Late Round RB Saints Need to Look At in Draft


Understandably the focus for the New Orleans Saints going into the 2015 NFL Draft will be pick geared towards improving a defense that finished almost dead last in 2014.

The thought of taking a running back is probably the furtherest thing from anyone’s mind that is a need for the Saints especially for Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft.

But there is a draft prospect from a school that has won the FCS Championship four times in a row that could be a great value pick for the Saints late in the draft…North Dakota State’s John Crockett.

If any of you have watched ESPN’s recent series “2015 Draft Academy” then you’ll know Crockett as he is one of the prospects that’s featured on his draft journey.

I knew him well before then due to my alma mater Southeastern Louisiana University being in the FCS and coming close to going to the championship the last few years.

S.L.U. was eliminated the round right before they would have had to have played NDSU in Fargo during the 2013 season.

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Not counting my chickens before they hatched, but prior to that I began watching games with NDSU to see how good they were and Crockett was a player that stood out.

The nickname “Taz” was given to the 6’0″, 218 lb. back due to his almost energized nature and running style where he never seems to stop.

He oozes confidence and never seems to run out of energy even when it looks like his fuel tank is on empty.

With his personality Crockett appears to be contagious when he’s in “Taz mode” and it spreads to his teammates and all those around him.

Just like Crockett’s speed coach Pete Bommarito said in the above clip, he has a “chip on his shoulder, but it’s a positive one…not disrespectful pissed off, but a positive pissed off.”

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In 2012 Crockett rushed for 1,038 yards on 194 carries averaging 5.3 yards a carry and 9 touchdowns.  He also caught 7 passes for 54 yards averaging 7.7 yards a reception.

For 2013 he averaged 6.7 yards rushing for 1,277 yards and scored 11 touchdowns while averaging a stout 26.2 yards on 11 kickoff returns.

Crockett would have his best season as a senior in 2014 where he rushed for 1,994 yards averaging 5.4 yards per carry and 21 touchdowns.

That season he would also catch 30 passes for 397 yards averaging 13.2 yards per catch and 1 touchdown.

Most scouts praise him for his quickness and the ability to cut and find small holes to run through on the field.

Another big plus is not only Crockett’s running style but his pass catching ability and being someone who can handle kickoff return duties.

The one negative I’ve found on him is that similar to when you see players run the 40-yard dash which is Crockett tends to rise once he’s going and will get extremely high with his pads.

Scouts also say he needs to improve his technique when it comes to pass protection and blocking.

Following his senior year Crockett played in the East-West Shrine Game and was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine as well.

Jan 17, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; West running back John Crockett (23), of North Dakota State, rushes during the second half at the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field. The East beat the West 19-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At the Combine he ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and only posted 15 reps on bench press, but he had the highest in his group for vertical jump(40 inches) and broad jump(125 inches).

Most analysts have Crockett projected in the seventh round or as an undrafted free agent heading into the draft which is great for the Saints.

Taking a chance on Crockett even with a seventh round pick would be great value considering his potential.

Yes, yes…the Saints have the three-headed monster of Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, and Khiry Robinson currently on the roster and there really isn’t a “need” for a running back.

But past those three on the roster the only running backs the Saints have are Edwin Baker and Tim Hightower.

I just don’t see Baker playing a huge role if he makes it and injuries combined with being away from the NFL for two years make Hightower a long-shot.

Local fans of the Black and Gold may be pulling for the team to take L.S.U.’s Terrence Magee who WWL 870’s draft analyst Mike Detillier has compared to former Saints running back Pierre Thomas.

If Magee is there in the sixth to seventh round or by some miracle goes undrafted, then that would be extremely great.

But Magee will likely be gone way before then and I just don’t see the Saints grabbing a running back with one of their fifth round picks.

So while running back may not be a priority for the Saints heading into the draft, Crockett is a running back that they really should take a look at if he goes into the late rounds…..

Next: BIG EASY BELIEVER PRESENTS: Final Saints Mock Draft of 2015