After the NFL draft, teams begin scrambling to call and sign players who went undrafted. Signing these players are great ways to fill out rosters going into training camp. These undrafted players can also fill needs, especially if they can play multiple positions. Many of these undrafted players get signing bonuses from teams in order to coax them into joining their team. With most teams only getting a handful of players in the NFL Draft, these undrafted players are needed going into off-season camps. Who did the New Orleans Saints end up with and do they have a shot at the roster? Let’s examine the Saints undrafted free agents to watch leading up to this years regular season.
New Orleans Saints Undrafted Free Agents Who Can Make the Roster
The New Orleans Saints are thin at several positions. This will likely lead to some of these undrafted players challenging for roster spots. Being able to fill a needed position and multiple positions are the best ways to make the final NFL roster or a practice squad. The Saints have needs on special teams, tight end, secondary, and defensive tackle. Knowing these needed positions and the Saints draft, forecasting which undrafted player can make the team can be a bit simpler.
Valuable Saints Signees
One of the best values the Saints signed in the undrafted class is Lawrence Woods out of Truman State. Not only was Woods a defensive back in college, he was also a standout special teams player. If Deonte Harris continues to play more and more offensive snaps, then the Saints will need a specialist on returns to take over. Woods could be this player even though he has not played since early in the 2019 season. He tore his ACL in 2019 and then the season was cancelled for Truman State due to Covid-19 in 2020. Playing defensive back at times adds to his value for the Saints. Even though undersized, Woods could learn to be used in dime packages if he makes the team. Look for Woods to get the opportunity to fill in on special teams immediately while learning the defensive back role.
Dylan Soehner is the next player with roster potential. The mammoth of a man played at Iowa State for four years. He began his collegiate career playing special teams and power running packages. In his senior year, Soehner began catching the ball sparingly. Being able to contribute to special teams, run packages, and pass catching makes Soehner a great value for the Saints. Soehner is 6’7 and 272 pounds. Putting him into power rushing scenarios to act as an extra lineman seems to be a no brainer. Soehner’s ability to play multiple positions like Woods will likely lead to him having a very real shot at making the Saints final roster. If he can expand his pass catching abilities, even better. Being under Sean Payton’s rushing and passing schemes could develop Soehner’s skills quickly.
Saints Need a Run Stuffer
Josiah Bronson is another player with a shot at making this years Saints roster. Bronson is a large defensive tackle from the Washington Huskies. The 6’3, 300-pounder played the past three years for the Huskies, mostly in a three technique. The Saints lost Malcolm Brown this off-season and are very thin in the interior defensive line. Bronson is not the most athletically gifted tackle to go undrafted but the opportunity will be available. Size cannot be taught and Bronson has the size to eat up blocks in NFL. Learning under a defensive line that has been in the top rankings against rushers lends itself to Bronson’s potential. The Saints also did not draft anyone who can fill the role in the interior defensive line. Bronson could use this thin position to cement himself into the rotation before the start of the 2021 season.
Other Saints Free Agent Signees and Summary
Two other potential players to keep an eye on are Shaq Smith, Linebacker out of Maryland and Stevie Scott III, running back out of Indiana. Especially since Sean Payton has a habit of getting the most out of running backs. Scott is a bruising back who could be used in short yardage situations for blocking or rushing. Smith is a former four-star recruit who spent some of his college career at Clemson as a backup before transferring to Maryland. Smith is not the most athletic linebacker but has shown ability to play near the line of scrimmage and tackle. The Saints can likely use these skills on defense and special teams.
These are the most likely candidates to make the New Orleans Saints roster after the conclusion of training camp and the preseason. Reports on these newly signed players will likely be available when training camps open. As the preseason begins as well, expect to see several of these players get their shot at in-game action. The Saints have several holes to fill going into the 2021 season and these are the most likely candidates so far.