Thursday, April 17, 2014
Analyzing Kiper Mock 4.0: Saints
By Mike Triplett
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. made another switch for the New Orleans Saints in his latest mock draft, version 4.0.
And this time, Kiper went with a player he dubbed as the fastest-rising player on his board for the Saints at No. 27 overall.
Kiper went with Indiana receiver Cody Latimer, who has been generating a lot of buzz since his impressive pro day workout last month. He then went with Utah cornerback Keith McGill to the Saints with the 58th overall pick in Round 2.
Latimer (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) was sidelined at the NFL scouting combine because of January foot surgery. But he bounced back at his pro day in late March, reportedly recording times between 4.38 seconds and 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of 39 inches.
Latimer has an enticing potential of size, speed and athleticism. And he had a breakout year for the Hoosiers as a junior last year with 72 catches for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns. He still needs to become more consistent as a route runner. But his potential could vault him into the first round.
Kiper said he was impressed with how reliable Latimer was as a pass catcher when he recently took a second look at him. And he credited ESPN/Scouts Inc. draft analyst Todd McShay for raving about Latimer even sooner. McShay also shot Latimer up in his latest mock draft last week -- all the way to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 23.
“He might not go off the board quite this early, but I was blown away by his game when I finally got to study his tape recently,” McShay wrote. “He does a great job of getting off the press, has extremely reliable hands and is a threat after the catch -- three things that make him a perfect fit for a West Coast-style offense.”
McGill, meanwhile, is the type of physical cornerback that many teams are coveting these days. The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder began his college career at safety. But he has good speed and athleticism for his size. He also had an impressive pro day, reportedly running the 40 between 4.52 and 4.54 seconds.
Both positions make a lot of sense for the Saints’ needs. They won’t get locked into any one position, since they always prefer to draft the highest-rated player on their board. But it’s a safe bet they’ll come away with a receiver at some point in the early rounds.