gong to be that, certainly not right away.”

By not selecting an outside linebacker, the Saints showed that they meant it when they said they believed in Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Jonathan Casillas, both in-house guys.

And while trading up for Woods was interesting, it wasn’t the “most interesting” pick by the Saints. No, Henderson said that honor goes to tight end Jimmy Graham, a former collegiate basketball player with only one year of football experience.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how Coach Sean Payton uses him because he’s so great with  matchups,” Henderson said. “I think one of the things that has frustrated him is because of Shockey’s injuries, he has never really gotten a chance to utilize Shockey in the red zone like he wanted to and Brees loves tight ends. You see what he did with Antonio Gates in San Diego.”

He added that Shockey’s touchdown from the 1-yard line gave the Saints the lead in the Super Bowl and that Graham could give the Saints a similar advantage.

Beyond those initial assessments, Henderson thinks we all need to calm down and step back. Breathe a little bit. Don’t ask for a grade until at least next year.

He expects the Saints to get a C in national rankings come Monday. But don’t worry about that.

Let him tell a little story about a man named Thomas Morstead.

“Last year when the Saints drafted, the most controversial pick, the one that everybody panned, was Thomas Morstead,” Morstead said. “Thomas Morstead might have been as big a factor on that team’s success last year as anybody. He improved their kickoff coverage, their punt coverage so much. He’s a smart kid. Great leg. Great head. He’s going to do this 15 years in the league. He was a great choice.”

And while we’re on the subject of grades, there’s a reason the Saints 2010 Draft could seem slightly unimpressive to people – New Orleans won the Super Bowl, which means they don’t have too many places they need filled immediately.

“That’s why you didn’t see any big reaches on this team,” Henderson said. “I think that was their thinking going into this.”

The radio and TV mogul added, “I think they went into this with the mindset, look, we can’t convince ourselves we’re so good we can take a flyer on a player. Let’s be conservative. Let’s be consistent. Let’s draft for value.

“We don’t need people that have to step in at particular positions. But let’s think long-term and let’s think of the kind of guys to put in this locker room that have made us succeed. There’s not going to be a lot of sizzle in this draft but this team didn’t need sizzle.”

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