METAIRIE, La. – Mickey Loomis and the Saints made their second move of final day of the draft, moving into the fifth round to take Boston College center Matt Tennant.
New Orleans traded their 2011 fourth-round pick to Jacksonville to pick up the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman.
And while the Saints had talked with Tennant at the NFL combine, New Orleans never brought in Tennant for a pre-draft workout.
Surprised? Well, sort of.
“I knew that they were interested,” Tennant said. “We had a meeting at the combine. But yeah, it was a surprise. Anybody taking me was a surprise. It’s odd hearing your name called. I didn’t know what was going to happen and I was just fortunate that it was.”
Tennant (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) started 41 games for the Eagles, giving up just one sack in his final 27 games. His grade of 82.75 percent was fourth-best among active college centers. As a senior, he was an All-ACC second-team pick and was a Rimington Award finalist.
If one were to read his biography from the NFL, one would get the impression the Saint were getting a steal. He’s compared to eight different centers, including some of the games best-ever centers.
But he was rated as a fourth- or fifth-round pick by NFL Draft Scout, though he was rated as the second-best center in this year’s draft. Maurkice Pouncey and J.D. Walton both went ahead of Tennant.
Current center Jonathan Goodwin is 31 and his backup, Nick Leckey, is 28. Picking up Tennant gives them a center of the future.
Earlier Saturday, Loomis said the team would continue trying to trade into the draft if the right player was still on the board.
It appears Tennant, who worked out for Denver, Oakland, Atlanta and Cincinnati but not New Orleans, met the Saints’ criteria.
“The idea is if there’s a player out there that can help us, that we know can make our team and a late-round pick that can potentially be a good player for us in the near future or later on and we can make a deal for a future pick, sometimes that’s good value,” Loomis said.
Tennant wrestled in high school at Cincinnati and said that experience has helped him throughout his career and he expects that to continue.
“It mainly comes from your balance, bending our knees and really just adjusting what the defensive player does to you,” Tennant said. “That’s really what you do in wrestling, is adjust to the other guy and look for an in and that’s what I’ve been doing on the offensive line since high school.”