The New Orleans Saints agreed to terms with three of their 2014 NFL draft choices Friday, just in time for the opening of the team's three-day rookie minicamp. 5th rounders Vinnie Sunseri and Ronald Powell, along with 6th rounder Tavon Rooks all agreed to four-year contracts with the club.
Sunseri is coming off a junior campaign that was cut short by a torn ACL. Despite of this setback, he declared for the draft with the hope of avoiding further injury. The former Crimson Tide Safety had a knack for popping up around big plays during his time in Tuscaloosa, and also stood out on special teams. He figures to see his best shot at a roster spot come by way of a similar special teams role. He looked on his way to full health when he posted a respectable 4.52 forty at Alabama's pro day. Ronald Powell was the nation's #1 Defensive End prospect coming out of high school.
Powell, once considered the nation's best defensive prospect coming out of high school, has a more checkered injury history. He tore the same ACL twice within the span of a year, which forced him to sit out the 2012 season in its entirety, and was bothered last season by foot and hamstring injuries. If he can sort out his medical issues, Powell could prove to be a steal for the Saints. He would figure to see time as a rotational pass rusher in Rob Ryan's defense. He could also be stashed on IR if the team feels he needs more time to get his body right. Both Powell and Sunseri were key picks for the Saints on day 3 of the draft, as the team looked to bolster its defensive depth.
Rooks, the team's final pick of the 2014 draft, comes to the Saints following two seasons at Kansas State. He started every game for the Wildcats at Right Tackle in 2013, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. He excelled as a run blocker on a team that was heavily reliant on its rushing attack. The Saints have been looking to emphasize their own run game moving forward, and Rooks could be seen as a developmental player to be groomed behind Zach Strief, who who was re-signed during free agency. Should he get caught up in the numbers crunch at final cuts, Rooks would be a likely practice squad candidate for New Orleans.
The team's other three picks, WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stanley-Jean Baptiste, and LB Khairi Fortt have yet to sign. The Saints began their rookie minicamp on Friday, and conclude the three-day session on Sunday.